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 Support Group.

@leemiller

I’m not aware of problematic side effects after a little over a year on anastrozole, except my last DEXA showed a bit more loss of bone mass in my spine. My hair is back, post chemo, sleeping okay, joint pain is from arthritic knees, pain linked to hip weakness. The anastrozole is giving me so little trouble my oncologist is reluctant to try anything else, even with the osteoporosis.

Jump to this post

Molly, You are correct. Anastrozole is the generic of Arimidex.

REPLY
@leemiller

I’m not aware of problematic side effects after a little over a year on anastrozole, except my last DEXA showed a bit more loss of bone mass in my spine. My hair is back, post chemo, sleeping okay, joint pain is from arthritic knees, pain linked to hip weakness. The anastrozole is giving me so little trouble my oncologist is reluctant to try anything else, even with the osteoporosis.

Jump to this post

Oh, good! I thought the afternoon/evening fog had begun to spill over into my mornings! Thank you, my friend!

REPLY
@leemiller

I’m not aware of problematic side effects after a little over a year on anastrozole, except my last DEXA showed a bit more loss of bone mass in my spine. My hair is back, post chemo, sleeping okay, joint pain is from arthritic knees, pain linked to hip weakness. The anastrozole is giving me so little trouble my oncologist is reluctant to try anything else, even with the osteoporosis.

Jump to this post

My oncologist said that she prefers to use the generic form/name because it tells her what is in the drug… She knows if she sees the generic exactly what the drug contains — and research says that drugmakers are now using z and x in drug names because they are appealing to users. Go figure!

REPLY

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

REPLY
@roch

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

Jump to this post

Hello "roch" – don't know if this will help but……..the first symptom I noticed when starting Arimidex and Letrozole (tried both) was depression. It was almost immediate and severe. I generally am not depressed so I'm certain it was the meds. It's also common, of course, to have anxiety and depression with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, so perhaps a double whammy. I do feel the meds cause depression so if it's any support – know that the meds are saving you from future chemo possibly and that would be a very good thing and soldier through the best you can. Altering hormones causes it's own set of problems.

REPLY
@roch

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

Jump to this post

Roch: I, too, have experienced bouts of depression (unusual for me) this spring since going on anastrozole in January, even though I only take a half dose. I associated it with not being able to exercise every day (the chemo-induced neuropathy seemed to increase following the end of chemo). My reaction was to exercise earlier in the day (treadmill at the gym) and spend more time with outside activities (Stephen Ministry and working with foster care students). My personal analysis of being a cancer survivor is that it's always going to be something… some things I can control (like asking for a different aromatase inhibitor if the depression bouts continue, exercising earlier in the day, taking Chinese herbs, etc.) and some things are out of my control (like the nerve damage, insomnia, and extreme arthralgia). For me, trying anything and everything beats having to go through chemo, again. Don't hesitate to ask your oncologist to switch your AI to letrozole or exemestane to see if you can avoid experiencing the bouts of depression. Each of us reacts differently to a particular hormone therapy, depending on our body chemistry. Just be aware that all of these meds can cause various side-effects. Wishing you a better outcome in future!

REPLY
@roch

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

Jump to this post

Hello, Roch ~ Rest assured that you are not alone in having depression as an Arimidex side effect. I don't quite know what else to say, as mine comes in waves. Some days I truly feel upbeat and it lasts for a day or two and then i wake up and don't want to get out of bed. Pain also varies ~ Hot flashes pretty constant but I can deal with them . 18 months since diagnosis, 36 radiation treatment, turned down chemo and am now 13 months on Arimidex. At age 69, I did not want to even TRY chemo and my doctor conceurred, I was diagnosed with Stage 2A Est and Pro positive, HerpII negative . One node effected, 16 others removed, all clear. As you coan tell from this typing I am experiencing visual problems. Prayers, etc. are in heavy use. WIshing you good days ahead.

REPLY
@roch

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

Jump to this post

Welcome to Connect, @roch.
A cancer diagnosis is life-changing, and I'm so glad you recognized your symptoms of depression and sought help.
My research about anastrozole also led to this article which echos your insights:
Electroacupuncture Helps Ease Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression in Women Taking Aromatase Inhibitors: http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/electracupuncture-helps-ai-side-effects

@roch, may I ask how you are treating and managing the depression?

REPLY
@roch

I have been on Anastrozole for 3 months since diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2018. I will be having surgery later this year and goal of hormone treatment is to prevent need for chemotherapy after surgery. I have read some of the replies and did not see anyone mention of depression. I am having problems with depression since started taking medication. I was so bad at last oncology appointment they referred to psychiatry. At his point treating the depression symptoms rather than change cancer treatment.

My opinion is the depression is related to Anastrozole and not the fact I have newly diagnosed cancer. Prior to starting meds, I was dealing with diagnoses fine, after starting meds I have crying spells often. I have history of depression, so maybe I was more susceptible to changes in hormones. I am glad I talked to doctor about by symptoms and getting help.

I had some hair thinning, my solution is to cut hair shorter. No problems with hot flashes. Had some neck stiffness and minor headaches, those symptoms are tolerable compared to depression. .

Jump to this post

Thank you for the information about electroacupuncture, will see if anyone in my area provides this service.

I currently see psychologist and take Sertraline HCL (Zoloft) and Bupropion HCL XL (Wellbutrin XL).

LM

REPLY

Hi, LM ~ I have found an electroaccupuncturist in my area who is an MD with specializing in Eastern medicine. She accepts Medicare! However, I have had a masseuse and accupuncturist who is not an MD, but she has been wonderful over the years. 'Have not been there in a while though. I know she doesn't (isn't allowed, I guess) accept Medicare. I wonder if Kanaaz knows if the electroaccupuncture might be more effective than regular; Perhaps a study or personal story? I have a fair degree of pain in most parts of my body, generally worst in the morning ~ And depression? I too am on Wellbutrin and I take Lexapro. I have taken these 2 drugs for many years ~ Long before my diagnosis in late 2016! I would say I have moderate anxiety and do take Ativan at bedtime with Neurontin and I do sleep well. How could I NOT with so many drugs coursing through my body? So, a more natural approach, if it is effective would be great! Sending peaceful and soothing thoughts ~ Molly

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.