15 doctors weighed in:
Is it ever recommended to "take a break" from the 5 years of tamoxifen if it might be causing depression?
15 doctors weighed in

Dr. Michael Thompson
Internal Medicine - Hematology & Oncology
5 doctors agree
In brief: 2 issues
I think there are 2 issues.
1) optimal breast cancer adjuvant hormone treatment. At 5 yrs of tam it might (if post menopausal) be a good time to switch to an aromatase inhibitor (ai) or the absolute benefit of >5yrs of tam or ai may be limited (depends on cancer characteristics). 2) is it depression or something else. If depression is it from tam or ?. It could be that counseling +/- rx is needed.

In brief: 2 issues
I think there are 2 issues.
1) optimal breast cancer adjuvant hormone treatment. At 5 yrs of tam it might (if post menopausal) be a good time to switch to an aromatase inhibitor (ai) or the absolute benefit of >5yrs of tam or ai may be limited (depends on cancer characteristics). 2) is it depression or something else. If depression is it from tam or ?. It could be that counseling +/- rx is needed.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Dr. Michael Thompson
Thank
Dr. Devon Webster
Internal Medicine - Oncology
5 doctors agree
In brief: Yes, or...
Another option is to add an anti-depressant medication.
Some anti-depressants interfere with tamoxifen, so make sure your doctor tries you on one that doesn't. Although i usually like to try other approaches before adding medication, it's important you stay on tamoxifen. The tamoxifen alternatives are just as likely to cause depression, so treating your depression might be best.

In brief: Yes, or...
Another option is to add an anti-depressant medication.
Some anti-depressants interfere with tamoxifen, so make sure your doctor tries you on one that doesn't. Although i usually like to try other approaches before adding medication, it's important you stay on tamoxifen. The tamoxifen alternatives are just as likely to cause depression, so treating your depression might be best.
Dr. Devon Webster
Dr. Devon Webster
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Sean Canale
Just be careful when choosing an antidepressant. Many SSRIs interact with the CYP2D6 pathway of tamoxifen metabolism and may affect its efficacy. Effexor is probably the most studied safe option.
Dr. Stephen Noga
Internal Medicine - Oncology
4 doctors agree
In brief: Possibly switch drug
I agree with the prior answer. In some cases, after a couple of years, if depression or other problem still bad with treatment, a switch to a different class of anti-hormonal agent may help without loosing the benefit.

In brief: Possibly switch drug
I agree with the prior answer. In some cases, after a couple of years, if depression or other problem still bad with treatment, a switch to a different class of anti-hormonal agent may help without loosing the benefit.
Dr. Stephen Noga
Dr. Stephen Noga
Thank
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Internal Medicine
3 doctors agree
In brief: No
Depression as a side effect can be easily and successfully treated.
A breast cancer recurrence is a lot tougher to deal with...

In brief: No
Depression as a side effect can be easily and successfully treated.
A breast cancer recurrence is a lot tougher to deal with...
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Dr. Luis Villaplana
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Horacio Capote
I agree with Dr. Villaplana. What's more, if one has not succumbed to depression after 5 years of any medication, it is unlikely to happen at all.
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Board Certified, Neurology
48 years in practice
55M people helped
Continue
107,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors