General information about Nolvadex
Nolvadex is a medicine which belongs to a group of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators. The drug is used for treating certain kinds of breast cancer in men and women such as metastatic breast cancer, node positive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ. In certain cases, it is also used for preventing breast cancer in women. Breast cancer is known to grow with the help of estrogen. Cancer causing cells which are sensitive to estrogen have estrogen receptors. The estrogen hormone binds itself to these cancer causing cells, thus helping them grow. Nolvadex works by binding itself to estrogen hormone, thus preventing estrogen from binding itself to cancer causing cells. Hence, the drug helps in stemming the growth of cancer causing cells.
Precautions/side effects of Nolvadex
Patients allergic to Nolvadex should refrain from using this drug. Other than that, patients with a clotting disorder cataract, liver disease, high cholesterol, liver diseases as well as those on blood thinners such as warfarin should use this drug only after due consultation with a physician.
Nolvadex is also known to react with certain other medications such as antibiotics like terbinafine, medications used for treating HIV like ritonavir, antipsychotic medications such as aripiprazole, clozapine, nicardipine, medications used for treating malaria like quinine, anti-depressants like fluoxetine etc. Patients on any of these drugs should inform the physician accordingly before taking Nolvadex.
Nolvadex is a Category D pregnancy drug. It can have an adverse effect on the fetus as well as the newborn child. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should refrain from using this drug.
Nolvadex is known to have certain side effects such as hair loss, vaginal discharge, inflammation of the hands of feet, pain in the bones, impotence etc. However, in some cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as fever, chills, lump in the breasts, nausea, loss of appetite, blurred vision and unusual menstrual periods. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a physician should be consulted immediately.
Some important safety information
- Soy or soy products should be avoided while on this drug.
- Contraceptive methods such as birth control pills or vaginal rings are not sufficient to prevent pregnancy while on this drug. A barrier form of contraceptive such as condoms or vaginal rings should be used for preventing
- pregnancy while on this drug. Pregnancy should be avoided while on Nolvadex and at least for a period of 2 months after the completion of treatment.
- The drug is known to increase the risk of stroke as well as uterine cancer. Risk factors should be discussed with the doctor before taking the drug.
- Regular monitoring of the breasts as well as liver is important while on Nolvadex.
Dosage of Nolvadex
Nolvadex is available in the form of 10 mg and 20 mg tablets. The usual dose for treatment of metastatic breast cancer is 20 mg to 40 mg daily at regular intervals. The usual dose of Nolvadex for treatment of node positive breast cancer is 10 mg thrice daily. The same for treating palliative breats cancer is 10 mg to 20 mg twice daily. The usual dosage of Nolvadex for treating early puberty in girls aged between 2 to 10 years is 20 mg once daily. However, the actual dosage may vary depending on the response of the patient.
The drug can be taken with or without food with a glass of water. The first doe of the drug is usually taken during the menstrual period. The overdose of the drug should be prevented at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be had as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can lead to severe complications which require immediate medical attention.
Storage of Nolvadex
Nolvadex should be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It should not be allowed to freeze. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets at all times.