Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole

Posted by tinalove @tinalove, Jan 31, 2016

I completed all treatments for breast cancer but now I am supposed to take hormone blocker, named anastrozole. im concerned about the side effects. Has anyone here taken it and did anyone have hair loss?

@cautiousoptimism

I have been taking arimidex for 8 months since dx of lobular carcinoma. I have many side effects, including hair thinning. Has anyone else experienced this? Will I eventually lose it all?

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Have you tried all three of them? I couldnt tolerate anastrazole (sp?) but letrozole is bearable. You really need to make the personal decision of your quality of life vs the drug. I too worry about the lobular sneakiness, but we do what we need to. Diet, exercize, mindfulness are all important to maintain our health and peace. Many who dont believe in meds go that route. Im trying to enjoy every day im in remission, because a new journey may be tomorrow!

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@gramamom

Did you have a choice as to whether you could have a lumpectomy or not? I also had invasive lobular carcinoma , stage 1 but I opted for a lumpectomy. Just kind of wondering if that was the right thing to do.

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Thanks. Your information was very helpful.

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@cautiousoptimism

I have been taking arimidex for 8 months since dx of lobular carcinoma. I have many side effects, including hair thinning. Has anyone else experienced this? Will I eventually lose it all?

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I am also a lobular breast cancer person and am triple +. I had a left mastectomy with clear margins and no nodes involved. Because of my age (82) I chose to skip radiation, chemo and all hormone treatments. I have arthritis and problems with my knees and one hand so I don’t want to aggravate those problems any more. Maybe if I were younger I would have chosen a different road but at my age I will do my living up front with whatever quality of life that is available.

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@cautiousoptimism

I have been taking arimidex for 8 months since dx of lobular carcinoma. I have many side effects, including hair thinning. Has anyone else experienced this? Will I eventually lose it all?

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Understanding why you choose to skit chemo and radiation, but I think you should consider hormonal treatments. Check with your doctor and his advice.
runninglakes

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Hi there – I’m hoping to find out if anyone’s hair grew back after taking Anastrozole. I was on Tamoxifan for about 2.5 years (no hair real thinning) but had some bad uterine complications so I was put on Anastrozole. New side affects but the one that really has me worried (other than hand and heel joint pain) is that I’ve lost an incredible amount of hair. I have one more year left and want to quit taking it. My hair was already thin from chemo, radiation and high amounts of life/family stress. I’m too young to go bald. Did anyone’s hair grow back after taking Anastrozole, and how long did it take to see an improvement?

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Sharing in general on the side effects of Aromatase drugs. I tried tamoxifen, letrozole and arimidex. I was unable to take any of them due to strong side effects. I’m just shy of two years post bi lateral mastectomy and I’ve worried about recurrence and my high estrogen positive cancer every day since diagnosis (I’m sure you can all relate). I just had my two year check up and thank goodness, no sign of any cancer return. At my oncology visit I asked my doctor why they never did hormone tests to see how much estrogen breast cancer patients had and they said, ‘because they assume everyone is taking the drugs and would therefore have low to no estrogen. I asked for the estrogen tests and………….my estrogen is basically GONE, so low it was actually considered abnormal. Of course this is good but I also reflected on that fact that we don’t know what our hormone levels are before, during or after these drugs. For some reason my body has decided to eliminate all my estrogen (I had no progesterone most of my life so I assume it’s missing as well). Just an odd thing to consider. Just how much estrogen do you really have? And finally…….I have had lots of the side effects of taking the drugs when I haven’t taken them, especially the hair thinning. I am still losing hair and I’m sure it’s due to low hormone levels and stress. I’m trying all kinds of natural things to get my hair back but don’t yet know if it will work. I will keep you all posted. Seems a good diet, losing weight and taking the right vitamins really does work (all of my other blood work looks great). I do however have some weird itchy rash for the last 7 months (only where my lymph nodes are: chest, pelvis, lower back…….) Appreciate any insight anyone might have on that one. I’ve seen two dermatologists and two oncologists and I’m no closer to relieving the recurring rash. Best wishes to everyone. If I find a miracle to regrow my hair I’ll certainly share.

