Toremifene (Oral)

Toremifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that counteracts the effects of estrogen in the body.

Overview

Toremifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, works by selectively prohibiting the actions of estrogen in particular tissues. It is primarily used in cases of breast cancer, so that the estrogen hormone cannot attach to to the tumorous breast cells. This may slow down the cancer cells' reproduction or kill it entirely.

This drug is only used in cancer cases where the patient is a post-menopausal woman whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Toremifene is a non-steroidal antiestrogen, so it may have adverse affects in women that have not experienced their change of life, so it should not be taken or prescribed to women younger than their mid-forties.

Toremifene is an oral medication, and should only be taken via the oral route. It is only available in its prescription form, which is marketed as Fareston, and does not come in a generic form.

This drug should only be prescribed under specific conditions, and taken wisely to avoid side effects or complications. It is a therapeutic drug, so it will usually be combined with other forms of treatment for the desired effect. Grapefruits and grapefruit products should be avoided during the course of your prescription.

It you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, speak to your doctor before taking Toremifene. Regular blood checks, gynecology exams, and breast exams should be conducted while taking this drug. Do not take this drug while pregnant, and do not give this drug to children. Side effects can vary from patient to patient, so speak to your doctor if you have concerns about any suspicious or persistent side effects during your Toremifene treatment.

If you are taking this medication, avoid missing doses, and try to take every dose at the same time each day. Do not double dose, and do not take more than prescribed, as this may worsen your side effects or cause an overdose. Toremifene should only be taken under your doctor's supervision, as most breast cancer treatments require more than one medication or treatment in order to succeed.

Toremifene should be stored responsibly in a cool, dry place, and it should not be kept within reach of children. If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center and present them with the bottle upon their arrival.

Speak to your doctor if you are considering Toremifene, or have concerns about your current Toremifene prescription.

Condition(s) treated?

  • Breast cancer

Type of medicine?

  • Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM)
  • Nonsteroidal antiestrogen

Side Effects

Toremifene may cause side effects, especially in people just beginning their prescription. These side effects can vary from person to person, both in form and intensity, so user discretion is advised. Here are a list of common side effects. If they begin to seriously affect your daily life, or don't go away within a few weeks, talk to your doctor.

If you think a side effect is abnormally persistent or intense, talk to your doctor to discuss your options. There may be additional, non-interactive medications that can counteract more unpleasant side effects, or you may consider switching treatments. However, it is important to remember that mild side effects may be worth any benefits that the medication brings to your health.

Some more serious side effects may be a sign that Toremifene is having negative effects on your body. Stop taking Toremifene and contact your doctor if you experience:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Muscle swelling
  • Vision changes
  • Trouble walking
  • Constipation

Toremifene may cause more serious issues within the body. These may require more immediate attention, and should not be ignored. These effects can be permanently damaging or fatal if left untreated, so stop taking Toremifene and contact medical officials if you experience:

  • Heart attack or heart failure. Symptoms include chest pain, weight gain, and shortness of breath.
  • Blood clots in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, blood in phlegm/coughing up blood, and sharp chest pains.
  • Signs of uterine changes/symptoms of uterine cancer: Polyps, unusual bleeding, pain/pressure below the navel.
  • Liver problems. Symptoms include dark urine, yellow skin or eyes, stomach pain, and fatigue.
  • Allergic reaction(s): Hives, fever, blistered/peeling skin, trouble breathing, swelling of the face/throat/lips.

If you are worried about the side effects Toremifene is having on you, contact your doctor and voice your concerns to them. It is your responsibility to keep track of how your new prescriptions affect you, so remember to keep a detailed log of all the symptoms and side effects you experience.

Many people take Toremifene without issue, but it is better to be safe than sorry while beginning any new prescription. Take your medication responsibly, keep track of of your doses, and stop taking it if the side effects become painful or persistent. If you believe your life is in danger, call medical authorities first.

Dosage

The dosage recommended for Toremifene can vary from patient to patient for various reasons. The age of the patient, how they reacted to the first dose, their other ongoing treatments, and the severity of their condition may affect how the doctor changes their dose. Like no medication has the same exact effects on every patient, there is no 'one size fits all' dose for Toremifene.

If you are taking the drug and wish to increase/decrease your daily value, speak to your doctor before doing so. Changing your dosage without speaking to a medical official first may result in adverse effects, underdosing, or an overdose.

