Side effects of Tamoxifen

Side effects of Tamoxifen

Side effects of Tamoxifen I’ve recently been to see my GP who wrote to my Consultant enquiring if I could have an alternative to Tamoxifen as I was having increased stiffness in my joints, some mornings finding it very difficult getting up and that my libido was almost non-existant. I am 52 years old and feel 82.

I’ve had a letter back from the Consultant who says that I could swop to the Aromatase Inhibitor type drugs but that I would have to be post menopausal, I’m still having periods so I think this is not the case at the moment.

He has suggested that I try “some of the health shop remedies to take in combination with the Tamoxifen that are deemed to be oestrogenic to see if this helps the joint stiffness and loss of libido”.

Has anyone got any ideas what health shop remedies he might be talking about, I’m loath to go into Holland and Barrett to discuss my sex drive and would welcome any names of products that others have used.

I would appreciate any help



Hi Jenny I’m afraid that the aromatase inhibitors wouldn’t necessarily be any better for you. One of their most common side-effects is joint pain and stiffness and they can definitely cause a loss of libido, because of the removal of almost all oestrogen from the body. Tamoxifen doesn’t remove oestrogen, it just stops it linking to the hormone receptors in any stray cancer cells and helping them to grow.

From my own experience I would recommend a daily teaspoon of cod-liver oil, available in big bottles from Boots. Because of a problem with an inflamed hip I started to take this some years ago, long before I was put onto Arimidex after my recurrence 18 months ago.

I have to say that I have had absolutely no problems with joint pain on Arimidex and only a little, very temporary, stiffness if I sit for too long in the same position. I am nearly 61, overweight and don’t take enough exercise, yet I can still touch my toes with my legs straight, which I put down entirely to the cod-liver keeping me reasonably supple.

My recommendation would be straight cod-liver oil instead of more expensive capsules, of which you’d need to take at least 2 or 3 to get the same amount of oil as one teaspoon. Codliver oil is now treated to lessen the taste and isn’t difficult to take.

Good luck


Possibly also Glucosamine and chondroitin.

It is very difficult to comment on individual circumstances because we don’t know what the medical complexities are. I can only offer my own experiences.

I wasn’t given an option at first - I was prescribed tamoxifen as most other women with breast cancer are. I had very few side effects but after reading about some of the more worrying aspects of tamoxifen, I flatly refused to take it. Lo and behold - I was suddenly given an alternative which had never been mentioned before, ie, Zoladex. It’s administered as a monthly implant by my practice nurse and although many of the side effects are similar, vaginal atrophy, reduction in bone density, hot flushes, etc. I feel it’s better for me. I hate to say it, but I wonder if tamoxifen is cheaper than some of the alternatives and that’s why doctors prescribe it first.

I am watching this post with interest as I am just 4 weeks on Tamox ( Tamoxifen ) I too was very hesitant about taking it and would have opted for an oopherectomy but was told it was a given for me. I too have the Zoladex type injection but it does something different to the Tamox drug, it chemically shuts the ovaries off so this should be enough but I am taking the other as well, perhaps its a stronger er/pr status? but just to let you know that they are slightly different

side effects Hi Jenny,

I have refused to continue with hormone treatment because I couldn’t cope with the side effects. Basically if you read the side effect sheet in your drug packet you will see that they are all akin to chronic premature aging. Hardly surprising as the drugs are designed to rob you of the hormones associated with your youth.

Do you know what % difference it is actually making to you? For most women it is between 2-4%, most of which is gained in the first year. Check with your oncologist.

My surgeon has recommended Grape Seed Extract to help with the menopausal flushes (result of chemo), flaxseed oil for the joints.

All the best

All this is getting me confused. I have now been on tamox for over 8mnths. I had Epi and CMF chemo and have put on 2 stone in weight. i eat less than before Dx but exercise very little. Why? because i am defo 45 going on 65.

No periods anymore, no sex drive just long for affection and sympathy.

The flushes are horrendous.

I know I am alive and although i have scan res on the 13th believe i am in remission and they will be fine.

Should I ask for a oophectomy and go on other drugs should i not take drugs, should i have a further mastectomy as its lobular and more chance of re-ocurrance.

should i just run and run and run and run awayyyyyyyyyyyyyy???

Anyone want to go to a desert Island and HIDE???