Find out what raloxifene is, how you have it and other important information about taking raloxifene.
Raloxifene is a type of drug called a selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It acts like the female sex hormone oestrogen although it isn't a hormone.
It is a treatment to lower the risk of breast cancer in women who are at a high or moderate risk of developing it. It is for women who have been through the menopause.
Raloxifene can also be used to prevent and treat bone thinning (osteoporosis) in women who have had their menopause.
How it works
Many breast cancers are stimulated to grow by the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These breast cancers are called hormone sensitive or hormone receptor positive cancers.
Oestrogen locks on to a protein called the oestrogen receptor in the breast cancer cell. This stimulates the cell to divide and grow. Raloxifene binds to this receptor and stops the oestrogen from stimulating the cell to divide.
How you have it
Raloxifene is a tablet you take once a day.
Taking your tablets
You should take the right dose, not more or less.
Talk to your specialist or advice line before you stop taking a cancer drug.
When you have it
You can choose the best time to take it but you need to take it at about the same time every day. You may take it with or without food. If you are taking it to reduce the risk of breast cancer you take it for 5 years.
Ask your doctor how long you should take raloxifene. They may also advise you to take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
You might have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your general health and might check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood.
Other medicines, foods and drink
Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.
Pregnancy and contraception
Raloxifene is only used for women who have been through the menopause. This drug may harm a baby developing in the womb.
Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through into your breast milk.
Treatment for other conditions
Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.
This drug contains lactose (milk sugar). If you have an intolerance to lactose, contact your doctor before taking this medicine.
More information about this treatment
For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.
You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.