Toremifene is primarily used to treat breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women. That being said, the dose may change if you do not fit these requirements. Toremifene is rarely used to treat other conditions, and these situations may require a specific, specially-tailored dosing schedule in order to have the desired effect on the patient.

The regular dose for Toremifene in the treatment of breast cancer is 60mg daily, as adjusted by your doctor or healthcare official. This medication is given orally, and can be taken with or without food at the patient's discretion. It should only be taken once a day, and should not be crushed, dissolved, or changed in any way before administration. To avoid side effects or unwanted results, follow the medication's directions closely, and obey your doctor's recommendations.

Only take Toremifene as long as it is needed. Taking it beyond the intended prescription course may be unnecessary or dangerous to the patient, especially if they are a long-term user. Toremifene is often used therapeutically in tandem with other breast cancer treatments, so speak to your doctor about your medications after any other treatments have concluded or ran their course.

Seniors may need to take this drug less, or on a slower dosing schedule. Toremifene may build up in their bodies and result in health problems, so speak to your doctor if you believe you or your charge may require a different dosage. Children should not take Toremifene, as it has not been tested in children under the age of 18, and may have serious effects.

If you miss a dose of Toremifene, take it as soon as you remember, or wait until your next dose. Do not double dose, and try to keep track of how often you take your medication. If overdose is suspected, call poison control immediately and inform them on how much was taken, when the overdose occurred, and the complete name/brand name of the drug.

Interactions

Toremifene, like many other drugs, can interact with foods and other drugs to cause adverse effects. These can range from decreased potency to life threatening conditions.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are common food interactions. When taken with Toremifene, grapefruit products can increase the level of medication in your body, worsening side effects or causing them outright. Alcohol may interact negatively with Toremifene, causing a sedative effect. Avoid drinking alcohol or grapefruit juice while taking this medication.

Do not take Toremifene until you have a signed prescription from your doctor, and be sure to mention any and all current medications before discussing Toremifene with your doctor. Taking certain medications in tandem with Toremifene can cause health issues or permanent damage.

Toremifene should not be taken with certain medications, including:

  • St.John's Wort, as it may decrease the potency of Toremifene.
  • SSRIs such as nefazodone can decrease the potency of Toremifene.
  • SNRIs or tricyclic antidepressants like amitryptyline and venlafaxine may increase your risk of QT prolongation, a heart problem that can become fatal.
  • Antifungals and antibiotics can increase the amount of Toremifene in your body, worsening side effects.
  • Toremifene interactions with nausea medications may increase your risk of QT prolongation.
  • Steroids, tuberculosis medications, and seizure medications may lower the amount of Toremiefen in your body, reducing the likelihood of success.
  • Diuretics, or water pills, may work with Toremifene to increase calcium levels to dangerous amounts.
  • HIV medications may increase Toremifene levels and therefore the possibility of side effects.
  • Both Antipsychotics and heart rate medications may increase your risk of QT prolongation when taken with Toremifene.

If you think any of your current medications fall into these categories, speak to your doctor before beginning any prescription containing Toremifene. Do not take them together unless explicitly ordered to do so, and watch your side effects carefully.

Your doctor may take you off other medications, change your dosage, or stop your other treatments entirely until your cancer treatment is over. Trust your doctor and don't hesitate to ask them questions about your treatment. If you have trouble adjusting to your new medication plan, discuss your options with your doctor.

While the side effects and interactions of Toremifene may seem extreme, the drug may have benefits that other drugs cannot accomplish. The benefits may far outweigh the negatives, so do not stop taking your medication unless you are in danger or told to do so.

Warnings

Toremifene should only be given to specific patients with a need for it, who can safely take it without harming themselves or others. If you believe that Toremifene may hurt you, an unborn child, or a nursing infant, speak to your doctor before taking the first dose of your new prescription.

The active ingredient in Toremifene can be dangerous to certain groups of people, including pregnant women, nursing women, and individuals suffering from QT prolongation, a disorder of the heart. Allergies and danger to seniors have also been recorded, so this drug should not be given blindly to anyone who may experience an adverse reaction.

If you have experienced an allergic reaction to the active/inactive ingredients in Toremifene, inform your doctor before beginning your prescription. A severe allergic reaction can be dangerous, even deadly, and can result in hives, swelling, and trouble breathing.

