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

with the highest breast cancer incidence and death rate in the country.

The study by Medco and Indiana University School of Medicine that was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). It was the largest study to-date looking at how these drugs impact breast cancer recurrence rates when taken with tamoxifen.

Antidepressants are often prescribed when women receiving tamoxifen are depressed, or to treat hot flashes -- a common side effect of the breast cancer drug. Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft are among a group of antidepressant drugs known as CYP2D6 inhibitors. These drugs prevent the CYP2D6 enzyme from working properly, and cause less of the active form of tamoxifen, called endoxifen, from being produced, making the drug less effective at preventing breast cancer. Women taking tamoxifen along with certain SSRIs have a 2-fold increased risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to women not taking these drugs together.

Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen is one of the oldest and most widely used treatments for reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence among women with estrogen-dependent tumors. The drug works by blocking the estrogen receptors in the breast cells and can reduce the risk of a breast cancer recurrence by up to 50 percent. It's the only anti-estrogen available for prevention of breast cancer recurrence in pre-menopausal women and is one of several anti-estrogens used to treat post-menopausal breast cancer patients.

Medco Therapeutic Resource Center(R) in Willingboro, N.J.

Willingboro, New Jersey is home to the world's largest automated pharmacy and is the current site of the Medco Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC) for oncology patients. Medco's TRCs focus on the specialized treatment of patients with chronic and complex conditions, including centers for c
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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