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tamoxifen and antidepressants

Posts: 15
Joined: Aug 2009

Are there any antidepressants that do not interfere with tamoxifen? I was diagnosed with major depression several years before my breash cancer diagnosis. I was taking wellbrutrin xl and my onoc told me that it makes the tamoxifen less effective. The acs cancer drug guide for tamoxifen also names a few more antidepressants that may make tamoxifen less effective.

My pschy dr was not aware of this. (wish I could switch pshcy dr, but I can't afford to)
Anyway he prescibed me celexa.

My onoc dr accent is difficult to understand, but I think he said any of the meds I'm on could make the tamoxifen less effective. Any Ideas?

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

a while ago there was a link posted to which ones you can take and which ones you cant. I know you can take lexapro.

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

I take effexor with tamoxifen. Works good for me.

Posts: 15
Joined: Aug 2009

Thank you!

Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

June 1, 2009 (Orlando, Fla.) -- Women who are taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen should avoid certain antidepressants, researchers say.

That's because a large U.S. study showed that certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants may prevent tamoxifen from working properly.

In the study, women on tamoxifen who were also taking one of three SSRIs -- Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft -- were about twice as likely to have their cancer come back, compared with women on tamoxifen who were not taking an SSRI.

SSRIs are prescribed not only to treat the depression that often plagues women with cancer, but also to help relieve hot flashes that can be caused by tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen mixes with a liver enzyme called CYP2D6 in the body to change into the tumor-fighter endoxifen. Many SSRIs block the same enzyme, thus preventing tamoxifen from morphing into its active form.

"We've known that these [drugs] block the activation of tamoxifen chemically, but this is the first time there's evidence that they may be decreasing the effectiveness of their anticancer treatment," says researcher Robert Epstein, MD, chief medical officer at Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy benefits management company.

Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft are categorized as moderate-to-potent SSRIs because they are strongest in their ability to block the CYP2D6 enzyme. Celexa, Lexapro, and Luvox are considered weaker SSRIs.

The weaker SSRIs were not linked to an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence, the study showed.

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

two anti-depressants which are compatible with Tamoxifen, Effexor is generic, Lexapro brand.

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I think, from what I have read, that there are only 3 that they say are safe to use with tamoxifen, and, Lexapro is one of them.

BethInAz's picture
Posts: 203
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you for this post. I just recently became aware of Zoloft making the Tamoxifen less effective. What a position to be in! My oncologist talked with me about quality of life issues - whether being off the antidepressant would make dealing with the side effects of the tamoxifen - i.e. instant menopause - difficult to deal with. I guess I have a decision to make. Thanks for making me aware of the antidepressants that are less of an issue. I want my Tamoxifen to be 100% effective!!!

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

I am not on tamox yet, as, I was having radiation treatments and my rads oncologist said for me to not start it until I was done. I have read where certain antidepressants do double your chance of a recurrence if you take them with tamox. So many of us aren't told that.


Nufferz's picture
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

I came across this link and it gives you the information I think you're all looking for:

http://medicine.iupui.edu/clinpharm/COBRA/Tamoxifen%20and%202D6v7.pdf (copy & paste)

Check it out, and maybe bookmark it. :)

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Talk to your oncologist about which ones are safe. You don't want to risk or double your chance of a recurrence by taking the wrong antidepressant with tamox. I googled that question and got a lot of answers too. Good luck!

tgf's picture
Posts: 954
Joined: Mar 2009

I was taking zoloft and wellbutrin when my oncologist told me I'd need to start tamoxifen. It was at the same time (a few months ago) that there was all the talk about some antidepressants and tamoxifen not working together. I was very upset. My antidepressants had been working great and I didn't want to mess with them. I almost told the oncologist I would not take tamoxifen ... but we worked out a plan to switch me over to effexor. I switched gradually over a couple of weeks ... then went another week or two on just effexor ... then after I was confident that I was OK ... then I started the tamoxifen. So far (3 months) I've done fine. Thank goodness.


susie09's picture
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Just be sure and ask your oncologist which antidepressants are ok to take with tamox. There are several that you shouldn't be taking according to the research if you are on tamox as it does double your chance of a recurrence. Good luck!

♠♣ Susie ♠♣

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