Nolvadex is the trade name for a drug called Tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen is used primarily in the treatment of breast cancer in women. Although not as common it may also be used as a form of hormone treatment for male breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also used to treat infertility in women. Other trade names of Tamoxifen are Istubal, Valodex and Genox.
The active ingredient in Nolvadex 20mg is known as an estrogen receptor blocker or antagonist. Taking Nolvadex interferes with the way estrogen is normally used in the body. The hormone estrogen is known to have a role in certain types of breast cancer. Treatment with an estrogen receptor blocker such as Nolvadex can slow down the spread of cancer growth or block it altogether.
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Due to its mechanism of action, Nolvadex 20mg is used in the treatment of breast cancers that are sensitive to estrogen. It is used to treat early and advanced breast cancer in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. In addition it is also used as a preventative treatment for women who may be at risk from these types of cancer.
For the treatment of breast cancer the recommended daily dose is 20 mg to 40 mg. Dosages are normally taken in the morning and the evening. The dosage may be less when Nolvadex is being used as a preventative treatment for those who may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Although the use of tamoxifen has been recommended for 10 years, some studies suggest that the period should not exceed 5 years. This is possibly due to the side-effects. For the first five years the benefits are generally thought to outweigh the risks but after five years the side-effects will have taken their toll on the body.
Common side-effects are hot flushes, vaginal bleeding or discharge, itching around the genital region, fluid retention, dizziness or nausea, headache or migraine, leg cramps and bone pain.
Treatment with these types of drugs also increases the risk of abnormal blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis. Possible symptoms may include stabbing pains or swelling in one leg, pain when breathing or coughing, sudden breathlessness or sudden chest pain.
Another possible risk with taking Nolvadex is endometrial cancer. Possible symptoms include vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain in the pelvic area and a change of the menstrual cycle.
Treatment with Nolvadex is not to be used during pregnancy or during breastfeeding. It may affect the unborn child as the drug targets hormones in the body.
Nolvadex may interact with other medicines which may in turn cause harm or limit its effectiveness in treating breast cancer. For example oral contraceptives should not be used as they will increase estrogen in the body.