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?

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@islandelder

I didn't realize there were side effects like that from radiation. I had the last of 30 treatments on Sept. 11, 2017. (a date to remember!) Until last week I had no emotional problems, so I guess I was lucky. I take Boniva once a month for my bones, and my "calcium supplement" is two Tums a day. Very inexpensive and two docs seemed to think it was just fine. You could check with your doc to see if Tums would work for you. Thanks for commenting.

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Years ago my gyno recommended Tums but Oncologist does not. If you google it, Tums reduces stomach acid which apparently isn’t good for calcium absorbsion. We all get diff advice from diff doctors. I have to get an infusion twice a year, wish I could just take something oral. I sure don’t need osteoporosis on top of everything else. I guess we all have our breakdowns at different points! I thought I’d just breeze thru all of this. Boy was I ever wrong!

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Yes, we're all different and what works for one may not work for another. My calcium levels were good at the last test but that could be from a diet that has enough calcium. Who knows? The Boniva is expensive–$103 for three once-a-month pills–not covered by my insurance, but necessary. But staying cancer-free is most important.

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@samanthavon

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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Trigger fingers come about because of the shortening of tendons in ones fingers, impacting the flexibility of the joints and fingers get stuck and pop vs free movement. They exacerbate the joint pain side-effect that I experienced as a side-effect from AIs (Aromatase Inhibiters). There's a knot that presents at the tendon, below the joint of the affected finger and are very painful. I had my orthopedist "treat" it, which reduced the inflammation and also did some massage therapy on my own.

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to @islandelder and @samanthavon and @roch : I'm guessing that the radiation was not a direct cause of the emotional upsets… rather the AI is the culprit. AIs mess with our hormones (and cause a dozen or so other side effects at times). I haven't acquired trigger finger (yet), but I do get infrequent bouts with carpal tunnel syndrome from the Anastrozole. Luckily, I know how to treat it by soaking it in warm water and wearing a wrist brace at night.

As noted a few months ago in this forum, because I am so hypersensitive to most pharmaceuticals, I made the decision to take only half an Anastrozole/day… much to the disgruntlement of my oncologist. I explained that most women give up on AIs after about 2 years because of the side effects. I can manage a half dose for the seven years he has prescribed. In addition, getting one's Vitamin D3 to a high level also reduces circulating estrogen and other sex hormones, according to a Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center study in 2016. I don't mind taking 2000 IUs of micellized D3 with the half dose of Anastrozole to achieve the goal.

For those whose hair may be thinning… my oncologist prescribed 50 mg/day of Biotin (50,000 mcg) for me when I was post-chemo. My hair has come back thicker than before chemo. I recently reduced the dose to 10 mg, which is still a lot. [A word of warning: if your doctor ever decides to test your thyroid, stop taking the Biotin a few days before the test or the result will imply that you are hyperthyroid which causes all sorts of pandemonium. It's just the Biotin messing with test.]

For the emotions component of estrogen reduction, the remedy which seems to suit me best is good ol' exercise… at least 4 times a week I do a fast mile walking on the treadmill which is about all I can handle with the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy… but it does the trick for mesamanthavon I'm guessing that the radiation was not a direct cause of the emotional upsets… rather the AI is the culprit. AIs mess with our hormones (and cause a dozen or so other side effects at times). I haven't acquired trigger finger (yet), but I do get infrequent bouts with carpal tunnel syndrome from the Anastrozole. Luckily, I know how to treat it by soaking it in warm water and wearing a wrist brace at night.@

As noted a few months ago, because I am so hypersensitive to most pharmaceuticals, I made the decision to take only half an Anastrozole/day… much to the disgruntlement of my oncologist. I explained that most women give up on AIs after about 2 years because of the side effects. I can manage a half dose for the seven years he has prescribed. In addition, getting one's Vitamin D3 to a high level also reduces circulating estrogen and other sex hormones, according to a Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center study in 2016. I don't mind taking 2000 IUs of micellized D3 with the half dose of Anastrozole to achieve the goal.

For those whose hair may be thinning… my oncologist prescribed 50 mg/day of Biotin (50,000 mcg) for me when I was post-chemo. My hair has come back thicker than before chemo. I recently reduced the dose to 10 mg, which is still a lot. [A word of warning: if your doctor ever decides to test your thyroid, stop taking the Biotin a few days before the test or the result will imply that you are hyperthyroid which causes all sorts of pandemonium. It's just the Biotin messing with test.]

For the emotions component of estrogen reduction, the remedy which seems to suit me best is good ol' exercise… at least 4 times a week I do a fast mile walking on the treadmill which is about all I can handle with the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy… but it does the trick for me.

