Tamoxifen and alcohol
What is the relationship between Tamoxifen and alcohol? Let’s have a discussion on each separately. Alcohol can be in the form of beer, wine, or liquor, which contains ethanol in different percentage. Alcohol consumption is highly discouraged, in some countries it’s an offense to sell it to a person under the age of 18 years. But why do people drink spirits?  

Some Reasons Why People Drink

  • Stress –some individuals take it to relieve stress from life, such as relationships, money school, and work. The irony of this is that people end up with complicated problems such as alcoholism and make the problems they are stressed out for worse.
  • Peer pressure – people are social beings and tend to drink if the surrounding people are drinking just to fit in the group; the pressure may be direct or indirect. One may feel obliged to take just a sip to please the peers. Direct peer pressure may be difficult to withstand when your friends are encouraging you to drink just a glass, for a youth, it’s even harder as one may be ridiculed and termed as a coward for not drinking. However, it’s important to be firm and stand by your decision; true friends must respect your stand if you are against drinking.
  • Fun – being drunk makes one feel happy and drinking with friends is more fun. In social functions such as parties, night clubs, more people end up drinking in the name of having fun. What they forget is that they end up harming their bodies and feeling drowsy as well as down since alcohol is a depressant.
  • Preference – some people drink because they enjoy its taste. When they feel thirsty, they go for booze rather than other beverages like soda, iced tea, and water.
  • Accessibility – another reason people drink is because it’s available and affordable

Is Drinking Booze Bad?

  The best thing is to learn the damage alcohol can do to a person and you will be able to determine if the risks outweigh the benefits or vice versa. Spirits consumption can make a person prone to other diseases such as breast cancer. Bacteria found in the colon, as well as the rectum, may change alcohol into a large quantity of acetaldehyde (it’s a byproduct produced when alcohol is broken down in the liver and it's more toxic); this may eventually lead to genetic mutations and cause cancerous cells to develop. Alcohol consumption increases estrogen hormone in the body. Some medics believe that alcohol increases the risk of developing estrogen-sensitive cancers. Apart from estrogen connection, it can lead to cancer; this applies to wine, hard liquor or beer, all these contain ethanol no matter the form.  

What is Tamoxifen?

  It’s a prescription drug in the form of a tablet or a solution approved to treat breast cancer in men and women, although the health care provider may approve the drug for a different condition. Some breast cancer depends on estrogen hormone to develop and spread as earlier mentioned. Estrogen hormone attaches to estrogen receptors and on the cancer cells, leading to changes in the cells that leads to faster growth of breast cancer. Breast cancers, which are fueled by estrogen, are known as estrogen receptor positive cancers.   The medication blocks estrogen receptors, hence blocking the effects of estrogen hormone on the cancer cells. Breast cancer cells are starved, the tumors shrinks and the growth of breast cancer is slowed or stopped. The drug is also effective in preventing cancer from spreading to other body parts and lowers the risk of getting cancer in the other breast. It also blocks estrogen from binding to non-cancerous cells; this lowers the number of cells that may become cancerous.   The dose of the drug ranges from one patient to another. However, the starting dosage is 20 mg taken once daily. The doctor may put a person on the drug for three to ten years. According to research, taking the drug for ten years minimizes the risk even more. Furthermore, it minimizes the occurrence of fractures of the hips, wrist, as well as the spine from bone thinning. It’s a medication that has been effective in preventing or delaying the occurrence of breast cancers for people who are at risk.  

Tamoxifen and Alcohol

  What happens when a patient takes the two together? The interaction between Tamoxifen and alcohol will occur. Drinking while on the drug will lower the effectiveness of the medicine and increase the occurrence of more severe side effects, for example:
  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke 
Patients on the therapy may encounter dizziness and drinking firewater may make it worse, even in smaller quantity. Please consider this, you are taking the medicine to either prevent breast cancer if you are at risk due to family history (being at risk is beyond your control); or to prevent it from reoccurring after chemo, radiotherapy or surgery. Alcohol raises estrogen hormone, which supports cancer to spread at a faster rate, yet the medicine is used to fight breast cancer. This means you are taking the Tamoxifen to manage cancer, but you are helping breast cancer to grow and spread by drinking alcohol (which is within your control).   Is drinking a small quantity of alcohol safe? The best course of action to take is to stop taking it. Well, you may drink occasionally and be at a low risk of being faced with troublesome side effects. But remember the effectiveness of the drug is interfered with. The best course of action is to quit alcohol consumption for the sake of your health and for the drug to work as expected. The interaction can become fatal and may require medical intervention. Dizziness can make a person fall and result in a serious injury.   Apart from putting a patient at risk of cancer and interacting with Tamoxifen, spirits may lead to serious health and social issues. Some people are addicted to it, and its consumption becomes heavier with time. Addicts who stop drinking suddenly may develop physical withdrawal symptoms like:
  • Tremors 
  • Confusion 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures 
In some patients, this may be life threatening. Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that addicts shouldn’t quit drinking; it means they need to seek professional help about the safest way to quit smoking. It’s advisable to inform the health care provider that one is a heavy drinker before one start taking the medication.   If a heavy drinker doesn’t stop drinking, over time one will encounter inflammation and cirrhosis on the liver leading to liver failure. Also, excessive drinking may damage the pancreas and the brain, raise blood pressure, increase the chance of stroke and heart attack.  

In Conclusion

  If you are prone to getting breast cancer or have it already or you are obese or overweight and on the medication, do away with alcohol. Nonetheless, exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables as well as drinking plenty of water to prevent developing or reoccurrence of breast cancer.