What Is Liquid Tamoxifen?

K.C. Bruning

Liquid tamoxifen, also known as tamoxifen citrate, is a medication that is used to prevent or treat breast cancer. It originally was prescribed to patients who had been diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and had gone through radiation or chemotherapy. In later years, it was approved for use as a preventative measure for individuals at a high risk for getting breast cancer. The drug prevents estrogen from binding together by binding to individual estrogen receptors itself. This holds off the cell multiplication that can lead to cancer.

Hot flashes are a common side effect of liquid tamoxifen.
Hot flashes are a common side effect of liquid tamoxifen.

This medication also comes in pill form. Both types usually are prescribed to be taken one or two times daily. Liquid tamoxifen typically is prescribed for about five years. There has been some evidence that the risks connected with taking the drug might increase after that time period. One of the most significant potential effects is the development of cancer in other parts of the body.

Using liquid tamoxifen lowers the chances of breast cancer for patients who fit the high-risk profile for the disease.
Using liquid tamoxifen lowers the chances of breast cancer for patients who fit the high-risk profile for the disease.

When used as a treatment, liquid tamoxifen helps prevent growth in a variety of ways. It is primarily meant to target the breast where the cancer developed, to ensure that cells do not develop again. Before surgery, it can be used to shrink the tumor. The drug also is used as a preventative measure to decrease the chance of cancer developing in the other breast.

Early menstruation may increase a woman's risk of getting breast cancer.
Early menstruation may increase a woman's risk of getting breast cancer.

The primary purpose of using liquid tamoxifen as a preventative measure is to lower the chances of breast cancer for patients who fit the high-risk profile for the disease. Factors that can increase the risk of contracting the disease include a family history of the disease, early menstruation and post-menopausal hormone therapy. Historically, there has been no evidence that the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the risks for patients who do not have significant risk factors.

Taking liquid tamoxifen may result in cataracts in some individuals.
Taking liquid tamoxifen may result in cataracts in some individuals.

Most common side effects of liquid tamoxifen tend to be mild and usually do not need to be discussed with a doctor. The symptoms tend to be similar to those of menopause. They include hot flashes, fluid retention and nausea. Some patients have also reported leg cramps, vaginal dryness and pain in the joints.

Side effects of liquid tamoxifen may include leg cramps.
Side effects of liquid tamoxifen may include leg cramps.

There also are several serious side effects of taking liquid tamoxifen. These include blood clots, cataracts and strokes. Taking the drug might also cause the development of uterine or endometrial cancer. Patients who are taking tamoxifen are usually observed by a doctor during and after treatment so that conditions such as these can be caught and treated promptly.

Liquid tamoxifen was originally prescribed to patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and who had undergone chemotherapy.
Liquid tamoxifen was originally prescribed to patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and who had undergone chemotherapy.
Tamoxifen also comes in pill form.
Tamoxifen also comes in pill form.
Tamoxifen side effects may include nausea.
Tamoxifen side effects may include nausea.

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