Breast Cancer is a harmful disease that develops in the breast cells of the female mammary gland and in some cases, it also occurs in men. The initial signs of breast cancer are seen on the inner lining of the milk ducts or lobules of the breasts which is where the milk is released. This type of cancer accounts for more than 18% of all the female cancer deaths around the world . Nolvadex is a drug that is used to counteract this type of cancer.
What is Nolvadex?
Nolvadex is highly effective in treating metastatic breast cancer that is present in both women and men. For premenopausal women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, this drug acts as an alternative to ovarian irradiation and oophorectomy. Patients of breast cancer who have tumors which are estrogen receptor positive are likely to benefit more from Nolvadex therapy. Nolvadex is used to treat breast cancers which are node-positive and are present in postmenopausal women after they have undergone a complete mastectomy, breast irradiation, and axillary dissection.
Nolvadex is also known as a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) in which it contains an active drug called Tamoxifen, which was initially created by the Imperial Chemical Industries. It is known to have many properties which are similar to that of Clomiphene Citrate. Nolvadex is a receptor antagonist which is a receptor ligand and has no effect on the biological responses of binding to a receptor. Instead, it blocks agonist-mediate responses.
When you are taking Nolvadex, it is important that you meet a specialized pharmacist before you start consuming it. Make sure that you consult a doctor before taking any action. A doctor will give you a medication guide so that you can get a clear idea of what is Nolvadex. Nolvadex must be taken by the patient on a daily basis. Before you take Nolvadex, make sure that you contact a doctor or a pharmacist to check if you are allergic to the product. Nolvadex contains inactive ingredients which may cause allergic reactions or other related problems. In cases where you have a history of deep vein thrombosis, stroke, pulmonary embolism or warfarin, it is best that you seek medical consultation before taking Nolvadex.
Nolvadex is known to cause dizziness. It is recommended that you should not take this with any type of alcohol or certain specific medicines. It is best that you do not drive or perform any other unsafe task after you have consumed Nolvadex as there is no fixed reaction to the drug. Nolvadex also causes the body to have less ability to fight off infections and so you should avoid any contact with people who are suffering from a cold or an infection. If you are getting symptoms of infections such as sore throat or fevers, please contact your doctor.
Women who may become pregnant should ensure that they use non-hormonal birth control measures during intercourse while taking Nolvadex. Avoid using hormonal control such as birth control pills as it will reduce the effectiveness of Nolvadex. It is advisable that you do continue to use non-hormonal birth control measures 2 months after you have taken Nolvadex as a precautionary measure. You should make sure that while you are taking Nolvadex, you undergo regular lab tests such as breast exams, gynecologic exams, liver function tests, blood count tests, and mammograms. This is a precautionary measure to check if you have developed any side-effects and also to monitor your body's health condition.
How to Use Nolvadex
The recommended dosage is 20mg-40mg. For any dosage that is above 20mg, it is important that you split the dosage into two times a day. It is possible for you to take food before Nolvadex is administered. In most cases, doctors recommend that you take the drug without consuming any food prior to administration. To ensure that you get rid of the cancer in the early stages, it is important that you take the treatment for at least 5 years.
Side-effects of Nolvadex
Metabolic side-effects include severe hypercalcemia. It is also shown that those women over the age of 70 develop bone turnover as well. There is a possibility that fatal hypercalcemia occurs during the first few therapies with Nolvadex for those patients who have bone metastases. It is recommended that patients who have bone metastases should monitor their levels of serum calcium levels when they are in their early stages of therapy. It is also advisable that Nolvadex be discontinued if there is a severe case of Hypercalcemia and should be re-instituted with a lower dose after the calcium levels have been stabilized.
The Genitourinary side-effects of Nolvadex include endometriosis, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, altered menses, Oligomenorrhea, and amenorrhea. This has been seen in over 24% of patients who have been treated with Nolvadex. Even though these effects occur, it is not advisable that you discontinue the dosage of Nolvadex. Long-term treatment with Nolvadex has shown recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in women who are in their postmenopausal stage. For male patients, side-effects include suppression of spermatogenesis and priapism after taking Nolvadex.
There are also musculoskeletal side-effects, which include bone pain, in patients after Nolvadex therapy. These effects reduce rapidly, so there is no cause for concern although severe pancytopenia or hypercalcemia may occur simultaneously with these symptoms. For those patients with soft tissue disease, there is a possibility of experiencing an increase in the size of the lesion and local erythema in the early stages of therapy.
Nolvadex treatment is also known to cause cardiovascular side-effects such as stroke, hot flushes, phlebitis, thromboembolism, and edema. After several studies on the effects of Nolvadex on fibrinogen, platelets, and antithrombin III, there is no evidence of thromboembolic risk in Nolvadex treated patients. Other side-effects include respiratory problems such as cough and exacerbation of asthma.
Nolvadex also suppresses the release of prolactin in its response to breast stimulation for puerperal women. Nolvadex has also been known to reduce the libido in over 30% of male breast cancer patients. Hematological side-effects include thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, and leukopenia while there are only two cases of cerebral sinus thrombosis being reported after studies have been conducted. Other side-effects include bilateral optic neuritis, subepithelial opacities, and retinopathy. Studies have also shown that there is a possibility of developing a serious case of keratopathy.
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