The National Cancer Institute is recommending that doctors limit use of the drug tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer to only five years. A study showed there was no benefit from longer use.
The federal agency issued a clinical alert Thursday to 22,000 cancer doctors.
Tamoxifen, sold under the name Nolvadex, is prescribed as additional therapy after breast cancer surgery for women diagnosed with early stage disease.
Though tamoxifen use gives a clear reduction in breast cancer recurrence, it does increase slightly the risk of uterine cancer. Experts believe this slightly added risk, however, is outweighed by tamoxifen’s benefits.