It’s called the “gold standard” for treating and preventing certain kinds of breast cancer.
But some woman at high risk for the disease are preferring to have their healthy breasts removed rather than chance taking this drug!
It seems, however, that old dangerous pharmaceuticals never quite go away. Instead, researchers just look for new uses for them. And that’s exactly what’s going on with tamoxifen.
A group of researchers affiliated with a French university are saying that they may have found a new way to treat obesity and the metabolic conditions that go along with it by using — you guessed it — tamoxifen.
They removed the ovaries from a group of very unlucky mice, then pumped half of them with tamoxifen with the other half given a placebo. And eureka! The drugged mice didn’t gain weight and were “less likely” to develop other obesity-related conditions. Why, these scientists probably think they’re going to get an award of some kind.
But don’t let anyone try to talk you into taking this med for any reason — let alone to drop some pounds or treat disorders such as insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease (how the French researchers say it “helped” the mice).
And having the drug used this way isn’t far-fetched at all.
As long as a med is approved by the FDA for a condition, a doctor can give you an Rx for it to “treat” any other. It’s called off-label prescribing, and it means that practically any drug can end up being given to you for any reason whatsoever.
Unbelievably, this isn’t the first time tamoxifen has been promoted for other uses.
At the beginning of the year, I told you about a study from the University of California, San Francisco, in which the researchers first said that having dense breast tissue is the biggest risk factor out there for developing breast cancer (not true!). And then they went on to tell us that the only thing known to reduce breast density is…tamoxifen.
Having dense breast tissue is a perfectly normal condition. But that’s really beside the point, because taking tamoxifen can trigger some horrible diseases and conditions that are anything but normal.
The label for AstraZeneca’s brand of tamoxifen, called Nolvadex, reads like a horror show of side effects.
It has a black-box warning for “serious and life-threatening events” such as strokes, blood clots and cancers of the uterus. It also says that doctors should be telling women who may take it to prevent breast cancer about “the potential risks of serious events.”
And as I said, more and more women — ones with cancer — who are learning about what this drug can do are refusing to take it. A recent study on breast cancer patients found that when “the numbers were laid out for them…they weren’t interested in taking tamoxifen.”
But the thought that a doctor could slip you an Rx for this drug to drop some pounds is chilling.
Someday we’ll look back on the poisonous drugs that were given to patients and just shake our heads in disbelief.
Until that time comes, however, you need to know all the facts before taking any drug for anyreason.