Raloxifene is an osteoporosis medication prescribed to help strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of breaking a bone. It is available as a daily tablet.

Raloxifene is part of a group of treatments called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). SERMs mimic the effect the hormone oestrogen has on your bone. It helps to keep your bones strong.

Raloxifene doesn't reduce the pain caused by broken bones. But don't worry - if you're experiencing pain after breaking a bone, there are medications and treatments for pain that can help you.

Side effects

Known side effects include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Swollen hands, feet and ankles
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Leg cramps

It’s unlikely you’ll experience any side effects. But if you do, they shouldn't last for long.

As research progresses, the list of known side effects may change. You can find more information on each side effect and how to reduce the symptoms in the raloxifene fact sheet.

You may have seen other symptoms and side effects in your patient information leaflet. These side effects are listed because they were reported by patients in research trials, but it’s unclear if they were directly caused by raloxifene. They were also reported by patients taking the placebo (dummy treatment).

Who should take raloxifene?

Raloxifene is prescribed for postmenopausal women.

Raloxifene doesn't suit everyone. It may not be the best treatment for you if:

  • you're being treated for breast cancer
  • you're at risk of blood clots
  • you have raised levels of triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood)
  • you're pregnant or are breast feeding
  • you have liver disease.

If you're prescribed raloxifene

Be informed

Talk to your doctor about your medication, its side-effects and any risks. You can read the information on this page and in your patient information leaflet, so you know what to expect.

Our specialist nurse Helpline is here for you, if you have any questions or concerns.

When to take it

Raloxifene can be taken at any time, with or without food.

How long to take it

Raloxifene is generally prescribed long term, so you need to be happy it is the right option for you.

To get the full benefits, raloxifene should be taken regularly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.

You should have regular treatment reviews to check your treatment is still appropriate and isn’t causing unwanted side effects.

If you miss a dose

Missing the odd dose is unlikely to affect your overall bone health, but you should try to avoid it.

If you continually forget or struggle to take your medication, speak to your doctor about alternative treatment options. There may be something that suits you better.

If you experience side effects

It's perfectly natural to be concerned by side effects although, in most cases, they do pass.

The best thing to do is speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They can assess if there's a better treatment for you. They can also help you work out whether raloxifene is causing the symptoms, or if something else is the cause, such as another medication.

Health risks

Deep vein thrombosis is associated with raloxifene, affecting between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people who take it.

If you are prescribed raloxifene, your doctor has decided the benefit of taking the treatment outweighs any risks.

It's perfectly natural to feel concerned and unsure. Our specialist nurses are here for you, if you need to talk through your concerns and find out more about your risk.

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0808 800 0035

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