Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things that make you go HMMMMM

Lately I have noticed a significant change in my short term memory. It is to the point where I will read one of my sticky note reminders in the kitchen, turn around to go do whatever it is, and forget before I hit the bedroom. Well I was talking to my mom about it and she wondered if maybe I was in peri-menopause, because that is how she was when she was there. I came home and started researching the effects of Tamoxifen on cognition and came across this....


The selective estrogen receptor modulator, Tamoxifen (TAM), is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs for the treatment of breast cancer; however, its effects on the cognition of users have not been adequately studied. Although TAM is an effective anti-estrogen that blocks tumour growth in the breast, it could also influence the activity of other target estrogen sites, including the brain. The exact nature of this interaction is unknown.

A cross-sectional design was used to compare cognitive task performance of two treatment groups: 1) women using TAM for the treatment of early breast cancer (n = 23); and 2) age-matched, healthy women not using TAM (n = 23). All participants were pre-menopausal, and recipients of chemotherapy were excluded from the study.

It was found that TAM users scored significantly worse than controls on tasks of immediate and delayed visual memory, verbal fluency, immediate verbal memory, visuo-spatial ability, and processing speed.

Although limited by the lack of baseline data and pre-morbid intelligence measures, the results of this exploratory study suggest that at least in pre-menopausal women, TAM may exert a widespread negative influence on cognitive abilities.

Implications for Cancer Survivors
Larger, randomized, prospective trials are required to confirm these results; however, TAM use in pre-menopausal breast cancer may be associated with cognitive difficulties. Knowledge and understanding of these complications will be important for professionals in communicating both the benefits and risks of TAM use in breast cancer survivors

I talked to my oncology nurse about this and she said they have never had any patients complain about this. She recommended I bring this up when I go see the immunologist, because it could be related to all the sinus headaches, etc. That being said she thinks the benefit of the Tamoxifen far outweighs forgetfulness, if it is indeed the cause.

I'm not sure I agree. It is horrible feeling like I would forget my head if it weren't attached.

Something to research and think about I guess.


  1. Though I am not taking TAMOXIFEN I do have issues with short term memory. Stupid little things like forgetting the digits of my phone numer my right address. Things that I was going to ask but forgot to.
    I'm on ARIMIDEX and I find it horrendous. The bone & joint pain unbearable. Our choices are so limited What are we supposed to do? Here is the link for your interest in reading


    Take care Alli xoxo

  2. Ugh, Tamxibrain, I hate it! I'm the exact same way Beth - I get up to do something, then I walk 5 feet and have ZERO recollection of what i got up to do. And there are other goofy/scary things I've done because of no memory. No, it's not just that I'm "getting old" - as people like to tell me. Umm, don't think so.

    Anyway, no answers, but I feel your pain....

  3. I have no memory at all either! I understand all too well. I actually stopped taking Tamoxifen a bit ago due to bad side effects... migraines, dizziness, blurred vision... things so severe I was falling and such.
    Best of luck and let me know what you find out. I wouldn't be surprised if Chemo even had something to do with it.

  4. We need to start an I HATE TAMOXIFEN club! It sucks!