Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

FDA Panel OKs Evista for Breast Cancer

Experts Recommend the Osteoporosis Drug for Use in Preventing Breast Cancer
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 24, 2007 -- An expert panel gave its OK for expanded use of the osteoporosis drug Evista Tuesday, telling the FDA that the drug appears effective in preventing some breast cancer.

If the agency follows the panel's advice, it would clear the way for the drug, also called raloxifene, to be legally sold as a cancer prevention agent to millions of women.

It would also position the drug as an alternative to the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen, which has long been used to help fight breast cancer's return. In 1998, the FDA approved tamoxifen for use by women who hadn't had breast cancer but were at high risk of developing the disease.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, and about 40,500 American women will die from breast cancer in 2007, according to the American Cancer Society. About 13% of women are estimated to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"Postmenopausal women at high risk for invasive breast cancer, I think now should have a choice," says George Sledge, MD, a professor of medicine at Indiana University. Sledge is also a consultant for Eli Lilly & Co, the maker of Evista.

Experts voted 10-4, with one abstaining, to recommend that Lilly be allowed to market Evista's ability to cut the likelihood of breast cancer in postmenopausal women at high risk for tumors. A company study showed that raloxifene and tamoxifen are equally effective at reducing the risk of cancer in those women.

"I do believe raloxifene is effective in reducing breast cancer," says panelist Otis Brawley, MD, a professor of oncology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Close Decision

The panel voted 8 to 6, with one abstention, on whether Lilly should be allowed to promote Evista's possible cancer-fighting abilities to all postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Three studies filed by the company all showed that women who took Evista for up to five years developed fewer invasive breast cancers than women who took a placebo. But women who took the drug also had a higher risk of serious blood clots and fatal stroke.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow