Online Extra: Tamoxifen Drug Facts

Prescription Drug Facts: Nolvadex (Tamoxifen)*

What is this drug for?

Reduce the chance of getting breast cancer

Who might consider taking it?

Women at high risk of getting breast cancer

(1.7% or more over 5 years). You can calculate your breast cancer risk here

Who should not take it?

Women who are or plan to become pregnant, and women who are breastfeeding

Recommended monitoring

Have a yearly check up which includes a gynecological examination and blood tests

Other treatments to consider

No other medicines are approved to reduce breast cancer risk

How long has the drug been around?

First approved by FDA in 1982

Percent of people who experienced the following effects in a 6 year study of Nolvadex

Among 6,599 women NOT given Nolvadex

Among 6,576 women given Nolvadex (20 mg a day)

Beneficial effects of Nolvadex

Women taking Nolvadex were less likely to...

Get invasive breast cancer 2.7% 1.4%
Die from breast cancer 0.09% 0.05%

Side effects of Nolvadex

Women taking Nolvadex were more likely to...

Life threatening side-effects    
Have a blood clot in lung or leg (some died) 0.4% 0.8%
Have a stroke (some died) 0.4% 0.6%
Get invasive uterine cancer 0.2% 0.5%
Other side-effects    
Have hot flashes 69% 81%
Have vaginal discharge 35% 55%
Have cataracts requiring surgery 1.1% 1.7%
Other things to know    
Dying for any reason 1.1% 0.9%
Average monthly price $103.85 (at 20 mg a day dose)
Gray shading means that the difference may be a fluke -- that is, it may be due to chance
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