SERMs

Raloxifene (Evista®) is from a family of drugs called SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators).

How does raloxifene work?

During their reproductive years, women produce significant amounts of estrogen in their body. Estrogen helps to build and maintain bone density. During menopause, a woman’s estrogen level decreases as her ovaries cease to function and this leads to a loss in bone density. In some women, this loss in bone density is significant enough to cause osteoporosis.

Although SERMs are non-hormonal, they act like the hormone estrogen in some parts of the body, such as the bones. In other parts of the body, such as the uterus and breast, they block the effects of estrogen.

How effective is it?

Raloxifene increases bone density and prevents fractures of the spine.

Who can take it?

It is used for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

How is it taken?

One 60 mg tablet is taken each day, preferably at the same time.

Are there side effects?

Raloxifene may increase hot flashes. There is also an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots), similar to that for women using Hormone Replacement Therapy.