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Antidepressants Don't Adversely Affect Tamoxifen Efficacy

No greater risk of breast cancer recurrence seen

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FRIDAY, Dec. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors who take antidepressants while on tamoxifen are not at increased risk for cancer recurrence, according to research published online Dec. 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The study included 16,887 early-stage breast cancer survivors who took tamoxifen for an average of three years. Nearly half of them also took antidepressants.

The researchers found that during a 14-year follow-up, breast cancer returned in more than 17 percent of the women. Recurrence rates were similar in women who took antidepressants and those who did not. No increased risk of recurrence was found, and the finding held up regardless of the type of antidepressant used.

"Given that thousands of breast cancer survivors struggle with depression, sleep disturbance, and other side effects while on tamoxifen, our study should help alleviate any concerns physicians have about prescribing antidepressants to their breast cancer patients to help improve their quality of life," Reina Haque, Ph.D., M.P.H., a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said in a Kaiser news release.

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