The drug Tamoxifen has helped save the lives of countless breast cancer patients. However, doctors have struggled with figuring out the correct dosage for women, as all individuals react differently to it.
Now there may be a simple way to solve this problem. According to BBC News
, research has shown that giving patients cough syrup and taking blood samples to see how they break it down can indicate their tolerance to Tamoxifen. This is because the body handles the drug the same way as the active ingredient in the over-the-counter medication.
"Tamoxifen is prescribed to women for as much as five years, so it is highly important to know beforehand if the therapy is going to be effective," Anne-Joy de Graan, who led the project, told the news outlet. "When it is known that a woman metabolizes tamoxifen poorly, a switch in drugs or an increase in dose can be considered."
The move can help prevent a delay in effective treatment or unnecessary side effects.
According to the National Cancer Institute, Tamoxifen has been used to treat breast cancer in women and men for more than 30 years.