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Tamoxifen and depression

31 REPLIES 31
Community Champion

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hello Linda ,welcome to the forum Sorry to hear you are having a miserable time .I think a lot of people find that side effects settle down after the first 3 months or so and hopefully will for you too .But if things don't settle down or get worse speak to your  breast care team .the impact of having cancer and treatment can hit you once treatment is over and you go back to " normality " - I think it took me at least a year .Take your time ,you have been through a lot ,it takes time to recover, don't expect too much of yourself - it's normal to feel tired and a bit overwhelmed when you go back to your pre cancer life -but you will get there ! Jill x

 

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi I have been on Tamoxifen now for six weeks, I don't feel like myself at all, I have terrible back, hip and joint pain, depression and severe lassitude, trying to get back to work, I worked full time prior to breast cancer, but am struggling on 3x 5 hour sessions any help please ? 

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Some signs help us know the perspective of the person. These signs enable us to understand that a person was facing depression. These stand as symptoms which helps in analyzing the mindset of the patient and also link removed, through which situation that the person is going through.

Community Champion

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hello Rudy ,welcome to the forum .Sorry to hear you are suffering - it's horrible to feel
so low .Hopefully once your body has adjusted to the Tamoxifen you will feel better .It could also be that now things have quietened down your brain is processing all that you have been through ? If things don't settle down or get worse you need to get some advice .Hope you feel better soon 🤞🤞🤞🤞 Jill
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

So I'm brand new to this website and brand new to Tamoxifen - only have been taking it for a week. But I started wondering about Tamoxifen and depression when I realized I'd spent a lot of time today crying at stupid stuff and yelling at my kid. Glad I stumbled on this website. 

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

 

I recently got out of a psychiatric hospital after having been on Tamoxifen for over 2 years. I was experiencing depression unlike any I have had before, and when I started having suicidal thoughts, I called my neighbor and had her take me to the local ER. They took one look at me, asked a few questions during which I could not stop crying, and arranged for me to be transported to a hospital. 

     I mentioned to the doc there that I suspected that my symptoms have to do with the Tamo, but he sort of dismissed that, and put me on Effexor after I had told him that when I had tried SSRIs in the past for situational depression, they had a negative effect on me. The Effex made me more depressed, so, after consulting my oncology counselor and having her tell me that it was ok to lay off of the stuff ‘for a while’ I went off of it, and within a week, I was feeling human again, after 10 days, I am back to being my old self. I felt that the psychiatrist did not have any experience with this problem, maybe now he has. 

  I can’t tell you how awful I was feeling for close to a year, the symptoms getting much worse so that my summer was a disappointment, and by early Oct., between crying at the drop of a hat, joints aching, having no energy, and becoming obsessed with the idea of ending my life because I could not stand to feel the way I did anymore, I was a mess. Ultimately, I had diagnosed myself, and the hosp. stay, while relaxing, was probably unnecessary. If my onco doc had told me up front that depression was a common side effect and that if I experienced any such symptom to discontinue its use I would not have panicked and I would have simply stopped using the Tamo, avoiding all of the drama and expense to the ins. companies. 

So...just a thought for those of you who may be in the same sitch. 

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Same here.But i am taking from 3 years

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Everyone is, of course, different and will react to treatments differently. Just got to do it and hope for the best.

 

I have had rads twice with no issues, just told to not go sun bathing for a few months. And I was on Tamoxifen from 1999 to 2009 then back on it Jan 2017 both times with no side effects.

 

I've been lucky as it's been an easy ride so far and a long one coming up to 19 years. Was only 26.

 

Good luck and stay positive!

 

Jason

Community Champion

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi Tess9

whilst it is true that some people have moderate to severe skin breakdown, it is not inevitable and many people also report no side effects to the skin whatsoever, (I'm one of them) so try not to worry but just take your rads team's advice. Re sun-cream - I think you may be a bit confused by the advice you have been given by friends. Whilst we are all told that after rads is finished we must wear a high facfor sun screen when out in the  summer sun, my understanding is that using it during the actual rads treatment is a definite no-no. (or it may be that I have mis-read your post and that is what you meant! Apologies if that is the case - the old brain is not what it was - nothing to do with bc, I'm just getting on a bit!) I think you need to discuss this with your team. They may recommend creams, but it seems to vary so much between hospitals, with some hospitals saying use nothing, some recommending various creams, and some saying use whatever you usually use, so I'd be guided by them. It's good to use a cooling cream in the evening after the day's rads session though, provided it is one you have used before and know you are not allergic to the ingredients.

