If the doctor gives you a prescription, think of this, the medication may not be approved by the FDA to treat the specific condition you have been given the drug for or the age group. This practice is known as off-label use. Policy makers and doctors are aware that drugs often prescribed to treat certain conditions or ailments may lack FDA approval; health practitioners are trained and have the liberty to put a patient on a drug they think is appropriate medically and they shouldn’t inform the person about it. Off-label prescribing is not a bad practice; it is beneficial, particularly when a one has used all the approved options available. Tamoxifen is a drug often prescribed for off-label uses.
What is Tamoxifen Used For and The Dosage Prescribed?
It’s a prescription drug and belongs to a class of drugs called antiestrogen. It’s available in the form:
The medicine works by blocking the effects of estrogen. The medication has a number of uses; the doctor prescribes Tamoxifen dosage depending on the condition being treated, existing medical condition, and the period one will be on the drug as well as other medicine one is on. Below are the uses of this drug and the relevant doses:
To Treat breast Cancer in Men and Women
The drug has been approved for breast cancer treatment only. Some breast cancer needs estrogen hormone to grow and spread. Many think estrogen is a female hormone only, but this isn’t the case. Males have estrogen, but in minimal levels, thus men respond well to hormonal treatment such as Tamoxifen to manage breast cancer. When taken by men and women who have breast cancer, the drugs blocks receptors on the cancer cells temporally. This prevents estrogen from binding to the cancer cells and their growth is slowed. The dose of the drug is given as follows:
- The initial starting dose for women is 20 mg taken once daily for metastatic breast cancer – it’s breast cancer which has spread to other body organs such as bones, lungs, liver or brain. If necessary, the dose may be adjusted up to 40 mg, however, it’s given in divided doses; one in the morning and the other in the evening.
- Tamoxifen dosage for men with breast cancer is 20 mg and may be adjusted to 40 mg to get the desired effects hence taken in the morning and in the evening
- The dosage of this medication for females with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) (the cells that line the milk duct of your breast looks like cancer cells under a microscope, although it hasn’t affected the surrounding –) after breast surgery as well as radiation is 20 mg taken orally once daily for five years.
- There are some women who are at risk of developing breast cancer because of genes and family history. In such a case a woman can take 20 mg every day for five years and the drug will lower the chance of getting the disease by preventing estrogen from working on cancerous cells sensitive to hormone and from acting on non-cancerous cells.
For Ovulation Induction
The medication is given to a woman who doesn’t ovulate on her own. It works in the same way like Letrozole and Clomid. The use of Tamoxifen to induce ovulation induction is effective in restoring fertility and can help potential parents to do away with costly injectable ovulation drugs. The initial medication dosage is 20 mg started either from the 2nd to the 6th day of the monthly period; however, the maximum dose given is 80 mg. As estrogen production is reduced, growth and maturity of the follicles are improved or supported.
To Treat Gynecomastia
The medication dose for gynecomastia has helped men, especially body builders with enlarged breast (gyno). Taking anabolic steroids is linked to gyno due to an increased production of testosterone; the excess hormone is then converted into estrogen through a process known as aromatization. Elevated estrogen levels are associated with breast enlargement. The drug dosage for gyno is 20 mg taken daily for three months. However, many men complain of negative effects triggered by the medicine. Adolescent boys may experience gynecomastia because of hormonal changes in puberty. The condition may resolve on its own, however, if the situation persists, 20 mg of Tamoxifen may be given.
To Treat McCune –Albright Syndrome
It’s an ailment that may lead to bone disease, early onset of puberty and spots which are dark colored in children. The recommended medication dose is 20 mg once daily for 12 months or as directed by the medical practitioner.
Mild negative effects can be managed and controlled in most cases. Nevertheless, if they are irritating and troublesome, contact the doctor to suggest tips or remedy for the undesired effects. For severe or serious unfavorable effects, medical attention must be sought right away. Below are unwanted side effects of Tamoxifen one may come across while on the drug:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Decreased libido, especially in men
- Weight loss
- Vaginal bleeding in females
- Blood clots in the veins and lungs. It can happen after one is done taking the dose prescribed. Signs and symptoms may include, sudden chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing blood
- Stroke may be characterized by sudden confusion and trouble speaking
- Cataracts, sign include blurred vision
- Liver problems and signs entail loss of appetite and jaundice
What to Remember While on The Drug
If a female is taking the drug to minimize the risk of breast cancer, it’s recommended to take the first dose during the monthly period. Since the medication can harm a fetus if taken during pregnancy, hence the medical care provider may perform a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy
Women on the therapy are at risk of uterine cancer, a blood clot in the lung or stroke, which may be life-threatening. Discuss with the doctor about the benefits and the risks involved. This will help you decide if the potential benefits are worth the risk which may occur
To look out for harmful effects, the health practitioner may order mammogram and liver test regularly to confirm you don’t have breast cancer as you may develop it in the course of the treatment and if the liver function is working well
Since Tamoxifen may interact with prescription, non-prescription, herbal and recreational drugs, inform the doctor on the medication you are on and don’t take any drug without letting the medical provider aware, he or she will give guidelines on medication to take and which ones to avoid
Hormonal contraception, for example, vaginal rings, injections, implants, skin patches and birth control pills may not be effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. Non-hormonal birth control methods should be explored like condoms or intrauterine device.
Follow the prescribed dose of Tamoxifen; don’t take more or less of it.