Women who take drugs like raloxifene or tamoxifen can reduce their risk of developing invasive breast cancer by up to half, but they may be at greater risk for potentially serious blood clots, according to a recently-released study that reviews the risks and benefits of the drugs. The researchers said in a paper that for every 1,000 women who take the medications each year, seven to ten fewer cases of breast cancer will develop. While both medications increase the risk of blood clots, tamoxifen appears to have the highest risk. It was said in the study that for every 1,000 women who take tamoxifen each year, four to seven additional cases of blood clots occur. Tamoxifen also increases the risk of endometrial cancer and cataracts. The study appears in Annals of Internal Medicine.
A third drug, tibolone, which is not approved in the United States, but is sold elsewhere, was also included in the study. Tibolone significantly reduces breast cancer risk, but increases the risk of strokes in older women, according to the study. All three drugs were said to reduce the risk of fractures. The paper assessed the risks and benefits of the drugs when used by healthy women, who have never had breast cancer, but are considered at greater risk for the disease. Most of the data analyzed by the study was drawn from eight large clinical trials.
Source: New York Times
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