 

I'm sorry to hear you are struggling with the hormone treatment. I take my Ansatrozole before bed which  seems to suit me, and I've been on it since February this year. Weight gain is not inevitable, but I do find I need to eat fewer calories than i did before bc in order to maintain my weight, and take a bit more exercise, so I guess it is a case of us being careful with what we eat from the outset so any gain is only a couple of pounds which can be lost quite easily, rather than waiting till it's a couple of stone. I haven't noticed much difference in mood as a result of the tablet to be honest, but I think that what we have all gone through with diagnosis, surgery, rads, and in the case of some people, Chemo, that it would be surprising if we didn't have periods of sadness and grieving for our previous lives, and coming to terms with our future ones which, while not necessarily worse, will be different in some ways, so it may not be the Tamox but a normal reaction to what you have been through so far and with the rads still to come. 

Hang in there girl and join the radiotherapy thread for November when it is posted, then you will get lots of advice and support from folk who are at the same stage as you. All the best. xxxxx

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi Scotland 16. I'm due to have radiotherapy in the next couple of weeks and my oncologist told me that it can burn the skin. I was told by another BC lady and my friend who is a Cancer Nurse to only use baby products on my skin and to put suncream on my exposed skin even though it is Autumn because they could burn my skin during treatment.
I am feeling weepy and sad on Tamoxifen and I've only been on it for 2 weeks. Does it matter whether it's taken at night or in the morning. I take it at night. I was told by the oncologist that it courses weightgain and it sure does. I'm also finding my knees are stiffer and I'm slower in walking.
Tess9.
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Linda, you are not alone in this situation. I have been taking Tamoxifen for almost 2 years and I hate it ... I gained 50 lbs since I started that med. It feels like I gain weight even after glass of water (((.. Hot flashes are just unbearable and almost every 30-40 min- with a cold sweat running over my entire body while I feel like I’m on fire and my skin looks so flashed and red. I feel like I have aged at least 30 years overnight( and Im only 47), I constantly cry, Im angry, so moody it is just unbearable, and don’t let me start on my mood swing....or none existing sexdrive. It is just awful... Tamoxifen causes joints stiffness big time, and some days I can barely walk.. Both of my docs Onco and Radiation said “yes, Tamoxifen known for causing ALL that ", we did drug holiday, switching time when I take med ( evening to morning then back to evening again). T supposed to prevent cancer from reoccurrence- but I really don’t care anymore because of the miserable quality of life I have due to Tamoxifen. Im a medical professional, I know all about the med and what it can do to you.. Sucks…I m considering to add Effexor- which usually effective for HF but for me mostly to level my mood issues. So, you are not alone….:Woman SadWoman Sad

Community Champion

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi L,good chance your symptoms are related all the symptoms youdescribe can be side effects of meds.You need to have serious discussion with doc/Oncologist re the impact they are having on your quality of life and weigh up the pros and cons of stopping .
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I have now been taking this awful drug for 7 years , I I have wieght gain , feel old , no confidence ,depressed , crying at the drop of a hat , does anyone else have these symptoms ,just feel it's just me ,coz everyone else including my doc doesn't think it related 😢😢

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I had a WLE in March. I could bore you all to death with the unbelievably stupid responses from supposed specialist nurses.

 

 Anyway I refused radiation....no one ever uses the word burn, but the oncologist referred to total complete skin breakdown.... and all the **bleep** they tell you about creams etc is just that...... **bleep** and he admitted as much!!!I had a very well defined cancer slow growing... good recovery nothing in the margins or sentinal node. So the radiographers lied to me and said they never see skin breakdown but they 'might just clip the windpipe,.  My Father died in the 1950's because of bad radiotherapy and my oncologist said that now and then....we see women with a radiotherapy related cancer and it is bad news.

 

I am now on tamoxifen because I refused Letrazol the nurse said some of her ladies have trouble doing embroidery because their fingrs are stiff>>>>> what the fu...c..k  I know a pal who was agym teacher and now can hardly get out of bed....thanks Letrozole, fear is my friend.

 

The oncologist wrote to my GP and said that radiotherapy would only have medium effect.... I would have suffered for weeks and months  because I refused to start being burned 3 weeks after surgery...because i was in agony.

 

I am 5 and a half months after surgery, I still have pain in the breast on a daily basis and every day i think about dumping the tamoxifen in the bin. Horrific sweats, hellish nights, foggy recall, memory changes. weight gain unless you starve yourself, hair thinning, skin drooping and  general feeling like **bleep** ....nausea....push yourself as I did last week to walk 13 miles and my god you pay for it.

