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?

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

Hi to all of you. I have been on anastrozole for 9 months. I had lobular carcinoma and had some lymph nodes removed but they were all clear. Then I had radiation but no chemo. When I first started anastrozole, I was exhausted, my bones and joints all over my body hurt and I was about to decide to go off of it. Then my oncology nurse told me to take glucosomine/chondroitin with MSM. She also told me to take 2 Aleve pm at night to sleep. I do those things plus I take fish oil, vitamin D, calcium , and magnesium. Things are much better. I still have some days that I don’t feel like beans but they are getting farther and farther apart. I also walk 30 minutes each day, which is a challenge some days. My hair was already thinning somewhat so I can’t tell if it is any worse but I don’t think so. Hope this is a help to you.

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Thank you ! I take the same things minus the Aleve PM

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I’ve been taking my Anastrozole sine the first week in January 2017. For the most part, joint pain, brain fog and fatigue are my most difficult side effects, which I began to experience in 3-4 mos. The joint pain was the worst in my hands-fingers and wrists. I felt like my legs were heavy and felt OLD!!! By the 5-6 months, my general feeling of malaise began to pass. While the joint painin my hands-fingers & wrists diminished, I continue to experience numbness and tingling, as well weakness.
Generally, I consider myself as better tolerating it, continue to feel tired but NO hair loss whatsoever. Not quite sure about my hair thinning, but I’m keeping my eye on this.
I feel you have to give the drug 6 months to know how you’ll tolerate it. Ultimately,
I feel I will continue to take it fir the long haul.
Good luck to you!
PS
I feel that the side effects creeped up on me, so I’d recommend that you keep a journal fir a while.

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Thank you Shenriq. Your advice is very helpful

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@hereigoagain

Almost 4 months on anastrozole, My quality of life is not what I had hoped for. But I refuse to complain as I have had 27 more years than was expected. 27 years ago I had a mastectomy and chemotherapy followed by 5 years of tamoxofin. As the years went by the fear of recurrence decreased. When I reached 20 years I thought I made it. During testing for another health concern a tumor was found which ultimately was determined to be breast cancer that had decided to come back in my lungs. So the game plan is anastrozole. I was told what the side effects would be but I have to admit they are not as tolerable as I thought they would be. I don’t know if it is because I haven’t figure out how to get ahead of the pain or is the pain in my legs that severe. I try to exercise which helps a little. It also makes me tired and I hate that because I don’t want to miss out on any of life. I luckily have not had any hair thinning. Any suggestions to help with the pain and tiredness that I feel.

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I’m on Anastrozole since 1st week in January. I thought I was symptom free until 3 months into the drug, wherein I realized that the effects seemed to sneak up on me, largely joint pain. I began to feel old, my wrists became weak and hurt, as well my fingers.
By the time I was approaching the end of my 5th month and in my 6th month, I began to feel a dramatic improvement. My joint pain remains in my hands, but feel less hurtful; I do experience fatigue and for sure, I sometimes grope for words, but I feel I can tolerate it and will continue. No loss of hair, but I think I’m noticing some thinning, which doesn’t trouble me.
Wishing you luck to you!

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@canada

I had stage 1 breast cancer, no lymph nodes involved, decided not to have radiation, and am now on Anastrozole since March. I don’t like the pill….have hair thinning, joint pain, mood swings, bone lost…and I do wonder what percentage of women stop the pill, and get cancer again…..has anyone out there stopped the pill, and is still fine? Also, I thought I would wait for my mammogram in October and make a decision then….that would mean I was on the pill for only 7 months. Any thoughts….Suzie

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I believe STRESS can ,also, cause hair loss. I did experience that and my dermatologist stated is was due to stress.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @tinalove, welcome to Connect.
You’ll notice that I moved your message into the Breast Cancer group.

Anastrozole belongs to a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. You can find out more about them and what to expect here http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hormone-therapy-for-breast-cancer/basics/what-you-can-expect/prc-20015050 On the list of side effects of anastozole, hair loss is listed as an uncommon side effect.

It would be nice to get a first-hand experience for someone who has taken hormone therapy. I’m tagging @luladavis @maureenkarras and @lecase to see if they will join this discussion.

Maureen wrote a while back about side effects of exemestane, one of the other aromatase inhibitors https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/dry-skin-red-itching-burning-and-peeling/ and Lecase asked about the pros and cons of anastrozole and tamoxifen. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/can-anyone-speak-to-the-proscons-of-arimidex-vs-tomoxifen-ive-been-on/

Tina, what kind of breast cancer did you have and what treatments? How are you doing?

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I have been taking anastrozole for 2.5 years now, and it is not clear to me what is a side effect and what is just aging. I suppose the minor hot flashes are a side effect, but ice water takes care of that. I have increased back pain and difficulty sleeping, but these existed to a lesser extent before I started the drug. I am waiting for the results of a bone density test.
My cousin took this drug 20 years ago with no problems, and her friend accidentally took for 10 years (misunderstood how long she was supposed to take it) and she had no issues with it. So, it appears from reading all the responses on here, that reactions are certainly highly personalized! I hope we all get through all this cancer and therapy and live long healthy lives!

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I had surgery, chemo, and radiation, and since I was staged at 3C it didn’t seem an option not to take an aromatase inhibitor. I’ve been on anastrozole for a little over two years. I see the range of side effects others have and count myself lucky. I may have had a little hair loss, maybe a little weight gain, but I think that’s all.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @tinalove, welcome to Connect.
You’ll notice that I moved your message into the Breast Cancer group.

Anastrozole belongs to a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. You can find out more about them and what to expect here http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hormone-therapy-for-breast-cancer/basics/what-you-can-expect/prc-20015050 On the list of side effects of anastozole, hair loss is listed as an uncommon side effect.

It would be nice to get a first-hand experience for someone who has taken hormone therapy. I’m tagging @luladavis @maureenkarras and @lecase to see if they will join this discussion.

Maureen wrote a while back about side effects of exemestane, one of the other aromatase inhibitors https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/dry-skin-red-itching-burning-and-peeling/ and Lecase asked about the pros and cons of anastrozole and tamoxifen. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/can-anyone-speak-to-the-proscons-of-arimidex-vs-tomoxifen-ive-been-on/

Tina, what kind of breast cancer did you have and what treatments? How are you doing?

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Thanks Jane

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