Chemocare.com

Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Fareston ®



Generic name:  Toremifene

Chemocare.com uses generic names in all descriptions of drugs. Fareston is the trade name for Toremifene. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Fareston when referring to the generic drug name Toremifene.

Drug type:  Fareston is a hormone therapy.  It is classified as an estrogen receptor antagonist or "anti-estrogen."  (For more detail, see "How this drug works" section below).

What this drug is used for:

  • Toremifene is used to treat metastatic (spread) breast cancer in women who are postmenopausal (stopped having menstrual periods) and whose tumors are estrogen receptor positive.

Note:  If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.

How this drug is given:

  • Toremifene is a pill, taken by mouth.
  • Toremifene should be taken with a full glass of water, at about the same time each day. If you miss a dose, do not take a double dose the next day.
  • Toremifene may be taken with or without food.
  • The amount of toremifene that you will receive depends on many factors, including  your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated.  Your doctor will determine your dose and how long you should take this medication.

Side effects:
Important things to remember about the side effects of toremifene:

  • Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
  • Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration. 
  • Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
  • There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking toremifene:

  • Hot flashes (see sexuality)
  • Sweating (see skin reactions)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Vaginal discharge

These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%) of patients receiving toremifene:

  • Pain or discomfort (this may happen initially, especially in people with breast cancer that has spread to the bone.
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling (particularly of the feet, ankles or hands)
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in mood (see depression)

A rare, but serious side effect of toremifene is blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus.  You should seek emergency help and notify your health care provider immediately if you develop sudden chest pain and shortness of breath.  Notify your health care provider within 24 hours if you notice that one leg is swollen, red, painful and/or warm to touch and the other is not.

Your fertility, meaning your ability to conceive or father a child, may be affected by toremifene.  Please discuss this issue with your health care provider.

Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here.  However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

When to contact your doctor or health care provider:

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden shortness of breath and/or chest pain

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.  Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other
  • New breast lumps
  • Excessive vaginal discharge or bleeding, menstrual (period) pain or irregularities
  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Depression (interfering with your ability to carry on your regular activities)
  • Changes in vision

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Precautions: 

  • Before starting toremifene treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).   Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
  • Let your health care professional know if you have ever had a blood clot that required medical treatment.
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment.  Pregnancy category D (toremifene may be hazardous to the fetus.  Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential hazard to the fetus).
  • For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking toremifene. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
  • Do not breast feed while taking this medication.

Self-care tips:

  • This medication causes little nausea.  But if you should experience nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small frequent meals.  Sucking on lozenges and chewing gum may also help.
  • You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the drug is known.
  • If you are experiencing hot flashes, wearing light clothing, staying in a cool environment, and putting cool cloths on your head may reduce symptoms. Consult you health care provider if these worsen, or become intolerable.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprophen may help relieve discomfort from fever, headache and/or generalized aches and pains.  However, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking it.
  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely.  You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Maintain good nutrition.
  • If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team.  They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.

Monitoring and testing:

You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking toremifene, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy.  Periodic blood work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor.   

Women will need a gynecologic (GYN) examination before therapy, and during therapy, at regular intervals.  Discuss the appropriate schedule with your health care provider.   

How this drug works:

Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by glands in the body, which enter the bloodstream and cause effects in other tissues.  For example, the hormone testosterone, made in the testicles and is responsible for male characteristics such as deepening voice and increased body hair.  The use of hormone therapy to treat cancer is based on the observation that receptors for specific hormones that are needed for cell growth are on the surface of some tumor cells.  Hormone therapy can work by stopping the production of a certain hormone, blocking hormone receptors, or substituting chemically similar agents for the active hormone, which cannot be used by the tumor cell.  The different types of hormone therapies are categorized by their function and/or the type of hormone that is affected.

Toremifene is an antiestrogen.  Antiestrogens bind to estrogen receptor site on cancer cells thus blocking estrogen from going into the cancer cell.  This interferes with cell growth and eventually leads to cell death. The following are antiestrogen medications.

  • tamoxifen, toremifene

Note:  We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.