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Br J Cancer. 2008 Aug 19;99(4):616-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604533. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

Tamoxifen's protection against breast cancer recurrence is not reduced by concurrent use of the SSRI citalopram.

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Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Tamoxifen remains an important adjuvant therapy to reduce the rate of breast cancer recurrence among patients with oestrogen-receptor-positive tumours. Cytochrome P-450 2D6 metabolizes tamoxifen to metabolites that more readily bind the oestrogen receptor. This enzyme also metabolizes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), so these widely used drugs - when taken concurrently - may reduce tamoxifen's prevention of breast cancer recurrence. We studied citalopram use in 184 cases of breast cancer recurrence and 184 matched controls without recurrence after equivalent follow-up. Cases and controls were nested in a population of female residents of Northern Denmark with stages I-III oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer 1985-2001 and who took tamoxifen for 1, 2, or most often for 5 years. We ascertained prescription histories by linking participants' central personal registry numbers to prescription databases from the National Health Service. Seventeen cases (9%) and 21 controls (11%) received at least one prescription for the SSRI citalopram while taking tamoxifen (adjusted conditional odds ratio=0.85, 95% confidence interval=0.42, 1.7). We also observed no reduction of tamoxifen effectiveness among regular citalopram users (>or=30% overlap with tamoxifen use). These results suggest that concurrent use of citalopram does not reduce tamoxifen's prevention of breast cancer recurrence.

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