By Yolanda Smith, BPharm
Tamoxifen is a drug called an estrogen receptor antagonist, which works by blocking the receptor so that estrogen can’t work its usual effects within the body.
Estrogen is an important hormone in the female body and plays a big role in some types of breast cancer. As a result, tamoxifen is commonly used to prevent breast cancer from appearing or coming back in women who are at a high risk of or have a history of breast cancer.
This is not the only way that tamoxifen can be used, however, and there are several alternative ways that this drug can be used to offer a benefit. The following information goes into more detail about alternative uses of the medication and how it can be used.
Some individuals that experience premature puberty may notice symptoms of McCune-Albright syndrome, such as bone disfiguration and skin discoloration.
Tamoxifen can be used to decrease the rate of bone maturation and alter the predicted adult height, which is usually lower in those with premature puberty. This medication has been shown to be affective for both boys and girls.
One study conducted in 2007 on bone growth in rats examined the effect of tamoxfen and produced controversial results. It was observed that there was persistent retardation of longitudinal and cortical radical bone growth, which then led to come concern about the use of tamoxifen in young humans.
For women with anovulatory disorders that may result in infertility, tamoxifen offers a possible solution. Several doses administered at a specific time during a woman’s cycle may be effective. Additionally, retroperitoneal fibrosis is another condition that may require tamoxifen for treatment.
Elevated estrogen levels have the potential to cause gynecomastia and tamoxifen can be used to help reduce the levels of estrogen and improve the condition.
It is usually taken in small doses to prevent symptoms, or at the first sign of symptoms such as nipple sensitivity and soreness. It is also sometimes used to prevent the formation of breast tissue for people undergoing chemical castration such as sex offenders.
Tamoxifen may also be used to manage mania in patents with bipolar disorder. It also has an action of blocking the enzyme protein kinase C, which changes the neuron activity in the brain.
Current research suggest that this enzyme is overactive during manic episodes, hence it relevant in the management of the condition.
Tamoxifen can be used in conjunction with other medications (such as celecoxib and doxycycline) to form a treatment regime to regulate the growth of new blood vessels.
In the 1970s the research of Dr Judah Folkman discovered that angiogenesis plays a significant role in the development of cancer. Since this breakthrough, a new field of cancer research has developed, involving the use of tamoxifen to regulate angiogenesis.
The sole use of tamoxifen with its anti-angiogenic effects has been shown to reduce cancer in animals, independent of the estrogen receptor antagonist properties.
When research requires specific tissues to be kept under conditions with controlled gene expression, tamoxifen can be used to help regulate this.
Many research studies involving genetically modified animals such as a version of the Cre-Lox recombination technique have utilized this effect of tamoxifen.
This condition is a chronic form of thyroiditis involving the pancreas, liver, kidney and other body tissues. Treatment usually comprises of prednisolone and occasionally surgery is also required. However, tamoxifen is proposed to be an alternative method as part of a treatment plan.
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2015