Anyone experience mood swings and nervousness with Anastrozole?

Posted by jc1926 @jc1926, Aug 11 4:44pm

I have been taking anastrozole for only 5 months now. I had a lumpectomy and 20 radiation treatments. Just recently I have been experiencing nervousness and mood swings. Has anyone else had any of these side effects?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Breast Cancer group.

I too have been on anastrozole for 5 months after having undergone lumpectomy and WB radiation last year. I haven't experienced mood SEs, which I had on Tamoxifen, but I have been having terrible lower leg and foot cramps at night plus general insomnia. I saw my surgeon earlier this month and she asked whether I have mood swings and depression, so they must be commonly reported. We also discussed hair and skin thinning as common SEs. I honestly don't know how long I will be able to tolerate an AI. Having felt the loss of Olivia Newton-John, my best wishes to all of us with whatever treatment we choose as best.

REPLY

Thank you so much for replying. I feel like I’m alone with these symptoms, which makes me feel a bit crazy. I am usually a very happy and calm person. This feeling of uneasiness is out of the blue and I have no rational explanation. But knowing that your surgeon asked that question, helps me a lot. I appreciate you.

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When I first had the Bad News Biopsy, I was faced with having to learn a lot, fast, about the breast cancer I had, fast, then make informed treatment decisions. It felt like everything was happening at warp speed. (I had surgery and post-surgery consultations with oncologist(s) and radiologist within 4 weeks of the original mammogram.) I was so focused on putting out the surprise cancer fire, that I didn't even take time to cry that I remember. I was in full solution mode. [My professional life includes designing multi-layered decision strategies and relevant sensitivity analysis. So I treated cancer as another analytical project, which helped a lot.]

After I made treatment decisions and was finally on a calm footing, the emotional consequences of cancer got my attention. I think a lot of us might react this way in order to keep our wits about us and dodge any irrevocable medical choices, and try to eat right and get needed sleep to help the body deal with cancer treatments. Then,
belatedly face the reality of what having had a cancer meant.

While it's certainly possible that the medicine is causing mood issues, could they also be a result of the whole never-wanted experience? Whatever their source, respect what you feel and don't hesitate to get help. Cancer is an existential experience and no one has to face it on sheer grit if things feel too grey. Most oncologists can refer someone to a counselor trained to work with cancer patients if that would help.

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@callalloo

When I first had the Bad News Biopsy, I was faced with having to learn a lot, fast, about the breast cancer I had, fast, then make informed treatment decisions. It felt like everything was happening at warp speed. (I had surgery and post-surgery consultations with oncologist(s) and radiologist within 4 weeks of the original mammogram.) I was so focused on putting out the surprise cancer fire, that I didn't even take time to cry that I remember. I was in full solution mode. [My professional life includes designing multi-layered decision strategies and relevant sensitivity analysis. So I treated cancer as another analytical project, which helped a lot.]

After I made treatment decisions and was finally on a calm footing, the emotional consequences of cancer got my attention. I think a lot of us might react this way in order to keep our wits about us and dodge any irrevocable medical choices, and try to eat right and get needed sleep to help the body deal with cancer treatments. Then,
belatedly face the reality of what having had a cancer meant.

While it's certainly possible that the medicine is causing mood issues, could they also be a result of the whole never-wanted experience? Whatever their source, respect what you feel and don't hesitate to get help. Cancer is an existential experience and no one has to face it on sheer grit if things feel too grey. Most oncologists can refer someone to a counselor trained to work with cancer patients if that would help.

Jump to this post

I too was in full on solution mode suddenly needing to understand what I was facing; the reality of the shocking diagnosis and the quick learning curve needed to make crucial decisions. Intellectual focus is a worthy defense mechanism… I read every piece scientific research and study available over the last 10 years trying to steer my way through benefit and risk options. I even applied to the TAILOR-RT clinical trial for which I ultimately did not qualify ( unrelated to BC reason).
I had a unilateral mastectomy. My ONCOTYPE score indicated no chemotherapy but I was in a gray area regarding radiation and prescribed AI for 5 possibly 10 years ( not gray area).

With ALL this dedicated energy and appointments and surgeries and follow ups I felt myself to be a part of this medical “community”.

Suddenly, the activity dust has settled. The medical “community” with which I was intimately connected is now organized with appointments 4 and 6 months apart. And here I am with my existential awareness of what I have gone through for precisely 6 months and one week, and what I will be existentially concerned with going forward.

For me, the time of processing has arrived. It’s a challenging time and my best advice to myself is to give this process a lot of space to evolve and get any support I may need.

It’s very difficult to answer those casual questions from friends and family, “ how are you doing?” I’m “ fine”! (but I’m not really fine… I have a weird sensation under my arm, my hair is thinning, I’m terrified of my upcoming mammo , I’m not sleeping well, Olivia Newton John just died, I just lost a breast to cancer, etc. etc. )

Anxiety, depression, mood swings? Yes… ALL could be a response to the incredible trauma we have all been through. That said, all angles need consideration including SE of medication. And when “responsive” anxiety, depression and mood swings become intractable professional help would be a good choice.

I have participated in an online breast cancer support group hosted, by the MC, on Monday evening. It’s a very good resource.

This is also a wonderful resource!

REPLY

Yes and yes. I went to talk therapy about 6 months after my reconstruction, 8 months after my double mastectomy. We talked about a lot. Ultimately, with the advice of my PCP and the therapist’s suggestion, I agreed to take Wellbutrin which helped with anxiety, mood swings, and focus. Start with talk therapy. It doesn’t mean you have to take another drug. This is what worked for me because with the reconstruction, as natural and lovely as I look, I never have a day without mild discomfort. But this world is the best for my situation.

