Tamoxifen 20 mg (Tamoxifen)
What is Tamoxifen 20 mg?
Tamoxifen 20 mg blocks the actions of estrogen, a female hormone. Certain types of breast cancer require estrogen to grow.
Tamoxifen 20 mg is used to treat some types of breast cancer in men and women.
Tamoxifen 20 mg is also used to lower a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer if she has a high risk (such as a family history of breast cancer).
How to use Tamoxifen 20 mg
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using Tamoxifen 20 mg and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once or twice daily for 5 years, or as directed by your doctor. Daily dosages greater than 20 milligrams are usually divided in half and taken twice a day, in the morning and evening, or as directed by your doctor.
If you are using the liquid, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. The duration of treatment to prevent cancer from returning may be between 5 to 10 years, depending on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets. (See also Precautions section.)
How should I take Tamoxifen 20 mg?
Take tamoxifen exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.
Measure liquid medicine with the supplied syringe or a dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Take with or without food.
You may need to keep using this medicine for 5 to 10 years.
Have regular physical exams and mammograms, and self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while using tamoxifen.
This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using tamoxifen.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Throw away any leftover liquid medicine 3 months after you first opened the bottle.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away.
US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: shaking, unsteady walking, fainting, or fast/irregular heartbeat.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Side Effects of Tamoxifen 20 mg
Hot flashes, nausea, leg cramps, muscle aches, hair thinning, headache, and numb/tingling skin may occur. A loss of sexual ability/interest may occur in men. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: vision changes (such as blurred vision), eye pain, easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes, swelling of ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat), signs of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Storage of Tamoxifen 20 mg
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
If you are using the liquid, do not refrigerate or freeze it. After you open the bottle, discard any unused liquid after 3 months.
Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Before taking tamoxifen, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood clots (such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, stroke), high cholesterol/triglycerides, limited or no ability to walk (immobility), diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, cataracts, liver disease.
Before having surgery (especially breast reconstruction), tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using tamoxifen. Tamoxifen may harm an unborn baby.
1.When might Tamoxifen 20 mg be prescribed to lower my risk of breast cancer?
Genetic changes and family history are linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic changes may include having an inherited gene mutation like BRCA1 or BRCA2 in yourself or in a first-degree relative (like a parent or sibling).
If you have a family history of breast cancer, this may also raise your risk. Other risk factors can include older age and a history of radiation to the chest.
If you’re at a higher risk for breast cancer, your healthcare provider may recommend tamoxifen as a chemoprevention to help lower the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Chemoprevention with tamoxifen and other types of hormone therapy medications, can lower breast cancer risk by up to 65% in people at high risk of having breast cancer.
2.How long do I need to take Tamoxifen 20 mg for?
It depends on your situation. It’s recommended to take tamoxifen or other hormone therapy, for at least 5 years and sometimes up to 10 years. Your care team will talk with you about how long you’ll need to take this therapy. Don’t stop taking tamoxifen without first talking with your healthcare provider.
3.What do I do if I get hot flashes from Tamoxifen 20 mg?
Hot flashes are a common side effect of tamoxifen. To help manage hot flashes you can try natural remedies like wearing loose-fitting clothing, managing stress with yoga or meditation, and avoiding spicy foods and alcohol.
If hot flashes become bothersome, speak with your healthcare provider as there may be medications that can help or it may be recommended to switch to another hormonal therapy.
4.Is Tamoxifen 20 mg safe in pregnancy?
Talk with your provider if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Based on data from animal studies, tamoxifen might cause harm to your unborn baby.
If you’re a woman who’s able to have babies, you should use non-hormonal birth control, like condoms or a diaphragm, while taking tamoxifen and for 2 months after the last dose. Let your provider know right away if you become pregnant while taking this medication.
5.Is Tamoxifen 20 mg safe while breastfeeding?
It isn’t recommended to breastfeed while taking tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is present in breast milk and there’s a risk of serious harm to nursing infants if it does.
Because of this risk, you shouldn’t breastfeed while taking tamoxifen and for 3 months after your last dose. Talk with your provider about other ways to feed your baby during treatment.