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Popular Breast Cancer Drug Used with Certain Antidepressants Puts New Jersey Women at Risk
Date:7/30/2009

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A new analysis finds that women in New Jersey who take the breast cancer drug tamoxifen in conjunction with certain popular antidepressants may be at a higher risk for a breast cancer recurrence.

In May, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) and Indiana University School of Medicine released a study revealing that women using tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer who also use certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), for example Prozac(R) (fluoxetine), Paxil(R) (paroxetine) and Zoloft(R) (sertraline), have up to twice the chance of having a recurrence of the disease.

In a separate New Jersey-specific analysis, Medco found that among nearly 2,000 tamoxifen patients in the state during 2008, 12 percent were also taking SSRIs, including those that could put them in the at-risk population.

"We've been aware that certain antidepressants, known as CYP2D6 inhibitor drugs, block the activation of tamoxifen chemically, but this evidence shows that these drugs are putting women in New Jersey and across the nation at a much higher risk for recurrent breast cancer," said Dr. Milayna Subar, National Practice Leader for Medco's Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center located at Medco's Willingboro, N. J. pharmacy. "Women taking tamoxifen along with an SSRI should speak with their doctor immediately to discuss modifications to their medication regimen to ensure they are getting the full benefit of their tamoxifen therapy."

Approximately 500,000 women take tamoxifen in the U.S., with 80,000 new patients starting on the treatment annually. Nearly 30 percent of women taking tamoxifen also use an antidepressant. Based on estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Jersey is among the states
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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