Senior citizens taking Toremifene may experience a toxic buildup of the drug in their system, as their bodies process things more slowly. Caretakers and seniors should discuss lowering their dose with their doctors before beginning their prescription, and monitor their progress before adjusting their dose further.

Toremifene poses a Category D risk to pregnant women. It can cause harm to an unborn child, so speak to your doctor if you are pregnant, become pregnant while taking the drug, or plan on becoming pregnant while taking the drug. If the drugs must be taken while the mother is pregnant, a doctor should be in charge of adjusting the dose.

Toremifene may also prevent lactation in breastfeeding mothers. It is not known whether or not the drug passes into breast milk, but the drug should be avoided unless completely necessary. Drug trials on children have not been recorded, and Toremifene should not be administered to children under any circumstances.

People with QT prolongation should not take Toremifene under any circumstances. Toremifene may decrease your heart rate further, which can result in deadly heart problems like heart attack and failure.

While Toremifene poses significant risk to these subsets of people, it may cause little to no effect on you. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns about taking Toremifene, and inform them if you belong/may belong to any of these groups.

Storage

Toremifene should be stored at room temperature, away from any sources of light, heat, or water. Do not freeze Toremifene, as it may change the chemical components or decrease its potency. Storing Toremifene in bathrooms should also be avoided, as those locations often become hot, humid, or wet.

Toremifene should never be stored within the reach of children, pets, or infants. Do not leave it within reach of these individuals, and avoid keeping this drug in easy-to-open containers unless absolutely necessary, or unless you live alone/with adults. Toremifene should not be given to children under any circumstances, nor should it be given to anyone besides the prescription-holder.

This drug has no recreational uses, and should not be taken as such. If you believe someone may be stealing this drug, keep count of how many pills are taken, and move the container somewhere safe. If you are offered Toremifene from anyone else besides a pharmacist, do not accept it. It could be dangerous chemicals, other medications, or placebos.

Do not take this medication longer than necessary. Do not keep extra pills after your prescription period is over, and do not share your medications with others. The drug may have adverse, even deadly effects on someone else, and Toremifene should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.

Expired pills may lose potency/change in their chemical makeup, so keep track of how old your medication is, and avoid taking anything that may be old. If you need to get rid of expired/extra pills, keep them in their marked container or seal them within a plastic bag. Throw them away with the rest of your garbage in an opaque bag to avoid street theft or consumption by animals/children.

If you are concerned about disposal, search you community for medication return programs. Do not give this medication to anyone else, especially anyone without a prescription. While you may have no reaction/mild side effects to the drug, it may be dangerous to someone who has not taken it before.

Summary

Toremifene can be an invaluable medication to anyone suffering from breast cancer, and a useful therapeutic drug when used in tandem with chemotherapy or other forms of cancer treatment. While it may not have the desired effects on every patient, may people have benefited from the effects of Toremifene. The drug's use in cancer trials has been proven to slow and even eliminate the progression of tumor cells, and its response in the field has been positive.

If you experience persistent, painful, or life-threatening side effects while taking Toremifene, it may be a sign the drug is not right for you. Stop taking Toremifene immediately and contact your doctor in these cases. While Toremifene is not guaranteed to work for everyone, the benefits of trying the drug far outweigh those of staying untreated. Many patients are able to take Toremifene without any side effects at all, and others only experience mild discomfort while taking the drug.

Talk to your doctor before beginning your Toremifene prescription, and do not leave out any medications or unlisted factors. Neglecting to mention a possible interaction may increase your risk of side effects and tangential conditions. Be honest with your doctor, and take Toremifene responsibly after the prescription has been issued.

Avoid grapefruit juice and alcohol while taking this drug, as they may interact negatively with Toremifene and cause unwanted side effects. Do not take Toremifene after the conclusion of your treatment, and do not give away the extra pills. Do not take more or less than prescribed while taking Toremifene. Be responsible with how you handle your medications, and do not leave them within reach of people or children who may accidentally take them. Keep your medication away from heat, water, and light.

Not every pharmacy may carry this drug, and there are no generic forms on the market. Call ahead to request your orders, and keep track of when you need to refill your prescription. Missing doses may affect your treatment, and possibly reduce the effectiveness of the drug.

Toremifene may be used to treat conditions that are not listed here, although other uses are rare. Unlisted side effects, interactions, and warnings may have also been omitted from this list, so speak to your personal doctor before beginning any new prescription. While the internet can be a good source to gain additional information, it should not be used as a tell-all guide.

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Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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