Breast cancer, that inhibits the growth-promoting actions of estrogen in breast cancer cells. Tamoxifen was first synthesized in 1962 by scientists at the British pharmaceutical company Imperial Chemical Industries PLC (now Astra Zeneca). The agent (then known as ICI 46474) was subsequently found to have contraceptive effects in rats and was believed to exert its effects solely through antiestrogen mechanisms. Thus, tamoxifen was initially investigated for potential use as a morning-after pill. However, in the early 1970s, when it was found that tamoxifen had the opposite effect in humans—it actually increased fertility by stimulating ovulation in women—research on the agent as a form of contraception was promptly abandoned. Several years later scientists recognized the potential application of tamoxifen as a therapy for hormone-dependent cancers and began testing the agent in rats with breast cancer. It was found that tamoxifen exerted antiestrogen effects in breast cancers that expressed estrogen receptors but had no effect in breast cancers that did not express these receptors. Tamoxifen may cause cancer of the uterus (womb), strokes, and blood clots in the lungs. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a blood clot in the lungs or legs, a stroke, or a heart attack. Also tell your doctor if you smoke, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, if your ability to move around during your waking hours is limited, or if you are taking anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin). If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after your treatment, call your doctor immediately: abnormal vaginal bleeding; irregular menstrual periods; changes in vaginal discharge, especially if the discharge becomes bloody, brown, or rusty; pain or pressure in the pelvis (the stomach area below the belly button); leg swelling or tenderness; chest pain; shortness of breath; coughing up blood; sudden weakness, tingling, or numbness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion; difficulty speaking or understanding; sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; sudden difficulty walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache. You will need to have gynecological examinations (examinations of the female organs) regularly to find early signs of cancer of the uterus. If you are thinking about taking tamoxifen to reduce the chance that you will develop breast cancer, you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this treatment. You and your doctor will decide whether the possible benefit of tamoxifen treatment is worth the risks of taking the medication. If you need to take tamoxifen to treat breast cancer, the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the risks. Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with tamoxifen and each time you refill your prescription.
While estrogen is often a hormone more associated with women, there are several reasons why tamoxifen, a drug used to block the effects of estrogen, may be used to treat men. Men who get breast cancer are often treated with a course of tamoxifen. It can also be useful to stop or reverse a condition called gynecomastia, where the breast tissue of adolescent boys or men grows and sometimes becomes uncomfortable. Another use is tamoxifen for men who take anabolic steroids, in order to block the large amounts of estrogen produced by their bodies once they stop taking them. One of the primary uses of tamoxifen for men is the treatment of breast cancer. While this type of cancer is fairly rare in men, the type that most men get involves tumors that are estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that estrogen encourages their growth. Since tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM, it helps to keep estrogen from binding to the proteins on these tumors and therefore inhibits their growth. Reggie Johal is the founder of Predator Nutrition, a UK based health and supplement store. Reggie owes much of his extensive strength and fitness knowledge to his former career as a Great Britain American Footballer.
Tamoxifen is a prescription drug used to manage and prevent breast cancer in men and women. It has been in existence for over 30 years. Interestingly, the drug has gained popularity in the bodybuilding community. Tamoxifen is an antiestrogen frequently used in the treatment of breast cancer and is currently being assessed as a prophylactic for those at high risk of developing tumors.