While it used to be an "off-label" use, the FDA has since approved the use of Evista for breast cancer. Studies have shown that Evista is as effective at preventing breast cancer as tamoxifen, an older medication; however, Evista is less likely to cause serious side effects, such as uterine bleeding. If you are using this drug to prevent breast cancer, keep in mind that regular mammograms are still necessary.
Can Evista Be Used for Breast Cancer?
Evista® (raloxifene hydrochloride) is a medication that is approved for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. You may find information stating that the drug is used "off-label" for preventing breast cancer (meaning that it is not approved for this use). For several years, this was the case. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since approved Evista for lowering the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, as well as in postmenopausal women without osteoporosis who are at high risk for breast cancer.
Is Tamoxifen or Evista Better for Breast Cancer?
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is an older medication that is approved to treat and prevent certain types of breast cancer. Both Evista and tamoxifen are selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), and they act similarly. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR, trial compared tamoxifen to Evista for lowering the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This study showed that both drugs were similarly effective in preventing breast cancer. However, Evista was less likely to cause certain serious side effects, such as uterine cancer and blood clots.
Preventing Breast Cancer With Evista
The recommended dose of Evista for preventing breast cancer is Evista 60 mg once daily (this is also the recommended dosage for osteoporosis treatment or prevention). It is not known how long women should take the drug to prevent breast cancer. It is important to remember that Evista does not eliminate the risk of breast cancer, and regular mammograms are still recommended. In addition, this drug is approved only for women who are postmenopausal. Evista has not been adequately studied in women who have already had breast cancer, and it is not known if the medication is effective for this use.
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