How Raloxifene Works
This drug performs like estrogen in bone tissue to increase bone density, without the negative effects of estrogens. In the bones, raloxifene binds to elements in the cell that cause the beneficial estrogen effect. Bone density is returned to premenopausal levels.
In the breast and uterus, there are two types of cell elements that either increase or decrease estrogen. These cell elements are not found in the bones. Raloxifene binds to the element that prevents estrogen. Unable to feed on estrogen, estrogen-loving cancer cannot spread.
Raloxifene is one of the most studied medications for the menopausal population.
Storage, dosage, and how to use Raloxifene
Take this medicine once a day at the same time, for five years. The 60mg dose is taken by mouth, with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole. Store away from moisture and heat. Store this medicine well out of reach from children and pets.
When taken for preventing osteoporosis, patients are advised to add supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Other possible dietary changes may be advised. When taken to prevent invasive cancer of the breast or uterus, the patient is monitored with lab tests and routine breast and pelvic exams. The length of the treatment to prevent cancer varies.
The most common side effect is Hot Flashes or Hot Flushes.
Other common side effects are:
- leg cramps
- swelling in the hands, feet, and ankles
- joint pain
- flu symptoms
- increased sweating
Serious side effects that require immediate medical help are:
- swelling, tenderness, and other changes in breasts
- signs of stroke
- numbness or weakness
- slurred speech
- vision problems
- nausea and vomiting
If you have any of the listed serious symptoms, stop taking raloxifene and call your Provider immediately.
The most serious side effects that require immediate emergency help are:
- swelling of face or throat
- difficulty breathing
- bleeding disorders
- fast heart rate
- lightheaded or faint
- chest pain
- warm-to-touch swelling in thigh or calf
- reddish color, streaks, tenderness on leg
If you have signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, call the Emergency Services immediately. Do not wait.
Warnings & Precautions
Increased Risk of Blood Clots
There is a greater risk of blood clots in the legs, lungs, and eyes. There is also a greater risk of strokes, which may be fatal. Do not take this medication if there is a medical history of blood clots. Talk to your Provider about other treatment options.
If you have experienced an allergic reaction to this medication previously, inform your Provider.
Upcoming Surgeries or Long Distance Travel
Surgeries and long distance travel put one at risk for blood clots. Discuss any plans with the Prescribing Provider before beginning this therapy.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Raloxifene can harm an unborn baby. Do not breastfeed while receiving this medication.
Some health conditions may make this drug unsuitable or require additional monitoring during use. If you have a history of the following conditions, tell your Provider:
- history of smoking
- high cholesterol from estrogen use
- blood clots
- heart attack or major stroke
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- irregular heart rhythm
- liver disease
- kidney disease
A number of medications can also interfere with the safe and effective use of Raloxifene. Be certain to review your medications with the healthcare provider.
Medications that cannot be used while receiving Raloxifene treatment:
- birth control pills
- hormone replacement therapy
- tranexamic acid
Other substances and medications that should be discussed with the Provider before using:
- milk thistle
- fish oil
- aspirin and Tylenol
- vitamins B12, B6, C, D2, D3
- foods high in oxalic acid
Women who are pregnant, or who may become pregnant, should neither touch this medication nor breathe the dust. The medication can be absorbed through the skin and lungs.
History of blood clots
Any history or use of medication that warns of risk for blood clots contraindicates the use of this medication.
Endometrial cancer causes a higher risk for blood clotting.
Undiagnosed uterine bleeding
Undiagnosed bleeding needs to be resolved prior to beginning Raloxifene therapy. This condition may preclude taking Raloxifene.