Newswise — Three drugs, including tamoxifen, reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer, but each drug carries distinct potential harms of its own, according to a new report from HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Drugs to reduce the risk of breast cancer can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. The comparative effectiveness review found that all three drugs — tamoxifen, raloxifene, and tibolone — significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women but that benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.
“Taking medicine to avoid breast cancer in the first place is an attractive notion, but the decision to do so must be made by patients in consultation with their clinicians with benefit of the best evidence available,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “These drugs are not necessarily for everyone. This report sheds important light on their advantages and potential harms.”