ssri & tamoxifen

At last I’ve been given the answer to why ssris and tamoxifen are a poor combination. I was put on tamoxifen as soon as chemo finished and then found a report on the cancer research site that some ssris make tamoxifen less effective. After this being dismissed by senior reg at marsden as “be careful what you read on the internet” I brought it up again at my next appointment and I was then switched to arimidex although a different reg said she didn’t know about a link. At my most recent appt I saw the great man himself, Proffessor yarnold and asked if I was on the right drug as I wasn’t post menopausal before treatment and have managed to cut down antidepressent to minimum dose. He said that the problem is that an ssri makes the liver work more efficently so the tamoxifen’s efficency is slightly compromised as it passes through the body more quickly. He didn’t say if this was all ssris or just particular types. IF you are taking an ssri please don’t get worried as he also said the effect was quite small so it’s a case of weighing up the choices.

I’m pleased that I now understand what the link is but am still irritated that even the senior registrar didn’t know about this given the number of patients who are taking ssris for either previously diagnosed mental health conditions or to help with anxiety or depression from being diagnosed with BC.

Hi there Littlemrs

Thank you so much for this post it has finally put any doubts I had left to rest. I was prescribed dusolepin (low dose 50mg at bed time) to help with my zoladex hot flushes etc. I had a terrible time over easter last year when I was told about the tamoxifen/ssri mix. I went to my GP who sent the query off to the board that deals with this type of thing and the report came back was massive and came back with the same details that Proffessor Yarnold gave to you so I went back on them and things have been so much better since. I also like your senior reg comment on be careful what we read on the internet.

Thanks again for such an informative post. S x