What is Nolvadex (Tamoxifen)?

Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is a non-steroidal anti-estrogen medication used for treating and preventing breast cancer. It also treats breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Important Information

If your cancer is limited to the milk ducts, it’s better to discuss the benefits and risks of using novaldex to reduce breast cancer risks. However taking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer is more beneficial than the risk of side effects.

Seek immediate medical attention if you develop stroke or blood clots in the lungs or legs, slurred speech, vision changes, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath and weakness on one side of the body.

Inform your doctor of any uterus cancer symptoms like unusual changes in monthly period, unusual vaginal discharge and pain or pressure below the navel.

Inform your doctor of any allergies you have or if you are allergic to tamoxifen before starting Nolvadex as the drug contains inactive ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions.

Consult your doctor if you have a history of blood clots or use blood thinners as warfarin as you can’t use Nolvadex to treat breast cancer in such cases.

Disclose your medical history to your pharmacist or doctor before using Nolvadex, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetes, cataracts, liver disease, immobility or if you smoke.

Nolvadex is not advised for use in pregnancy as it can harm the unborn baby. So women of childbearing age should start tamoxifen only during their periods or after getting a negative pregnancy test.

Both men and women should use two effective non-hormonal birth control forms like condoms or diaphragms with spermicide while on Nolvadex, and for 2 months after stopping the medication.

As it is not known if tamoxifen passes into breast milk, it is not recommended to breastfeed while using the drug.

What should I know before taking Nolvadex?

If you use Nolvadex to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, you may experience some increased pain or disease flare-ups like increased or new tumors and increased body pain. Sometimes, this is a sign of good response to the medication and the symptoms usually disappear quickly. However do report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.

As Nolvadex is quickly absorbed through the skin and lungs, pregnant women or those who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or even breathe the dust from the tablets.

Your doctor should be informed if your condition worsens, like if you get new breast lumps.


Nolvadex contains tamoxifen citrate and inactive ingredients like calcium, mannitol, carboxymethylcellulose calcium, magnesium stearate and starch.

How it Works

Nolvadex treats breast cancer that spreads to other body parts and blocks the action of estrogen in the breast tissue. It is used to treat breast cancer in patients after surgery and radiation therapy and to reduce the chances of breast cancer.


Nolvadex should be taken orally with or without food, at least once or twice everyday for 5 years or as your doctor’s directions. A daily dosage exceeding 20 milligrams is usually divided into half and taken in the morning and evening or as your doctor directs. If using liquid Nolvadex, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device or spoon as not a household spoon as you may not get the right dosage.

Dosage varies per patient based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Nolvadex should be taken regularly to reap its benefits, and to help you remember, take it at the same time every day.


As any prescription, non-prescription or over the counter drug can cause drug interactions with Nolvadex, you have to inform your doctor of any medication you take so that they can monitor you for any possible drug interactions. However do not stop, start or change any medicine without your doctor’s consent.

Nolvadex can lead to serious interactions if used with anastrozole or letrozole.

Tell your doctor if you take blood thinners , estrogens, bupropion, hormonal birth control forms like pills, patches and implants, Phenobarbital, St.John’s wort or rifamycin before starting Nolvadex.

Inform your doctor if you take drugs like cimetidine or SSRI antidepressants as they can affect the removal of tamoxifen from the body and affect its working.

Nolvadex can interfere with some laboratory tests like thyroid tests to give false results. So make sure the lab personnel and doctor know you use this drug.

Possible side effects of Nolvadex (tamoxifen)

Stop taking tamoxifen and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • possible symptoms of a stroke such as unusual weakness, drowsiness, confusion, or difficulty walking or talking;
  • possible symptoms of a blood clot in the lung such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood;
  • possible symptoms of a blood clot in the brain or leg such as blurred vision, changes in vision, numbness, or pain or swelling in a leg;
  • new breast lumps;
  • bone pain;
  • menstrual changes, abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, or pelvic pain or pressure;
  • pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes; or
  • excessive nausea, vomiting, or thirst.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take tamoxifen and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • dizziness or headache;
  • mild nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite;
  • vaginal itching;
  • hot flashes; or
  • changes in weight.

Treatment with tamoxifen may increase the risk of certain uterine cancers, stroke, and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), which may be fatal. You should discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits associated with the use of tamoxifen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in Nolvadex

Nolvadex is a non-steroidal anti-estrogen drug used for treating and preventing breast cancer.

How does Nolvadex work?

Tamoxifen works by treating breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and by blocking the action of estrogen in the breast tissue. It is also used to treat breast cancer patients after surgery and radiation therapy and to reduce the chances of breast cancer in high-risk patients.

Are there any drugs I can’t take in combination with Nolvadex?

While rifampin, warfarin and St. John’s wort shouldn’t be taken with Nolvadex, there may be other drugs that shouldn’t be taken with Nolvadex. This is why you should inform your doctor about any prescription, non-prescription or over the counter medication you take before starting Nolvadex.

Can Nolvadex cause allergic reactions? If so, what are the signs?

Nolvadex doesn’t usually cause allergic reactions; however seek your doctor’s advice if you notice rashes, itching and swelling in the face, throat and tongue, severe dizziness or breathing trouble.