What Is Raloxifene Used For?
Raloxifene is used for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. The drug can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, even those without osteoporosis. As a SERM, raloxifene has both estrogenic and anti-estrogen effects in the body, which is why it can be used for two different conditions. The drug is not approved for use in children, and there are no off-label raloxifene uses that are universally accepted.
What Is Raloxifene Used For? -- An OverviewRaloxifene hydrochloride (Evista®) is a prescription medication that is part of a group of medications known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS). It is approved for the following uses:
- Treating or preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
- Lowering the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at high risk for breast cancer or in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Why Is Raloxifene Used for Osteoporosis?Osteoporosis, which means "porous bone," is a disease characterized by low bone mass (bone thinning) that leads to fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Men as well as women are affected by this condition. Fortunately, osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented and treated.
Common causes of osteoporosis include:
- Age-related bone loss
- Alcohol abuse
- Long-term corticosteroid use
- Certain diseases.
Race and ethnicity may play a role in developing osteoporosis as well, but more research is needed to determine the connection.
Often, osteoporosis treatment is not started until a bone is broken, as there are usually no symptoms. However, treatment may be started earlier if the disease is detected using a test (see Diagnosing Osteoporosis). In fact, some osteoporosis medications (including raloxifene) can be used for osteoporosis prevention in postmenopausal women, especially those who are at high risk for developing it (see Risk Factors for Osteoporosis). The drug can also be used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.