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Is Tamoxifen taken Premenopausal or Post or both?

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I always thought and was told that tamoxifen was for premenopausal women and not for postmenopausal. Yet, I have seen some on here that I would think are postmenopausal, simply by their age. Am I wrong? And, wouldn't the post ones be on another type of hormone therapy?

Thanks,

Megan

jackiejhm's picture
jackiejhm
Posts: 169
Joined: Feb 2010

I am 48 yrs old. I was in peri-menopause when I was diagnosed last year. I was actually menstruating when chemo started in Feb. I have not had a period since then. I started Tamoxifen in July....So, I guess, I have just been violently shoved into menopause? xo, Jackie

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1858
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi, Megan -

In general, if you're premenopausal, you take Tamoxifen after completing active treatment -- if you're postmenopausal, you take an aromatase inhibitor (Arimidex, Femara, or Aromasin).

As with everything in Cancer Land, there are exceptions -- I've seen some postmenopausal women on this board who were unable to take an AI for one reason or another, so their doctors switched them to Tamoxifen.

There's a second situation: Tamoxifen was originally developed and approved (back in 1977) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer -- back then, it wasn't given to early-stage women. And it's still often used for that same reason now, whether the woman is pre- or post-menopausal. I think I remember that ChenHeart is taking Tamoxifen for this reason, and my aunt (postmenopausal, metastasis to lungs after 6 years cancer-free) is, as well.

Hope that helps explain things a little better?

Traci

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

I also know some women that had too many side effects with the Al's and got switched to tamox, which seemed to have less side effects for them at least. I think you do what your oncologist recommends and if it has too many side effects, he will probably switch you.

sal314
Posts: 633
Joined: Jul 2010

My understanding is that it can be given to both types of women. Like Traci said, there are always exceptions. I do know that if you are premenopausal that Tamoxifen is the only hormonal blocker that you can take. The others haven't been approved for premenopausal women yet.

I have some postmenopuasal friends that have had to stop Tamoxifen because they developed bloodclots. But they were fine on the others.

Sally

Miss Murphy's picture
Miss Murphy
Posts: 302
Joined: Feb 2010

I was dx when I was postmenopause so I started off on the AI class of drugs. I had severe bone and joint pain with Femara and Arimidex. Last fall my onc switched me to Tamoxifen - at first it seemed better but after nearly a year, I'm beginning to think that these anti estrogen drugs just don't agree with me. I'm going to follow the quote earlier on the discussion board - if you're going thru hell, keep going. I keep telling myself that hopefully I'm halfway thru taking these pills.

Good luck to all - Sally

cahjah75's picture
cahjah75
Posts: 2623
Joined: Jun 2010

I have one sister who was 48-49 when dx with DCIS pre menopausal. She took Tamoxifen for 5 years. My other sister was 53-54 but not postmenopausal and she took Arimidex for 5 years. Because I have severe osteoarthritis and a tiny bit of osteopenia a decision has not been made on which I will take. Arimidex has a side effect of bone loss and Tamoxifen has side effects of blood clots and possible uterine cancer. Sometimes, it's the lesser of the 2 evils!
Char

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

I've heard that too. However, I fit right into the catergory Traci explained. I was on Tamoxifen pre-menopausal then switched to Arimidex post but couldn't tolerate it so was switched back to Tamoxifen.

I can't take any hormone therapy since my tumor was 1/2 estrogen positive, 1/2 HER2 positive.

I'm not even sure if my doctor is going to keep me on Tamoxifen after Feb of this coming year which will be my 5th year cancer free!

Blessings,

Sylvia

crselby's picture
crselby
Posts: 380
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Megan. I don't know why, but my oncologist put me directly on Tamoxifen when I finished treatment last November. I am 10 years postmenopausal at age 57. I'll ask him in late Sept. when I see him next why he chose that and not the other AIs.
~~Connie~~

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

I always wondered too as to whom was put on tamox and who would take the Als.

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Megan, tamoxifen was originally given to women with metastatic breast cancer. Then some years back they started giving it adjuvently to women diafnosed with early stage cancer. It is still used for women struggling with breast cancer. I was given tamoxifen after my last chemo treatment and have to take it for a total of 5 years. I am on my 4th and am still premenopausal.

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Megan, tamoxifen was originally given to women with metastatic breast cancer. Then some years back they started giving it adjuvently to women diafnosed with early stage cancer. It is still used for women struggling with breast cancer. I was given tamoxifen after my last chemo treatment and have to take it for a total of 5 years. I am on my 4th and am still premenopausal.

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Megan, tamoxifen was originally given to women with metastatic breast cancer. Then some years back they started giving it adjuvently to women diafnosed with early stage cancer. It is still used for women struggling with breast cancer. I was given tamoxifen after my last chemo treatment and have to take it for a total of 5 years. I am on my 4th and am still premenopausal.

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi Megan, tamoxifen was originally given to women with metastatic breast cancer. Then some years back they started giving it adjuvently to women diafnosed with early stage cancer. It is still used for women struggling with breast cancer. I was given tamoxifen after my last chemo treatment and have to take it for a total of 5 years. I am on my 4th and am still premenopausal.

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi back everyone! Thanks for helping me to understand about tamoxifen. You are all so smart! Now I know that it can be for pre or post.

You are all just the best and I love you all!

Really big hugs to all of you,

Megan

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