Do I Need to Take Calcium Supplements with Evista?

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A question from a reader: I take Evista (60 mg) once a day and an over-the-counter calcium supplement twice a day (600 mg each dose). Is it necessary to take the supplements, or is using them a case of overkill? (I’m 67 years old.)


Unless your diet is rich in calcium, calcium and vitamin D supplements are recommended to get the maximum benefit from Evista (Raloxifene).

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adults 50 and older need 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

The preferred source of calcium is calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, tofu, certain green vegetables and foods that have been fortified with calcium.

What is Evista?

Evista is a type of prescription medicine called a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis for women after menopause.

When you go through menopause, your body produces less estrogen, which, in some women, can cause the bones to get thinner and weaker. Evista works by helping to make your bones stronger and less likely to break. It helps prevent osteoporosis by building bone and stopping the thinning of bone that can occur after menopause.

Does Evista Prevent Breast Cancer?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if you have osteoporosis or are at high risk for breast cancer, Evista can be used to lower your chances of getting invasive breast cancer.

Although Evista will not totally get rid of your risk of getting breast cancer, your doctor can estimate your chances by finding out about your risk factors, including your age, family history of breast cancer (in your mother, sister, or daughter), and history of any breast biopsy, especially an abnormal biopsy.

You and your doctor can then determine if the benefits of taking Evista outweigh the medication’s risks.

What Are the Risks of Taking Evista?

In some women, serious side effects can occur while taking Evista, including blood clots and stroke.

An increased risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism) has been reported with Evista.

If you have or have had blood clots in your legs or lungs, you should not take Evista. Being still for a long time (such as sitting still during a long car or airplane trip, or being in bed after surgery) can increase your risk of blood clots.

If you have had a heart attack or are at risk for a heart attack, you may have an increased risk of dying from stroke if you take Evista.

If you are currently taking Evista, stop taking it and call your doctor if you have:

  • leg pain or a feeling of warmth in your lower leg (calf)
  • swelling of your legs, hands, or feet
  • sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, or blood when you cough
  • sudden change in your vision, such as loss of vision or blurred vision

Where Can I Get More Information About Evista?

To learn more about Evista, read the Evista medication guide that you should be given when you fill your initial prescription and each time you get a refill. If you do not get a medication guide, ask your pharmacist to print one for you. You can also find the guide online at the Eli Lilly and Company website (PDF).

In addition to warnings about Evista from the FDA, the medication guide also informs you about side effects and drug interactions.

If you have any questions about using Evista, talk to your doctor.

More Information About Osteoporosis:

  • National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) – the website of the NOF provides excellent information for consumers about the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, including safety tips on how to prevent fractures.
  • Osteoporosis – an in-depth, illustrated report about osteoporosis from the Health Encyclopedia.

Information from Dr. Mike About Calcium:

FDA Approves New Uses for Evista. FDA News Release. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Evista: Highlights of Prescribing Information. Official FDA Drug label. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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