What should I watch for?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need regular pelvic exams, breast exams, and mammograms. If you are taking this medicine to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer, you should know that this medicine does not prevent all types of breast cancer. If breast cancer or other problems occur, there is no guarantee that it will be found at an early stage.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 2 months after stopping this medicine. Stop taking this medicine if you get pregnant or think you are pregnant and contact your doctor. This medicine may harm your unborn baby. Women who can possibly become pregnant should use birth control methods that do not use hormones during tamoxifen treatment and for 2 months after therapy has stopped. Talk with your health care provider for birth control advice.
Do not breast feed while taking this medicine.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Because of the way this medicine acts on the body, there is a chance that it might cause unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. Tamoxifen increases the chance of cancer of the uterus (womb) in some women taking it. Tamoxifen may cause blockages to form in a vein, lung, or brain. In women, tamoxifen may cause cancer or other problems of the uterus (womb). It also causes liver cancer in rats. In addition, tamoxifen has been reported to cause cataracts and other eye problems. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin and mucous membranes
cataracts in the eyes or other eye problems
change in vaginal discharge
lower back or side pain
pain or feeling of pressure in the pelvis
pain or swelling in the legs
pain, redness, or swelling in your arm or leg
painful or difficult urination
rapid shallow breathing
shortness of breath or trouble with breathing
skin rash or itching over the entire body
weakness or sleepiness
yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
difficulty with breathing
joint or muscle pain
large, hard skin blisters
large hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, and sex organs
loss of appetite
pain in the stomach or side, possibly radiating to the back
red, irritated eyes
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
sores, ulcers or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Absent, missed, or irregular periods
decrease in the amount of urine
feeling of warmth
noisy, rattling breathing
redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
stopping of menstrual bleeding
swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
troubled breathing at rest
weight gain or loss
white or brownish vaginal discharge
Less common or rare
Abdominal or stomach cramps
black, tarry stools
blood in the urine or stools
bluish color changes in skin color
decreased interest in sexual intercourse
feeling sad or empty
hair loss or thinning of the hair
inability to have or keep an erection
itching in the genital area
loss of interest or pleasure
loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
nausea or vomiting (mild)
pinpoint red spots on the skin
skin rash or dryness
stomach or pelvic discomfort, aching, or heaviness
trouble with sleeping
unusual bleeding or bruising
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.