Aromatase Inhibitors & carpal tunnel and trigger finger: Anyone?
14 mos of “AI” meds, I’m coping with daily hand-wrist-finger pain. I’m on my 3rd drug, having taken Anastrozole & Aromasin-each for 6 mos and now on Letrezol since January. Any advice to deal with this, besides using hand braces&finger splints and daily exercise? I need to be on this for 5 yrs total and can’t take Tamoxifin. Help!
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Hello @shenriq, I see that joint pain is listed as a side effect of anastrozole, https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/anastrozole-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20061868. I would like to invite @maureenkarras, @mljskeet, @luladavis, @cautiousoptimism, @tinalove, and @cindylb to share their thoughts about the joint pains in regards to AI medications.
@shenriq, if you don't mind sharing, have you noticed a difference since switching to letrezole?
I welcome all information sharing and encourage feedback.
While a link was provided for Anastrozole, I’ve moved away from it and Aromasin, and have been taking Letrozole since January and throughout my experience with AIs, joint pain I has persisted, particularly in my hands & wrists, including a trigger finger. I would welcome info that states and compares Letrozole side effects.
Good news: As of last weekend, it dawned on me that the pain in my fingers, hands & wrists has significantly dissipated. It was a strange realization, given the challenges I’ve endured for more than a year. Three days have passed and I’m continuing to enjoy a more comfortable life. I continue to have a painful trigger finger and carpal tunnel in both hands, but I’m wearing a finger splint, two wrist braces at night, as well, exercising my hands daily.
I have new hope that I can continue on this drug for just short of 4 more years. I am relieved.
Hello! I developed two trigger fingers and De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (severe pain in my wrist tendon). I saw an orthopedic doctor who diagnosed my wrist condition, which my former oncologist poo pooed the idea and said it was not from Anastrozole — for that and other reasons I have found a new oncologist.
The orthopedic doctor suggested I have surgery, but instead I asked about PT in his office. After 8 PT visits I had some relief, but I went off Anastrozole for a month and started on Letrozole. I continued OT for 5-6 weeks, learned exercises to do daily, and my De Quervain’s and trigger finger were 95% better. It’s bern 14 months since I left PT, and I now have occasional slight pain in my wrist, and one finger if I over use it — then I do exercises a few times and I’m good as new. I have never had to wear my brace again!
Wishing you the very best, Pink Sister!
I know this is an old post, but I’d love to weigh in on this topic! I’m a 47 year-old white female, diagnosed with HR+ HER2- Stage 2A breast cancer in August 2021. After a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy, chemo, and radiation, I started taking Anastrozole (along with a monthly injection of Zoladex because I am pre-menopausal). It was great until two months in, when my thumbs began locking. I learned it was called trigger finger, and it got progressively worse quickly, and was painful, but not intolerable. I also experienced joint pain and aches in my legs, but it was also tolerable. When my thumbs got to the point where I had to actually unlock them from a bent position using the other hand to pop them straight, my doc and I decided to take a break from Anastrozole and then try letrozole. My trigger thumb rapidly improved, but immediately returned when I began the letrozole. We then decided to ditch the AIs and go to tamoxifen. Once again, things were fine for two months, until I was walloped with sudden and severe anxiety followed by depression. I am lucky to have never experienced either before, but for the next two months I was absolutely miserable and unrecognizable to my family and friends. I can’t find any medical studies on this, but my brother unearthed a ton of anecdotal evidence that tamoxifen can cause severe anxiety and depression. My doctor gave the ok to quit the tamoxifen, and my symptoms disappeared within a week. I was entirely back to my old self, thank goodness. Interestingly, a friend (only 30 years old) went through the exact same thing when she took tamoxifen a few months after I did. I’d love to see this link between tamoxifen and anxiety/depression studied; I feel the medical community completely ignores this very serious issue, even though it seems awfully common. Since I am at high risk of recurrence, we didn’t want to abandon hormone therapy entirely, so I started the third AI, exemestane. So far it’s going great, no trigger thumb or joint/leg pain yet, although I am just now at the two-month point that seems to be my tipping point. I’m really hoping for the best, especially since my doc recommends ten years of hormone therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence. I will say that I would take trigger finger over the depression and anxiety caused by tamoxifen any day. I am a little worried that if the trigger finger returns and worsens, I will require surgery to fix the problem, but right now I’m just praying the exemestane works without issue! This was a long comment, I know; thanks for reading!
I hope the examestane continues to work for you and you are able to enjoy life as you move through this journey💕
Thank you for asking this question. I also will be starting this medicine compounded. and am looking forward to the response. I just finished the 5 day radiation friday, and had stabbing pain in my chest if I tried to take a deep breath Friday night and Sat. This is Thursday and the pain has gone away , and it was believed to be muscle pain with inflammation in that area. I will be following this post. I had a lipoma growth on my median nerve in the carpal tunnel area, so I had surgery Which might make this a weak area. ?
I read and reread your sharing of your experience. There was so much to respond to and share with you also! Thanks!
I will be off the grid for a couple of days but will be back to you with more thoughts
@mrsmary Could you tell what kind of exercises you do for your finger?
I have had trouble with my finger locking up off and on for a couple of years, but since I started taking anastrozole more of my fingers are locking up. Is this happening to anyone?
I have noticed that occasionally one of my fingers will sort of lock-up and I have to (for lack of a better term)wiggle it a bit to get it moving again. It happened more in the beginning. I’ve been taking anastrozole for almost a year now. I still have joint pain in my hips but that’s not as bad, but I am now taking celebrex couple of times a week. I didn’t want to take it but the pain got too bad especially at night. I hope it gets better for you🙏Let’s hang in there!