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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Tamoxifen Dosage?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tamoxifen dosage can vary depending on the reason the medication is prescribed, and may typically range from 10 to 40 milligrams per day. This drug interferes with estrogen receptors in the breast tissue and is used primarily in the management of breast cancer. Pediatric patients may receive tamoxifen therapy for precocious puberty and some other conditions. Dosage recommendations are based on clinical trials with various doses to find the point where the medication is most effective, with the fewest number of side effects.

In the management of metastatic breast cancer, the tamoxifen dosage can range between 20 and 40 milligrams, depending on the preference of the care provider and the specifics of the patient’s case. This medication is only effective in cases where a patient has an estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumor. A pathology report can determine if the patient’s cancer is ER-positive. If it is not, the doctor may recommend other medications that would be more effective and appropriate.

Patients can receive a lower tamoxifen dosage as supplemental therapy, where it accompanies another medication, in which case they typically receive a 10 milligram daily dose. Palliative breast cancer care may involve doses between 10 and 20 milligrams. In this case, the goal is to keep the patient comfortable and improve quality of life, rather than to cure the cancer. These patients want to manage their tumors to extend quality of life with a terminal diagnosis. Pediatric cases typically call for a dose of 20 milligrams once a day.

This medication acts as an estrogen antagonist in the breasts, but can mimic this hormone elsewhere in the body. Patients on tamoxifen may experience improved bone health as a result. They can also develop hot flashes and other signs of hormonal imbalances. A higher tamoxifen dosage can increase the chance of adverse side effects and drug interactions. If a patient does not tolerate the medication well, the doctor may determine if low dose therapy or treatment with another medication are viable options.

Both 10 and 20 milligram pills of tamoxifen are available, which allow patients to control their doses. Large doses may need to be broken up for patient safety. A care provider can advise a patient on the best time of day to take their medication, and how to break up the tamoxifen dosage if it is too large to take all at once. Patients may also experiment on their own with their medications to find the best time of day to take them.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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