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Why is this medication prescribed?
Raloxifene is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis (condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who have undergone menopause (change of life; end of menstrual periods). Raloxifene is also used to decrease the risk of developing invasive breast cancer (breast cancer that has spread outside of the milk ducts or lobules into the surrounding breast tissue) in women who are at high risk of developing this type of cancer or who have osteoporosis. Raloxifene cannot be used to treat invasive breast cancer or to prevent invasive breast cancer from coming back in women who have already had the condition. Raloxifene also cannot be used to decrease the risk of developing non-invasive breast cancer. Raloxifene is in a class of medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). Raloxifene prevents and treats osteoporosis by mimicking the effects of estrogen (a female hormone produced by the body) to increase the density (thickness) of bone. Raloxifene decreases the risk of developing invasive breast cancer by blocking the effects of estrogen on breast tissue. This may stop the development of tumors that need estrogen to grow.
How should this medicine be used?
Raloxifene comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take raloxifene at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take raloxifene exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take raloxifene even if you feel well. Do not stop taking raloxifene without talking to your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
You should eat and drink plenty of foods and drinks that are rich in calcium and vitamin D while you are taking raloxifene. Your doctor will tell you which foods and drinks are good sources of these nutrients and how many servings you need each day. If you find it difficult to eat enough of these foods or if you have a condition that makes it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients that you eat, tell your doctor. In that case, your doctor can prescribe or recommend a supplement.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Raloxifene may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- hot flashes (more common in the first 6 months of raloxifene therapy)
- leg cramps
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- flu-like syndrome
- joint pain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately.
Raloxifene may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).