• What Is Evista?
Treatment For Osteoporosis
|What Is Evista?
Evista (raloxifene) is a medication marketed by the drug company Eli Lilly. It is one of a new class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). SERMs are designer estrogens that have an effect on bones but do not interfere with the breast or uterus. Evista is only prescribed to women after menopause and has several different uses:
Evista works by making your bones stronger, so they are less likely to fracture (break). As women age, their natural supply of estrogen declines and levels drop rapidly after menopause. Estrogen is instrumental in building healthy bone tissue because it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphates, both essential bone making ingredients. Evista works like a designer estrogen - it cleverly provides estrogen to the bones, so they become stronger but at the same time avoids producing an estrogen effect on the breasts and uterus. This is important because excessive estrogen may be one of the causes of breast cancer and uterine cancer. Studies show that evista can reduce the risk of spinal fractures by 50 percent and fewer women progress from osteopenia to osteoporosis. However it does not appear to prevent any other bone fractures, including hip ones. For this reason, bisphosphonates are still the first drug of choice for osteoporosis. So why take it? Because of its combined effects: it may be a suitable choice if you are high risk for both osteoporosis and breast cancer, but have not developed either disease.
Evista is not approved for the treatment of breast cancer. It is only FDA approved for the prevention of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women at high risk of the disease. Tamoxifen in comparison (which has the benefit of being on the market much longer and has been studied more extensively) is approved both for the prevention and treatment of the disease at all stages and for women of all ages. Like all SERMs, evista has an anti-estrogen effect on the breast. While scientists are still not sure what causes breast cancer, controlling the effects of estrogen in women at high risk of the disease, appears to reduce the risk of the disease developing. One of the major benefits of evista over tamoxifen (and other SERMs) is that it does not stimulate the uterus, so it does not increase the risk of endometrial (uterus) cancer, endometrial hyperplasia or postmenopausal bleeding. It should also be noted that clinical trials show that evista is just as effective as tamoxifen in preventing invasive cancer in women at high risk.
Evista is considered a multi-functional drug that may be beneficial to a specific group of women. Overall, the evidence supports that the risk-benefit ratio of evista is most favorable for women who:
Evista is taken in pill form (60 mg, raloxifene hydrochloride tablet), once a day. It can be taken at any time of the day, regardless of meal times. If you forget to take your pill and it is almost time for the next one, skip the tablet you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to. Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember and continue taking the medicine as normal. Never take 2 pills together to make up for the dose you missed.
As the drug is still relatively new, the long-term effects and recommended length of treatment are not yet known. Your doctor will probably recommend taking it for 5 years.
Common Side Effects
Menopause-like symptoms are a common side effect of hormone therapy. These include:
The brand evista produced by Eli Lilly costs about $140 a month. Generic versions (Ralista) cost about $80 a month. If you do not have insurance coverage, ask your doctor about programs in your area that may be able to help with the cost. Also check Eli Lilly's website, sometimes they offer evista coupons. You should also check the breastcancer.org website - go to the Paying For Your Care Section for advice on financial assistance.
Some insurance companies will cover the cost of evista. If you have health insurance, check with your provider.
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For more advice, see the following:
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