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?

@marybe

Thank you for welcoming me. I was just diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in June. Anastrozole is the first course of treatment that they are trying. I will tell my story in a new post

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I was stage III also. I did neoadjuvant chemo, then surgery, then rads, and finally, now, anastrozole. Originally I was told I’d be on anastrozole for 5 years (it’s been about 2 years so far), but research now makes it look like it’ll be for at least 10 years. It’s all good and I’m really enjoying my health now!

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@marybe

I am a new member, and came here specifically to ask about Anastrozole. I’ve only been on it a month (as part of a clinical trial through Roswell Park Cancer Institute) and I was wondering about everyone’s experience with side effects so I was very happy to find this topic. Now to read all 18 pages!

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I am also on Anastrozole as part of a study. I started in April and took for 5 months prior to lumpectomy last week. The anastrozole did what it was supposed to do. After 1st month the Ki 67 was rechecked via biopsy and it had declined, which is what doctor was hoping for. The result of surgery showed tumor was smaller than when first diagnosed.

I meet with doctors next Thursday to find out about radiation and future treatment.

My side effects were minimum. I was already being treated for depression / anxiety, and my anxiety increased after starting medications. But seeing I was dealing with breast cancer and all that it involves, it was hard to know if Anastrozole was the causes of increased in anxiety.

My advice is if you do notice side effects physical or psychosocial, make sure your doctors are aware of them.

Good luck
Laurie

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I've just been switched from Femara to Arimidex because of bone pain with the former. Suddenly crying jags come from nowhere. My last radiation treatment was a year ago and my checkups have been fine. Feeling okay, but this is new. My history: Breast cancer diagnosis, October, 2016; Mastectomy, right breast, Stage 3C, Feb, 2017; chemo, four treatments, then 30 radiations. Anyone else? I don't necessarily feel depressed, but anything sad or infuriating on TV makes me cry. I'm not a big cryer. Thanks.

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@islandelder

I've just been switched from Femara to Arimidex because of bone pain with the former. Suddenly crying jags come from nowhere. My last radiation treatment was a year ago and my checkups have been fine. Feeling okay, but this is new. My history: Breast cancer diagnosis, October, 2016; Mastectomy, right breast, Stage 3C, Feb, 2017; chemo, four treatments, then 30 radiations. Anyone else? I don't necessarily feel depressed, but anything sad or infuriating on TV makes me cry. I'm not a big cryer. Thanks.

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@islandelder, welcome to Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to this active discussion about the side effects of Arimidex (anastrozole). I did this so that you can meet others talking about treatment with aromatase inhibitors. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification to go to the discussion and read through past comments.

That is curious about the crying jags since switching to Arimidex, but it doesn't surprise me. Mood changes is listed as a common side effect. I'll be interested to hear who else may have experienced this, too. Did you experience any mood differences with Femara?

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@colleenyoung

@islandelder, welcome to Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to this active discussion about the side effects of Arimidex (anastrozole). I did this so that you can meet others talking about treatment with aromatase inhibitors. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification to go to the discussion and read through past comments.

That is curious about the crying jags since switching to Arimidex, but it doesn't surprise me. Mood changes is listed as a common side effect. I'll be interested to hear who else may have experienced this, too. Did you experience any mood differences with Femara?

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Thank you. I didn't realize there was a separate forum. This should help to get answers. I hope!

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@colleenyoung

@islandelder, welcome to Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to this active discussion about the side effects of Arimidex (anastrozole). I did this so that you can meet others talking about treatment with aromatase inhibitors. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification to go to the discussion and read through past comments.

That is curious about the crying jags since switching to Arimidex, but it doesn't surprise me. Mood changes is listed as a common side effect. I'll be interested to hear who else may have experienced this, too. Did you experience any mood differences with Femara?

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I didn't have the same reaction with Femara. Only the bone pain.

