Raloxifene

Raloxifene increases bone density. Raloxifene can also be used to decrease the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Hot flashes are common during the first 6 months after starting treatment.

Raloxifene Overview

Updated: 
Raloxifene is a prescription medicine used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It is also used to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have osteoporosis or who are at risk of invasive breast cancer.
 
Raloxifene belongs to a group of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). It works by mimicking the effects of estrogen to increase the density of bone.
 
This medication comes in tablet form. It is taken once a day with or without food.
 
Common side effects of raloxifene include hot flashes, leg cramps, swelling, and flu-like symptoms.
 

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Uses of Raloxifene

Raloxifene is a prescription medicine used in postmenopausal women:

  • to treat and prevent osteoporosis
  • to lower your chance of getting invasive breast cancer

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Raloxifene Drug Class

Raloxifene is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Raloxifene

Serious and life-threatening side effects can occur while taking raloxifene. These include blood clots and dying from stroke:
 
  • Increased risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism) have been reported with raloxifene. Women who have or have had blood clots in the legs, lungs, or eyes should not take raloxifene.
  • Women who have had a heart attack or are at risk for a heart attack may have an increased risk of dying from stroke when taking raloxifene.
 
The most common side effects of raloxifene are:
 
  • hot flashes
  • leg cramps
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs
  • flu-like syndrome
  • joint pain
  • sweating (hot flashes are common during the first 6 months after starting treatment)
 
These are not all the possible side effects of raloxifene. Tell your doctor about any side effect that is bothersome or that does not go away.

Raloxifene Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • cholestyramine
  • estrogens

This is not a complete list of raloxifene drug interactions.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Raloxifene Precautions

Do not take raloxifene if you:
 
  • have had blood clots in your legs, lungs or eyes.
  • are pregnant, or may become pregnant, as raloxifene can cause harm to your baby.
  • are breastfeeding
  • need to lay down, be seated, or remain still for a long time (such as during long trips or being in bed after surgery) can increase the risk of blood clots. Raloxifene may add to this risk.
    • If you will need to be still for a long time, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce the risk of blood clots. On long trips, move around periodically. Stop taking raloxifene at least 3 days before a planned surgery or before you plan on being still for a long time. You should start taking raloxifene again when you return to your normal activities.
  • Do not use raloxifene to prevent heart disease, heart attack, or strokes.
  • To get the calcium and vitamin D you need, your doctor may advise you to change your diet and/or take supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Your doctor may suggest other ways to help treat or prevent osteoporosis, in addition to taking raloxifene and getting the calcium and vitamin D you need. These may include regular exercise, stopping smoking, and drinking less alcohol.
  • Women who have hot flashes can take raloxifene. Raloxifene does not treat hot flashes, and it may cause hot flashes in some women.
  • Raloxifene has not been found to cause breast tenderness or enlargement. If you notice any changes in your breasts, call your doctor to find out the cause. Before starting and while taking raloxifene you should have breast exams and mammograms, as directed by your doctor.
  • Because raloxifene does not eliminate the chance of developing breast cancers, you need these examinations to find any breast cancers as early as possible.
  • Raloxifene should not cause spotting or menstrual-type bleeding. If you have any vaginal bleeding, call your doctor to find out the cause. Raloxifene has not been found to increase the risk for cancer of the lining of the uterus.
  • Women in clinical trials have taken raloxifene for up to eight years.

Raloxifene Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of raloxifene there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving raloxifene.

Inform MD

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including:

  • If you have had blood clots in your legs, lungs or eyes.
  • If you have had a stroke, mini-stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, history of smoking, or think you have other risk factors for stroke or heart attack.
  • Raloxifene should not be used in the prevention of heart disease.
  • If you are premenopausal. Only take raloxifene if you are past menopause.
  • If you have liver or kidney disease. Women with liver or kidney disease should use raloxifene with caution.
  • Raloxifene should not be taken with estrogens in the form of pills, patches or injections.
  • If you have taken estrogen in the past and had a high increase of triglycerides (a kind of fat in the blood).

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Raloxifene and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Raloxifene should not be used in women who are or could become pregnant. Raloxifene could harm your unborn baby.

Raloxifene and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It is not known if raloxifene is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Raloxifene Usage

  • Take raloxifene exactly as your doctor prescribes it.
  • Keep taking raloxifene for as long as your doctor prescribes it for you.
  • Take one raloxifene tablet each day, at any time of the day, with or without food.
  • It is best to take raloxifene about the same time each day.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take only  your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Raloxifene Dosage

Take raloxifene exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you.

The recommended dose is one 60 mg raloxifene tablet daily, with or without food.

Raloxifene Overdose

If you take too much raloxifene, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store raloxifene at controlled room temperature at 68°F to 77°F (20°C-25°C).
  • Keep raloxifene and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Raloxifene FDA Warning

WARNING: INCREASED RISK OF VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLISM AND DEATH FROM STROKE
 
  • Increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism have been reported with raloxifene. Women with active or past history of venous thromboembolism should not take raloxifene.
  • Increased risk of death due to stroke occurred in a trial in postmenopausal women with documented coronary heart disease or at increased risk for major coronary events. Consider risk-benefit balance in women at risk for stroke.