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Topic: Questions about tamoxifen and mental health?

Forum: High Risk for Breast Cancer — Due to family history, genetics, or other factors.

Posted on: Jun 5, 2019 11:58AM

onceabird wrote:

Hello, new here and have a lot of questions, but one in particular. If you don't want to read, skip to "All that said"

Background info:

I had my first mammogram at 28 for cysts in my breast. I have a chronic condition over my whole body where I get cysts in various tissues. I have cysts on my thyroid, one on my brain that was found at 16 when I had a CT due to chronic migraines, and in several other places on my body. At the time I had a needle core biopsy, and it was benign and fine and we moved on.

Fast forward to October 2018, I was almost 34 years old, and the cysts were still there. Because it had been so long, my gyn ordered another mammo. This mammo came back with significant distortion, and in the same day I also got an ultrasound and a stereotactic biopsy on the same day. Because the results were inconclusive and didn't explain the distortion, I was ordered a surgical biopsy.

I had the surgical biopsy in May, and Monday was told that there was ADH in the pathology report. My breast surgeon gave me a series of things I will now have to do, including careful monitoring, physical and diagnostic exams, and of course a visit to the Medical Oncologist. She also mentioned tamoxifen, and informed me about new info about 5mg vs 20mg dosages, their efficacy and lack of side effects compared to the 20mg.

All that said: I have bipolar disorder and depression. How is tamoxifen for your mental health? How is the weight gain issue on tamoxifen? I have hypothyroidism and have a lot of trouble losing weight, and being heavy certainly doesn't help with preventing cancer. Any and all insight is appreciated. Thanks all.

Dx ADH 6/2019 after surgical biopsy, starting 6-month monitoring
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Jun 5, 2019 02:07PM - edited Jun 6, 2019 04:50AM by Salamandra

My impression from my own experience and from reading the boards so far is that it's a lot like birth control pills. Different brands will have different impacts on different women, and there's no way to know how the drug in general or any brand in particular will impact you - except by trying them.

I was hit with terrible fatigue as a side effect. It sounds like it's not too common, but it's not that rare either. I've been trying different brands to see if any one would be better. My mood had been great all along, and then wham, the third brand killed my mood and 'woke up' my depression. On to brand #4, and hoping for the best.

That said, I'm on 20mg, and it seems like lower doses are likely to be much lower impact.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 5, 2019 04:08PM star2017 wrote:

I have not gained weight since I started tamoxifen a year ago. Nor do I think it has affected my moods/mental health. My joints are stiff in the morning, but feel fine most of the day. That’s all I’ve noticed

Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/16/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/28/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/17/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 5, 2019 04:10PM onceabird wrote:

Are you on 20mg or 5mg?

Dx ADH 6/2019 after surgical biopsy, starting 6-month monitoring
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Jun 5, 2019 11:29PM ksusan wrote:

You can see if there are drug interactions between Tamoxifen and your bipolar meds: www.drugs.com . For example, there is a moderate interaction with lithium and tamoxifen, but not with Depakote and tamoxifen.


Mutant uprising quashed. Dx 1/2015, IDC, Right, Stage IIA, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/2015, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Whole-breast Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 6, 2019 05:15AM gb2115 wrote:

I have not noticed any mood differences or significant weight gain. Have been on tamoxifen for 2 years (20 mg). I have gained a couple of pounds in the last month but I have been eating better and would consider it a normal fluctuation. I initially lost 15 or so pounds during treatment and the year after so I wouldn't be surprised if my weight tries to get back to that.


Dx IDC in October 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes. Mammaprint low risk luminal A, Lumpectomy + radiation + tamoxifen. Age 38 at diagnosis.
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Jun 12, 2019 05:41PM - edited Jun 12, 2019 05:48PM by msphil

hello I did gain weight on tamoxifen and joint aches but got thru IT all Praise God. msphil idc stage2 0/3 nodes 3mo chemo adriamycin cytoxin 5fu then 3mo after got married was planning when found lump in shower then 7wks rads and 5yrs on Tamoxifen. Everybody different oh and Lmast wear prothesis. 25yr Survivor this yr.

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