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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have clomidiphene?

Short Answer

Yes, look for Tamoxifen.

Long Answer

Tamoxifen (trade names Nolvadex, Tamoxifene) is a medication used to treat breast cancer in women and men. About two thirds of breast cancers grow in response to estrogen. These cancer cells have estrogen receptors which are proteins that bind with estrogen. Tamoxifen works by preventing estrogen from binding to the receptors to stop the cells from growing and proliferating. It is sometimes referred to as an antiestrogen drug.

Estrogen is a hormone that flows through the bloodstream targeting cells that contain estrogen receptors such as those in the breasts and uterus. Estrogen passes through cell membranes and binds to the receptors which then triggers an activation process. In some parts of the body, such as the breasts, this results in the normal growth and division of cells, called proliferation.

The diagram below shows how this process works.

Estrogen binds to receptors

When a patient takes Tamoxifen, it binds to receptors in breast cancer cells, thus preventing estrogen from binding and activating the proliferation process as shown below.

Tamoxifen blocks estrogen from binding to receptors

Tamoxifen belongs to a class of drugs called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). These drugs are referred to as selective because they act on estrogen receptors in different ways in different types of cells. For example, a SERM may block estrogen from binding in breast cells yet activate estrogen in bone cells.

Tamoxifen is the oldest SERM. Other examples are Raloxifene (Ralista, Evista) and Toremifene (Fareston).

Breast Cancer Treatment

Tamoxifen can be used when breast cancer cells test positive for estrogen receptors. It's effective in treating women who are pre-menopausal or post-menopausal as well as men.

Tamoxifen may be used in a number of circumstances.

  • Following surgery for early-stage breast cancer, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment, Tamoxifen is prescribed, usually for five years, to reduce the risk of cancer returning.
  • It may be prescribed to treat metastatic breast cancer - cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
  • It can be used to help prevent breast cancer in some women who are at high risk of developing the disease.

Additional Information

Tamoxifen in Pill Form (Brand Name: Nolvadex) (BreastCancer.org)
BreastCancer.org discusses Tamoxifen treatment, medications that can interfere with Tamoxifen's effectiveness, and side effects.
Hormone therapy for breast cancer in men (Cancer.org)
This article by the American Cancer Society covers breast cancer treatment options for men including Tamoxifen. The Breast Cancer for Men index has links to other information and resources such as symptoms, statistics, risk factors, causes, and research information.
Tamoxifen (Drugs.com)
Drugs.com covers precautions, dosing, side effects, and drug interactions.
Tamoxifen (nlm.nih.gov/)
Basic Tamoxifen information from MedlinePlus.
Understanding Cancer Series (Cancer.gov)
This in-depth, illustrated series of slides by National Cancer Institute explains how estrogens work, their role in breast cancer, how Tamoxifen works, and related topics.