Tamoxifen - depression & anxiety

My partner (34) had breast cancer 4 years ago, and has been on Tamoxifen ever since. Slowly, with time, she has developed mild depression as well as increased anxiety. She stays in her pyjamas all day, can no longer work, never leaves the house, doesnt eat properly, never exercises and drinks too much alcohol.

I am starting to wonder if she should consider coming off the drug given the time she has been on it, and the fact that the things she does because of it far outweigh any benefit that the drug now gives her.

Anyone here have any experiences off this?

Hi Andymac,
I am sorry to hear about your wife. I’ve been on Tamoxifen since January and know several others who are on it/have been on it. I have to say I’m not convinced that the depression is anything to do with the tamoxifen. It is such an emotional overload when you are diagnosed and treated with breast cancer, that i think often people don’t process the emotions until later. At that time you are in shock and everything’s up in the air and you’re just surviving from one hosp appt to the next, trying to get yourself to the appts and find out what’s happening next. I think it is later, when life gets a bit steadier, that our feelings say ‘okay i feel safe enough to make myself heard’.
Has she spoken to her GP about it? or breast care nurse? I would think they might be able to offer some medication and/or counselling to help her sort out what’s troubling her. Lots of people have counselling after bc, to help them sort through all the thoughts and feelings it stirs up, and a lot of people say it really helps.
Also, is it worth asking for a review of her Tamoxifen with the oncologist, just to clarify why she is still taking it and what the benefits are?
I really hope you get some help. You can be her advocate and make sure she sees someone, as she may not have the energy or will to do it for herself.
Good luck

I agree, I don’t necessarily think it’s the Tamoxifen. I personally had no problems at all on Tamoxifen, but know of quite a few that have. However, I think what happens is when you initially find out about your breast cancer, and whatever treatment you are going to have, you basically go into fight mode, and you channel all your energies and determination into getting over the shock, dealing with the implications of it, getting used to the horrible changes in your body, and it takes all the energies and completely knocks you sideways. Then when the dust settles, it may be two or three years, or a few months later, it doesn’t matter, I think that some of us, although not all, just completely all the realities of what you’ve been through hit you, and depression kicks in, as it can do with any traumatic shock to the body. It shoulds as if you need to get her to her GP, and see what he/she thinks. A half life is no life, and she mustn’t let this shitty disease and it’s after affects spoil her future, otherwise it has won.


Hi andymac

You or your partner are welcome to call our specialist nurses on the helpline for more support and advice about where you can receive further help. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and it’s open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.

Best wishes

hi , i agree with the others, i have been on tamoxifen for 2 years and yes i have taken anti depressants whilts going through treatment but then weaned myself off once i was back at work.
depression is a symptom of the dx and it is about moving on, i was a lot better when i went back to work, i was distracted and able to move on.
this must be very difficult for you and your partner, especially as she is so young.
perhaps she should see her gp and get some support.

It is 100% Tamoxifen. I’ve been put in it and it almost drove me to suicide. I’m lucky to have come off it. I now lead a very healthy alternative life. I no longer take any pharma drugs and I feel so good. There are so many natural ways to balance hormonal levels in the body - Tamoxifen is not good. Check out on YouTube " The truth about cancer " series. It will change your mind. And save your partner too. Think about this - how can a drug that has such serious side effects be good for u. Cancer is one of side effects ! Diet and juicing has changed my life. Good luck to u.

Hi andymac, so sorry your partner is feeling like this. I agree with the others that depression is a se of the dx - I’ve been on antidepressants and sleeping tablets since half way through chemo (February) and didn’t start Tamoxifen til June - though I’ve come off it for a while to see if flushes improve.

I’ve recently done a 6 week Macmillan Hope course (bcc do a Moving Forward course) which has really helped to put things in perspective and discuss feelings with others some of which were dx 4 years ago, I was a newbie with a year under my belt.

I hope you find a solution soon, I too do not have the energy/will to work or do household chores, but I am taking regular exercise - yoga and meditation are really positive for mind and body.

There’s an article recently on line acknowledging that 1 on 3 cancer survivors suffer from PTSD - so she’s not alone and really need to talk to someone x

Hi Terri welcome to the forum ,there is lots of support and advice here from people who understand .You are most definitely not alone in dealing with life changing issues relating to side effects .Jill.

Hi I’ve been taking 20mg of Tomoxifen for just over a month now and wondered it’s common for it to make you feel worried,agitated and tearful I’m getting to the point that I want to stop taking it.

Having a depression is not a joke. I’ve been dealing with this for several years now and it’s hard to sleep at night when I know I am thinking about all the things I shouldnt be worried to begin with. I want to heal, so, I have read many articles about medical marijuana and how it can help you in terms of chronic pain, bone injuries, eating disorder/anorexia, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, inflammation, even cancer and a lot more. Cbd and thc are also new to me and I don’t even smoke. Alternatively, they’ve also found new ways to infuse cannabis on food and beverages. If this is true I can’t find any solid conclusive evidence that speaks to its efficacy. Any personal experience or testimonial would be highly appreciated. Thanks