Taking Evista for Osteoporosis

If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia or you're past menopause and at a high risk for invasive breast cancer, your healthcare provider may prescribe Evista (raloxifene).

Manufactured by the Eli Lilly Corporation, Evista increases the density of your bones. It does this by mimicking the effects of estrogen, a hormone that, among other things, builds up bone tissue. And for invasive breast cancer prevention, Evista blocks the effect of estrogen on breast tissue since too much estrogen in the body can increase your risk for this disease.

Evista was developed for postmenopausal womenwhich means if you're pregnant, nursing, or you're still able to become pregnant, it's best to talk to your healthcare provider about whether this drug is right for you.

Doctor talking with older woman and showing her something on a model skeleton
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

Medication Class

Evista is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). SERMs are synthetic molecules that interfere with sites in your body's tissues called receptors that normally receive estrogen molecules. Depending on the tissue, SERMs can either block or enhance estrogen effects.

Side Effects

SERMs, including Evista, can affect you in unwanted ways, as well. While SERMs are able to mimic estrogen in order to help develop more bone tissue or block the effects of estrogen on breast tissue to help prevent invasive breast cancer, taking them can also lead to leg cramps, hot flashes, headaches, dizziness, joint pain, vomiting, and sinus problems.

Serious side effects are possible, as well. If you experience any of the following, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, for example, hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat
  • Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Headache, confusion, problems with your vision, speech, or balance
  • Chest pain, cough, wheezing, rapid breathing and/or fast heart rate
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Flulike symptoms, such as fever, chills, sore throat, and body aches
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Breast pain or tenderness, or a lump in your breast
  • Painful urination, including a burning sensation
  • Severe lower-back pain

Drug Interactions

Before you start Evista, it is very important to tell your healthcare provider about any drugs you're already taking. The reason is that some drugs don't mix with Evista, for example, Prevalite or Questran (cholestyramine), which are cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Blood thinners, such Coumadin (warfarin) may present a problem, as well. Your healthcare provider can order a test that checks for prothrombin (a plasma protein produced by the liver) to be sure the two drugs in combination will be safe for you.

Also, Eli Lilly advises you not to take Evista if you're on estrogen therapy that is delivered via a pill, patch, or by injection.

Other drugs that may interact with Evista include Valium (diazepam), Proglycem (diazoxide), and Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen).

Certain medical conditions and lifestyle habits also don't mix well with Evista. First and foremost, if you have an allergy to raloxifene, the drug in Evista, you should not take Evista.

The same is true if you smoke, you've had a blood clot, you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or liver disease. Also do not take if you’ve had breast cancer or strokes, even transient ischemic strokes (TIAs), which are brief episodes of the brain not getting enough blood.

Note that the above lists of drugs, conditions, and lifestyle habits are incomplete. Speak with your healthcare provider to get all the information.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Medications and Drugs. Emedicine.

  • RxList. Clinical Pharmacology - Absorption 12.08.04.

  • RxList. Clinical Pharmacology - Mechanism of Action 12.08.04.

  • RxList. Side Effects 12.08.04.

By Anne Asher, CPT
Anne Asher, ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, and orthopedic exercise specialist, is a back and neck pain expert.