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@islandelder

I've just been switched from Femara to Arimidex because of bone pain with the former. Suddenly crying jags come from nowhere. My last radiation treatment was a year ago and my checkups have been fine. Feeling okay, but this is new. My history: Breast cancer diagnosis, October, 2016; Mastectomy, right breast, Stage 3C, Feb, 2017; chemo, four treatments, then 30 radiations. Anyone else? I don't necessarily feel depressed, but anything sad or infuriating on TV makes me cry. I'm not a big cryer. Thanks.

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I had same side effect from Arimidex,increased in anxiety and lots of crying. The oncologist referred me to psychiatrist that placed me on anti-anxiety medication to help with symptoms. I was on Arimidex for 5 months prior to surgery. The medication did what it was suppose to, the tumor decreased in size. I stopped taking day prior to surgery and after a a few days the anxiety dropped. I have already told oncologist I do not want to take Arimidex, she suggested we discuss hormone therapy options in 6 months after done with chemo and radiation.

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Thanks so much. I've only been on it for about a week so I'll wait a bit and if it doesn't stop I'll call my doctor. She says there are a couple of other meds that do basically the same thing and it may take a while to find the right one. This is post-surgery, and I'll be taking it for five years or more, so I want something I can live with.

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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 3 1/2 months, started immediately after 2 months of radiation. I did not need chemo. Side effects of Anastrozole started within a week of starting which include trigger finger and backache across the middle of my back, but it is starting to deminish some, maybe because of exercise, vitamin D and my body adjusting. BUT, I am losing a lot of hair…I’m very concerned about how much hair I’m shedding. I was not prepared for this. I do have some problems sleeping buy I take ambien when I can’t sleep. I’ve been very emotional since about half way thru radiation and wonder if Anastrozole is also contributing to my bad mood.

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@samanthavon

I have been taking Anastrozole for 3 1/2 months, started immediately after 2 months of radiation. I did not need chemo. Side effects of Anastrozole started within a week of starting which include trigger finger and backache across the middle of my back, but it is starting to deminish some, maybe because of exercise, vitamin D and my body adjusting. BUT, I am losing a lot of hair…I’m very concerned about how much hair I’m shedding. I was not prepared for this. I do have some problems sleeping buy I take ambien when I can’t sleep. I’ve been very emotional since about half way thru radiation and wonder if Anastrozole is also contributing to my bad mood.

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What do you mean by "trigger finger"? I hope I don't start losing my hair. I was bald a year ago–don't want that again!

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I’m also very concerned about the emotional side effects of radiation followed by Anastrozole.I don’t think that the oncologists have a good understanding of the emotional side effects. I was given 30 Xanax for anxiety (3 months ago) I took a half tablet and then quit, I decided I did not want to take more drugs, I would deal with it! I went to a breast cancer support group a few times which I liked but I’m not sure I’m going back. I felt like the most talkative and negative one there. I can’t tell if I put everyone off or not…Then I called 5 different therapists from the cancer center’s recommended list, none are taking new patients and one didn’t even return my call after I was asked to leave a detailed message which was a bit unnerving. Anyway, I’m still a mess. Two weeks ago I thought I’d try going gluten free to see if I’d have less joint, bone, muscle pain. Not sure if it’s making much difference. A few weeks ago I had Zumata which is a bone infusion to strengthen bones due to effects of treatments and make it harder for cancer to get into bones or something like that. Then was told to take calcium supplements. I bought the most expensive kind which are supposed to be easiest to tolerate. I need a few days off the calcium because it has the side effect of making me constipated, a problem I didn’t have before. So, not only am I emotional I’m becoming an angry person as well!

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@islandelder

What do you mean by "trigger finger"? I hope I don't start losing my hair. I was bald a year ago–don't want that again!

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Trigger finger is happening to my middle finger, the joint is cramping and every time I close my hand or move fingers it feels like the joint gets stuck. It hurts after it keeps happening. It’s supposedly common I read about it and didnt understand but if it happens you will know. I’m not getting g bald but hair is thinning a lot. I used to have thick hair and now I probably have half what I had a year ago. I was lucky that I started with so much. I have a small bald patch hpjust above my ear, I cried when I found it. So far I’m able to cover it up.

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