REPLY
@callalloo

When I first had the Bad News Biopsy, I was faced with having to learn a lot, fast, about the breast cancer I had, fast, then make informed treatment decisions. It felt like everything was happening at warp speed. (I had surgery and post-surgery consultations with oncologist(s) and radiologist within 4 weeks of the original mammogram.) I was so focused on putting out the surprise cancer fire, that I didn't even take time to cry that I remember. I was in full solution mode. [My professional life includes designing multi-layered decision strategies and relevant sensitivity analysis. So I treated cancer as another analytical project, which helped a lot.]

After I made treatment decisions and was finally on a calm footing, the emotional consequences of cancer got my attention. I think a lot of us might react this way in order to keep our wits about us and dodge any irrevocable medical choices, and try to eat right and get needed sleep to help the body deal with cancer treatments. Then,
belatedly face the reality of what having had a cancer meant.

While it's certainly possible that the medicine is causing mood issues, could they also be a result of the whole never-wanted experience? Whatever their source, respect what you feel and don't hesitate to get help. Cancer is an existential experience and no one has to face it on sheer grit if things feel too grey. Most oncologists can refer someone to a counselor trained to work with cancer patients if that would help.

Jump to this post

That makes a lot of sense. Maybe this is a delayed reaction to the entire experience, a kind of PTSD. Talking to a therapist is certainly a good idea. Thank you so much.

REPLY
@anjalima

I too was in full on solution mode suddenly needing to understand what I was facing; the reality of the shocking diagnosis and the quick learning curve needed to make crucial decisions. Intellectual focus is a worthy defense mechanism… I read every piece scientific research and study available over the last 10 years trying to steer my way through benefit and risk options. I even applied to the TAILOR-RT clinical trial for which I ultimately did not qualify ( unrelated to BC reason).
I had a unilateral mastectomy. My ONCOTYPE score indicated no chemotherapy but I was in a gray area regarding radiation and prescribed AI for 5 possibly 10 years ( not gray area).

With ALL this dedicated energy and appointments and surgeries and follow ups I felt myself to be a part of this medical “community”.

Suddenly, the activity dust has settled. The medical “community” with which I was intimately connected is now organized with appointments 4 and 6 months apart. And here I am with my existential awareness of what I have gone through for precisely 6 months and one week, and what I will be existentially concerned with going forward.

For me, the time of processing has arrived. It’s a challenging time and my best advice to myself is to give this process a lot of space to evolve and get any support I may need.

It’s very difficult to answer those casual questions from friends and family, “ how are you doing?” I’m “ fine”! (but I’m not really fine… I have a weird sensation under my arm, my hair is thinning, I’m terrified of my upcoming mammo , I’m not sleeping well, Olivia Newton John just died, I just lost a breast to cancer, etc. etc. )

Anxiety, depression, mood swings? Yes… ALL could be a response to the incredible trauma we have all been through. That said, all angles need consideration including SE of medication. And when “responsive” anxiety, depression and mood swings become intractable professional help would be a good choice.

I have participated in an online breast cancer support group hosted, by the MC, on Monday evening. It’s a very good resource.

This is also a wonderful resource!

Jump to this post

This is a wonderful resource. I’m finding just from the responses on this forum that I am feeling a lot better. Everything feels better knowing the WHY part. I have cried reading the replies from you amazing women, but it’s a healing cry of relief. THANK YOU.

REPLY
@lcr2017

Yes and yes. I went to talk therapy about 6 months after my reconstruction, 8 months after my double mastectomy. We talked about a lot. Ultimately, with the advice of my PCP and the therapist’s suggestion, I agreed to take Wellbutrin which helped with anxiety, mood swings, and focus. Start with talk therapy. It doesn’t mean you have to take another drug. This is what worked for me because with the reconstruction, as natural and lovely as I look, I never have a day without mild discomfort. But this world is the best for my situation.

Jump to this post

God bless you. Talk therapy sounds like a good start for me. Just talking here with you lovely women is already helping.

REPLY

Hi @jc1926, please note that I expanded the title of your discussion to be specific to the question you wished to ask. There are many discussions about anastrozole and aromotase inhibitors in the Breast Cancer group that I wanted to distinguish this one from the others.

You may also be interested in this related discussion::
– Sadness: Due to Anastrozole or Just Dealing With Breast Cancer? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sadness-due-to-anastrozole-or-just-dealing-with-breast-cancer

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@colleenyoung

Hi @jc1926, please note that I expanded the title of your discussion to be specific to the question you wished to ask. There are many discussions about anastrozole and aromotase inhibitors in the Breast Cancer group that I wanted to distinguish this one from the others.

You may also be interested in this related discussion::
– Sadness: Due to Anastrozole or Just Dealing With Breast Cancer? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sadness-due-to-anastrozole-or-just-dealing-with-breast-cancer

Jump to this post

Thank you so much. It does help to have these feelings validated. Bless you.

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Hi. I have already responded, but this morning, I read this on Breastcacer.org
https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment-side-effects/anxiety
Also, please note that I said that I am taking Wellbutrin and this article says that this medication interferes with Tamoxifen. I did not know that. I was on anastozole.

REPLY
@lcr2017

Hi. I have already responded, but this morning, I read this on Breastcacer.org
https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment-side-effects/anxiety
Also, please note that I said that I am taking Wellbutrin and this article says that this medication interferes with Tamoxifen. I did not know that. I was on anastozole.

Jump to this post

Thank you. I just finished reading the article you posted. It was very helpful. Much appreciated.

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