Nolvadex is a brand name for the medication tamoxifen, which is commonly used for the treatment of breast cancer. Nolvadex commonly comes in both 10 and 20 mg tablets. Tamoxifen blocks proteins that bind to estrogen, which is useful for cases of breast cancer as the tumor cells often proliferate in response to estrogen. Tamoxifen can cause serious side effects, particularly because it can disrupt the body's natural hormonal cycles.
Nolvadex tablets can lead to hot flashes in up to 80 percent of all patients who use it for the treatment of breast cancer, EMedTV notes. Hot flashes are characterized by flushing and an intense feeling of warmth that begins in the chest and rises to include the face. Women taking Nolvadex may also develop vaginal discharge or experience bleeding from the vagina. Women who have not yet experienced menopause and who are taking Nolvadex may also experience irregularities in their menstrual cycle, leading to them occasionally missing a menstrual period or having unusually heavy or light menstrual bleeding. Changes in hormones can also lead to increased water retention and weight gain, as well as hair loss.
Nolvadex can also lead to significant muscle or bone pain, Drugs.com explains. This pain may occur shortly after beginning the course of medication and will generally gradually subside. In some cases, the pain will be severe enough that patients will require additional medications for pain relief. Bone pain is sometimes associated with a positive response by the tumor as a result of Nolvadex treatment, RxList notes.
Nolvadex can also lead to patients experiencing nausea or constipation. Patients may also experience indigestion and heartburn.
Use of Nolvadex 20 mg tablets can also lead to the liver becoming damaged. Symptoms of liver damage include yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, as well as unusually dark urine. Patients who have developed liver damage may also experience easy bruising or bleeding.
Nolvadex can also result in certain emotional changes. Nolvadex can result in patients experiencing depression, which may be exacerbated by sleeping problems or insomnia.
Nolvadex can also lead to osteoporosis. This can be a result of the body breaking down bones more rapidly than usual, resulting in hypercalcemia. Osteoporosis can cause the bones to become weak and fracture more easily.
Nolvadex can also increase a patient's risk of developing a blood clot, which most commonly occurs in the veins of the legs. Symptoms of a blood clot, EMedTv notes, include pain, swelling and tenderness of the affected part of the body.