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@eljayem

I have been on anastrozole for 6 months and my most disturbing side effect is overwhelming fatigue. I was never this exhausted throughout chemo or radiation so my oncologist doesn’t believe it is related to any of the cancer treatment (bilateral mastectomy, chemo, rads, anastrozole). It slammed me three days after starting the anastrozole and I can’t overcome it despite PT, OT, Acupuncture, Psychotherapy, and naturopathic medicine. Oncologist refuses to believe it has anything to do with anastrozole therefore is unwilling to try something else.

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I was on two other meds before Aremedex and they both gave me horrible joint pain. Just like you explained,gives me also terrible fatigue that hits hard around 2 in the afternoon and by the time U get off work at my very easy office job I could just go straight home and go to bed for the night and skip supper every nite. But I have a husband who likes supper even though he makes it a lot because I am so tired and slow. I will keep taking the medication because I believe it will give me a better chance of staying cancer free.

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I just discovered this discussion group today. I was diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer in July 2016. I have been off and on Anastrozole since January 2017. I have had serious hand pain in my right hand only. My ring finger is the worst, stiff and clicking. usually improves as the days goes on. About a week ago my right thumb suddenly started to ache and click when I flex it to the point where I have to take ibuprofen to be comfortable doing routine tasks like peeling potatoes. I have also had a lot of trouble with my eyes sticking shut while I’m sleeping and having to literally pry them open during the night when it wakes me up. Dry eyes the eye doctor told me and said I should use eye drops, etc. This is helping a little. I was switched to Exemestane for about two months and nothing improved. I went off everything for about 6 weeks this summer and the hand pain decreased but the eye problem did not. I have now been back on Anastrozole for about two months, and now the hand is getting even worse than it was before. Legs starting to hurt while sleeping. No hair thinning that I have noticed. Eyes the same. I have an appt. with oncologist i November and will evaluate going off the drug. Will this get better if I stay on for six months? I am afraid the hand pain is becoming permanent.

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I had extreme pain and depression on all the aromatase drugs and was unable to take them for any length of time so I can’t address those questions BUT, I do have a thought about your eye problem. For the past 10 years I have had ‘dry eye’. It started during perimenopause and continues today (although not as bad). I believe dry eye can be a result of lowered estrogen in the body and hormonal changes. I use prescription eye drops that help my eyes retain and make more tears (there are two, Restassis and Xiidra). They have helped me immensely with this problem which isn’t noticeable now, as long as I keep up with my meds. Perhaps a trip to your eye doctor for a ‘dry eye’ evaluation?

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@cindylb

I had extreme pain and depression on all the aromatase drugs and was unable to take them for any length of time so I can’t address those questions BUT, I do have a thought about your eye problem. For the past 10 years I have had ‘dry eye’. It started during perimenopause and continues today (although not as bad). I believe dry eye can be a result of lowered estrogen in the body and hormonal changes. I use prescription eye drops that help my eyes retain and make more tears (there are two, Restassis and Xiidra). They have helped me immensely with this problem which isn’t noticeable now, as long as I keep up with my meds. Perhaps a trip to your eye doctor for a ‘dry eye’ evaluation?

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I saw the eye doctor for this and she suggested Restasis. I guess I’ll try it although I hate to add any more prescription drugs to my daily regimen. Thanks for the info about falling estrogen causing dry eyes.

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The Restassis is pretty easy….a drop in each eye morning and night. You’ll be pleased with the improvement, I sure was. The only problem with this one is the cost. I pay $200 for a 30 day supply. But, you can get a savings card to sign up for a discount from your doctor (not good if you’re on Medicare though) and there is a second drug, Xiidra that may be cheaper. I may be switching to the Xiidra if my doctor will let me.

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@cindylb

The Restassis is pretty easy….a drop in each eye morning and night. You’ll be pleased with the improvement, I sure was. The only problem with this one is the cost. I pay $200 for a 30 day supply. But, you can get a savings card to sign up for a discount from your doctor (not good if you’re on Medicare though) and there is a second drug, Xiidra that may be cheaper. I may be switching to the Xiidra if my doctor will let me.

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I am on Medicare, but my insurance covers it to the tune of about $100 for a 90 day supply, I think. I’m going to call the doctor’s and see if they have any samples to try. They usually are pretty good about that.

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