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Effects of Raloxifene

Raloxifene has been evaluated in several studies for various uses.
Raloxifene has been evaluated in studies of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. In these studies, raloxifene (along with calcium and vitamin D) reduced the risk of vertebral fractures (broken spinal bones) by up to 41 percent, compared to taking just calcium and vitamin D. Raloxifene also increased bone mineral density (a measure of the strength of bones) in the spine, hip, and wrist.
The medication can also be used to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. In studies, women taking the drug (along with calcium) showed increased bone mineral density, while those taking just calcium actually experienced bone loss.
Breast Cancer
Several studies have evaluated raloxifene for breast cancer prevention. In one four-year study on raloxifene for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, researchers documented any cases of breast cancer to make sure the medication did not increase this risk. Instead, it was found that the drug reduced the risk of breast cancer by up to 62 percent. This beneficial effect of raloxifene has been documented in other studies as well.
In addition to preventing breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, raloxifene has been shown to prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women without osteoporosis who are at high risk for breast cancer. In one study, raloxifene reduced the risk of breast cancer by up to 44 percent. Another study (the "STAR trial") showed that raloxifene and tamoxifen (Nolvadex®), an older medication used to prevent breast cancer, were similarly effective, although raloxifene seemed to have a lower risk of several important side effects (such as uterine cancer).
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