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Fulvestrant

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking fulvestrant if you have:
 
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Not gone through menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Fulvestrant to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
 

How Does It Work?

Fulvestrant is a hormone treatment for breast cancer. It works in two ways. First, it works by binding to and blocking estrogen receptors. When fulvestrant binds to an estrogen receptor, it blocks estrogen hormones from binding to that receptor. Essentially, fulvestrant competes with the body's natural estrogen. However, unlike estrogen, the drug does not encourage breast cancer growth. Secondly, fulvestrant decreases the amount of estrogen receptors on the cells, which also reduces the effect of estrogen on breast cancer.
 
Many breast cancers are sensitive to the estrogen hormone, meaning that the tumor grows with the help of estrogen. When a tumor is sensitive to estrogen, it has receptors on the outer surface of its cells, into which estrogen fits like a key opening a lock. When this connection is made, the cancer grows. Breast cancers that have estrogen (and/or progesterone) receptors are known as hormone receptor-positive tumors.
 
By decreasing the effects of estrogen, fulvestrant can help decrease the growth of these breast cancers. This type of breast cancer treatment is known as hormonal therapy (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment).
 
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