 

i have asked for medical retirement...never saw that coming!!!

 

Yes..I feel fairly **bleep**...ed up all these women who advertise their brave battles and how marvellous I am make me want to punch them/  Bet I am not alone!!! xxx 

 

PS Great news I have a very dear friend now dying from cancer in the uterus related to tamoxifen and what do you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I had Breast Cancer that had grown outside the tumor. After cancer Surgery and treatment, oncologist wanted me on Arimidex for 10 years. After two years I could no longer stand the side effects. I felt Like I was a walking dead person. Went on Tamoxifin and I still have bad side effects of severe depression. Dehabilitating Anxiety. I want so badly to try natural alternatives, but am afraid of the Cancer returning. I feel I have no life.
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi Richard,

I sorry that this will be a non-answer but I am a BC man and have been on Arimidex for almost 3 years with no apparent ill effects.
I was never prescribed Tamoxifen so I can't compare but I have a suspicion that hormonally, Tamoxifen is tougher on men.

On the plus side, apart from havimg the "rugby shirt" look on my chest, I've been free from Lymphoedema and really only suffer from hot armpit and other nerve damage.

I worked through chemo because I have an easy desk job (and very understanding boss) but I imagine that going back to work after a break would be tough.

Don't be too tough on yourself and try and see the positives because physically, you are at the new "normal" and this in my opinion, this is probably as good as it gets.

with best regards,
Ian

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I was dx 3 years ago and after chemo and rads was advised take arimidex. Un fortunately I already have a mood disorder and this drug made it ten times worse ! I also tried armosin and tamoxifen and the same thing happened. I saw my onc about this and she said that having got to three years already and the disabling side effects had such an adverse affect on my life I could stop. I do however still get the 'tutting' and huffing from some doctors and some other people even those who had bc about not taking the above drugs because of my E+++ dx. I have had a full hysterectomy before BC in 2004 (dx 2008 aged 38)so less risk to me as have no ovaries so very little oestrogen any way. I did persist with the drugs for as long as could but became so emotionally unstable that feared being hospitalised.I realise that everyone is different and if i could tolerate the drugs I would certainly take them !!

Rachy xx

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi I was prescribed Tamoxifen for 5 years - didn't agree with me - took the tablet everyday for 2 years - was told i could stop taking it, this was 2006 - drug free eversince.

WHY take something that makes you feel worse????????????

David

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

hello ladies and gents hope the day finds you well under the circumstances , i started tamoxifen on tuesday , last night i had my first sweats in the night , today have felt so tired - slept for 2 hours this afternoon ! i am taking tamoxifen with zoplicone 3.75 mg as i suffer terribly from anxiety and wasn`t sleeping at all so doc prescribed them , what i wanted to ask was how many variations of tamoxifen are there ? i `m not overly concerened bout the flushes but depression and mood swings bother me a lot , i have suffered from depression ( in the winter ) and know how bad my pmt was , any suggestions that can help would be fantastic thank you xx

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Richard, try changing brands.

APS was best for me, whokhart was ok, but I had three weeks on Generics and thought I was going crazy. Sobbed everyday, it was terrible. The day after changing back to APS, was fine again.

Apparently even though there is the same amount of tamox in each tab, different labs synthesize the drugs slightly differently and that can cause the different se's.

I'm sure you know but exercsie, fresh air and sunshine is great when you are feeling down too.

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Richard, I'm not on Tam yet (give it a week and I will be) but I have read from lots of ladies on here that the SEs do usually settle down after a while. Question is, of course, how long is "a while", but if you try different makes of Tam you might find that sorts it for you.

Getting back to work is a weird one, isn't it. I just can't get my head round work things (just finished chemo and shortly to start rads so might be expecting too much of myself) but I imagine it's even worse for a bloke who's been through BC than for a woman, because of it being so rare there is even less understanding.

Jan
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi Richard

I think you are right you need to get some help. CM's right, as ever (she talks a lot of sense that woman) there are lots of different versions of tamox. Don't think because it's still tamox it will have the same SE's. It's the stuff they put in the tablet with it and the coating which very often cause the problems. The Nolvadex I took was still tamox but I was really well on it until it was discontinued.

You might have to stamp your foot!! Have you got a BCN? I find that my BCN is more helpful than the docs.

Best of luck with it. Keep us posted.

Love Jan xxx

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Wow, I didn't expect to get such a great response, so quickly.

