Raloxifene Safety Issues and Dosage

osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is an aggressive and debilitating disease that causes pain, fractures, and changes in posture, especially in women who are post-menopausal. It can be difficult to treat and there is no cure currently available. There is help available, however, in the form of raloxifene. When the body stops producing estrogen, this, in turn, decreases the collagen and calcium that are vital to bone structure and strength. It is natural to lose some bone density as we age, but osteoporosis is more aggressive and goes beyond the “normal” loss of density. Along with breast cancer, osteoporosis is typically hereditary, so this medication can help not just one woman but generations.

What Is Raloxifene?

Raloxifene, brand name Evista, is a drug that was developed specifically for post-menopausal women to help prevent and treat osteoporosis. Raloxifene is also approved in post-menopausal women who already have osteoporosis or who are at a high risk of breast cancer to lower the chances of developing invasive breast cancer.

As with all drugs, it has certain side effects and drug interactions, so patients should always check with their doctor before taking the drug. This is because the drug works in the breast as an estrogen antagonist, which means it lowers the estrogen levels in the breast that would normally cause cancer. For women who can’t find relief from other drugs, this one can be highly successful in preventing or reversing the bone damage that many older women can experience.

Specifics

Raloxifene is what’s called a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. This means it works in some parts of the body similar to natural estrogen in women who have stopped producing it because of menopause. Lack of estrogen can cause osteoporosis and increases the risk of breast cancer, so the drug is very helpful in preventing and treating osteoporosis and also lowers the risk of developing breast cancer in those who are post-menopausal or at high risk.

History

It was first released to the general public in 1997 to prevent post-menopausal osteoporosis; by 1999 it was approved to treat existing osteoporosis, and in 2007 it was approved to reduce chances of getting breast cancer, as well, making it a multi-functional drug. Raloxifene can and should be taken with calcium and vitamin D, which are also important in preventing or treating bone density loss.

Raloxifene Safety Issues and Dosage

fda approved

Like most drugs, Raloxifene comes with the risk of certain side effects and safety issues depending on what other medications the patient may be taking. It is not for use in pre-menopausal women and should be taken as directed by a doctor. Raloxifene was approved by the FDA over 10 years ago, meaning it was determined to be safe for human usage, specifically in post-menopausal women. When compared to similar drugs, Raloxifene seems to have less serious side effects except for in pregnant or breast-feeding women.

What Is a Typical Dosage Of Raloxifene?

Most people take a once-daily dose of 60 milligrams. It is unusual to have a higher dosage, and patients should make sure they take the pill at the same time every day for maximum effectiveness and also to ensure they do not forget to take it.

If a dosage is missed, it is best to take the pill as soon as remembered. If a dose is skipped completely, keep taking Raloxifene as normal making sure never to take more than one pill at a time. It is helpful for patients to take calcium and vitamin D as well, as both supplements are essential in healthy bone density.a

What Are the Most Concerning Issues with Taking Raloxifene?

Raloxifene

Any medicine is going to cause some side effects, and while most effects with Raloxifene are mild or rare, there do exist some major interactions and things to watch out for whilst taking the drug. Raloxifene is not recommended for use in women who have not undergone menopause especially because it is extremely harmful to unborn fetuses. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take or come into contact with this drug because of the high chance of birth defects.

Raloxifene can act like estrogen in the body, so it can also increase the risk of blood clots. Patients taking Raloxifene should try not to sit still for long periods of time as this increases the chance for a blood clot even more. If the patient taking Raloxifene is going to have surgery or be in a position where they might be sitting for prolonged periods, they should stop taking the medicine at least 3 days prior to the event and resume use once they are normally active again.

Raloxifene also has the potential to increase triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood, so doctors should monitor bloodwork if patients have cholesterol or liver issues. It is also not recommended for patients who are suffering from or at risk of renal failure.

Side Effects

Raloxifene isn’t known for causing many serious side effects, but it does come with a few minor ones. Because it works with estrogen in the body and can even mimic estrogen, the most common side effects are hot flashes and leg cramps. Hot flashes are more common within the first 6 months of use and often subside eventually. Patients may also experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, or vomiting. More serious side effects include developing blood clots or stroke, especially in patients who already have issues or are taking a blood thinner. If the patient experiences any stroke-like symptoms, trouble breathing, or chest pain, a doctor should be contacted immediately. Women who have a history of strokes, blood clots, or heart attacks should not take Raloxifene since it increases the risk of death by stroke in these patients. Patients should also be sure not to smoke while taking the drug as this can increase the risk of developing a blood clot. Patients taking Raloxifene should also not experience any uterine bleeding, so medical attention is necessary if this occurs.

What Drugs Interact with Raloxifene?

In addition to patients at high risk of heart attack or stroke, there are certain medications that should be avoided while taking Raloxifene. One of the most important drugs to avoid is any kind of estrogen, either natural or synthetic. Because Raloxifene can act like estrogen in the body, adding actual estrogen on top of it can double the risk for blood clots in the legs, pulmonary embolism, or stroke.

This means avoiding any kind of birth control or hormone replacement therapy. While patients can take Warfarin while on Raloxifene, it isn’t necessarily recommended, and a doctor should monitor blood while the patient is taking them simultaneously.

Cholestyramine, a drug used to help lower cholesterol in the blood, should also not be taken with Raloxifene as a serious interaction can occur. Patients should also be sure to tell their doctors about any supplements or over-the-counter drugs they are taking as these could possibly interact with the drug as well.

Conclusion

evista raloxifine

Starting a new medication can always be scary and confusing, especially with the long list of side effects drugs often come with. However, osteoporosis is extremely painful, so as worrisome as side effects might be, Raloxifene has a shining track record when it comes to making brittle bones stronger. It’s also important to remember that when a new drug is in testing any and all side effects must be reported, even if only one patient experienced them. Also, a doctor will determine the risks of taking the medication versus the benefits and would not prescribe anything that might put the patient in more danger. Raloxifene is a ground-breaking drug in the world of osteoporosis and can and will help women to maintain a healthier bone density and hopefully avoid some of the pain and fractures many osteoporosis patients experience. The fact that it can also help prevent breast cancer in those who are at high risk is another wonderful benefit of the drug. It is true that Raloxifene can be dangerous to those with heart disease, people who are at risk of stroke, or women who are pregnant, and these patients should not take the drug. But doctors are well aware of these facts. Further studies are needed to see if Raloxifene could be effective in patients who are pre-menopausal or even in men to determine if it can help reverse gynecomastia (development of breasts), as the drug has been shown to reduce breast density. The effects of Raloxifene on invasive breast cancer were not known until 10 years after the drug’s development, so it is important to keep testing this drug to discover how it may help treat other conditions. Overall, the drug has been highly beneficial for those suffering a crippling disease and has helped many women to not only feel better but have a healthier post-menopausal life as well. If your doctor prescribes this drug, you can rest assured that you’re getting a useful treatment that has helped many women life happier, healthier lives after menopause.