I imagine it's a combination of things, going back to work hasn't been the experience I was expecting, and together with the side effects of the tamoxifen it's getting me down. The really worrying thing is whether this could last for the whole 5 years of taking it, I'm not sure I would carry on if that's likely.

I think I need to go and speak to my doctor, although if he tells me to talk about it, I might punch him.

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Jane, you clearly haven't met me, "sweet" is NOT a word I'd ever think to use, that's really cheered me up!

Back on the Tamoxifen question, I've read lots of threads on here that the different versions (Wockhart, generic, summink else) can have different side-effects, so would it be worth trying to swap to a different brand?

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi again CM

Thanks for that, I suppose because my GP is so against it I have sort of developed a fear of taking anything like that. Most worried about not being clear headed and the GP is very much of the talk to your friends school of thought, but they really do not want to know all about this stuff. In truth I was sent to the psychologist in Autumn 09 by the BCN but she was not someone I could connect with at all so I never went back after the first appointment. Maybe when the recon is finished it will feel less depressing.

Good luck and thank you for being so sweet
xx

Jan
Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi Richard

Yes I was very depressed on Tamox. Initially I was given the generic tamox and after 8 months I just couldn't carry on taking it because of the depression. I came off it and took Nolvadex D which was discontinued, I was then asked to try generic tamox again. It had exactly the same effect, severe depression and so, being post menopausal, I'm now on an AI, Exemestane.

I did think that if the depression returned the second time I took, because I knew what was causing it I would be able to cope, but I couldn't.

I'm not sure about your situation and whether there are any altenatives to Tamox for men but I would certainly have a word with your onc and see if something can be done it really is an awful feeling. You have my full sympathy.

I hope you manage to get something sorted.

Love

Jan

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I hope your GP has come up with some suggestions for counselling to help with talking about things, and with someone who does understand the specific issues of post-cancer, and someone you can relate to. An online forum can only go so far in the progress you can make with specific issues so having a flesh-and-blood person to talk things through with can be very helpful.

As for anti-d's, I wanted to stress that needing anti-depressants ISN'T an indication of failure, though that's certainly how I was thinking of them before I took them, and getting that extra bit of help can be the first step on the road to recovery. Getting a bit of chemical assistance to help me through my trauma was the best move, and meant that I was finally able to deal with the situation that had caused the trauma in the first place. Long story, not BC-related, but very difficult at the time, and anti-d's most certainly had their place. As it happens I didn't really relate very well with the counsellor and feel it could have been better if I'd found someone I related better with, so it's important to find the right person.

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi CM

To be fair no-one has suggested them as the local GP thinks anything that is all in your head should be talked about and not medicated. And I'm fine now so clearly it's all in my head by his logic. In fairness, talking does not help but his recommendation is talk more, hence back on the forum.

Thanks for your honesty, I did not men there was shame in taking AD's, just that I am afraid of losing my grip any more than I already have.

Love

Jane x

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Jane, honestly there is no shame in taking anti-depressants. I was on them a few years back to help me through a really difficult period in my life and it was only after I started to feel better that I realised how ill I'd been, and how poorly I was functioning. If you think you might get some benefit from them, don't dismiss them. I was a lot more human when taking them than before I started, I just didn't realise it at the time. There are also counselling sessions that might be useful, you may be able to get information from your BCN or your GP.

Richard, you have it even tougher than we do in that there are so few men who have this horrible disease.

I haven't started on Tamoxifen yet but will do soon, so I can't make any specific suggestions. You might find the helpline has some tips they can give you.

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

Hi DD
I have never been depressed in my life but God am I ever now! Been on Tamox for 2yrs and been depressed and hopeless for all that time. So not sure what can be done - really do not want AD's as I need a clear head and I am afraid of being deluded. But I am miserable all the time and all the medics suggest is perishing counselling.

I think Lynberi is right though - the whole thing is an issue for us all.

Wishing you both health and happiness

Love

Jane x

Member

Re: Tamoxifen and depression

I would be inclined to say it's the whole situation and the grim reality of it all. I hate my one boob, my prosthesis, my Lymphoedema sleeve and glove, my weight gain and my Hot flushes, just to name a few!!

People around you think that everything is fine now, hair grown, back at work etc. etc. but I feel like a completely different person xx

Member

Tamoxifen and depression

Hi everyone,

Has anyone else experienced depression after starting taking tamoxifen?

I'm not sure if its the tamoxifen or the general situation, however, I've been pretty much ok all the way through diagnosis and treatment, and now 4 weeks into the tamoxifen I'm feeling really down and can't shift it.

Hearing about other people's experiences would be really useful.

Thanks
Richard