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@roch

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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Each of the aromatase inhibiters bring terrible joint problems and fatigue. There's no getting away from the significant symptoms while taking them.When conferring with your oncologist, ask them to describe how the physical and emotional symptoms different from one another.

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@elizm

to @islandelder and @samanthavon and @roch : I'm guessing that the radiation was not a direct cause of the emotional upsets… rather the AI is the culprit. AIs mess with our hormones (and cause a dozen or so other side effects at times). I haven't acquired trigger finger (yet), but I do get infrequent bouts with carpal tunnel syndrome from the Anastrozole. Luckily, I know how to treat it by soaking it in warm water and wearing a wrist brace at night.

As noted a few months ago in this forum, because I am so hypersensitive to most pharmaceuticals, I made the decision to take only half an Anastrozole/day… much to the disgruntlement of my oncologist. I explained that most women give up on AIs after about 2 years because of the side effects. I can manage a half dose for the seven years he has prescribed. In addition, getting one's Vitamin D3 to a high level also reduces circulating estrogen and other sex hormones, according to a Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center study in 2016. I don't mind taking 2000 IUs of micellized D3 with the half dose of Anastrozole to achieve the goal.

For those whose hair may be thinning… my oncologist prescribed 50 mg/day of Biotin (50,000 mcg) for me when I was post-chemo. My hair has come back thicker than before chemo. I recently reduced the dose to 10 mg, which is still a lot. [A word of warning: if your doctor ever decides to test your thyroid, stop taking the Biotin a few days before the test or the result will imply that you are hyperthyroid which causes all sorts of pandemonium. It's just the Biotin messing with test.]

For the emotions component of estrogen reduction, the remedy which seems to suit me best is good ol' exercise… at least 4 times a week I do a fast mile walking on the treadmill which is about all I can handle with the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy… but it does the trick for mesamanthavon I'm guessing that the radiation was not a direct cause of the emotional upsets… rather the AI is the culprit. AIs mess with our hormones (and cause a dozen or so other side effects at times). I haven't acquired trigger finger (yet), but I do get infrequent bouts with carpal tunnel syndrome from the Anastrozole. Luckily, I know how to treat it by soaking it in warm water and wearing a wrist brace at night.@

As noted a few months ago, because I am so hypersensitive to most pharmaceuticals, I made the decision to take only half an Anastrozole/day… much to the disgruntlement of my oncologist. I explained that most women give up on AIs after about 2 years because of the side effects. I can manage a half dose for the seven years he has prescribed. In addition, getting one's Vitamin D3 to a high level also reduces circulating estrogen and other sex hormones, according to a Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center study in 2016. I don't mind taking 2000 IUs of micellized D3 with the half dose of Anastrozole to achieve the goal.

For those whose hair may be thinning… my oncologist prescribed 50 mg/day of Biotin (50,000 mcg) for me when I was post-chemo. My hair has come back thicker than before chemo. I recently reduced the dose to 10 mg, which is still a lot. [A word of warning: if your doctor ever decides to test your thyroid, stop taking the Biotin a few days before the test or the result will imply that you are hyperthyroid which causes all sorts of pandemonium. It's just the Biotin messing with test.]

For the emotions component of estrogen reduction, the remedy which seems to suit me best is good ol' exercise… at least 4 times a week I do a fast mile walking on the treadmill which is about all I can handle with the chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy… but it does the trick for me.

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@elizm I've started taking the anastrazole at night instead of in the morning, hoping any emotional wiggles will be gone by morning. Not looking forward to more joint pain. I'm 81 years old–my joints are already complaining! Thank you for your detailed answer. I've always been physically active but I've slacked off since this happened. I'm going to get back at it. I'm sure it will help.

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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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Crying is OK, it's your body's way to relieve the stress and tension its going thru. Your body feels better afterwards. So have a good cry that's OK. Whats important is that the Arimidex is reducing the cancer growth.

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@elvandi

Crying is OK, it's your body's way to relieve the stress and tension its going thru. Your body feels better afterwards. So have a good cry that's OK. Whats important is that the Arimidex is reducing the cancer growth.

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Yes, I agree.

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@leemiller

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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Hi Lee. I’m new to the forum here, and closely relate with your
diagnosis. I’m 59, IBC -3C, partial mastectomy, chemo and radiation. Been on Arimidex for 2 years. I’ve gained 15/20 pounds which is a lot for being 5.5 ft. In any case, I’ve tolerated the inconsistency of bone pain, troubles sleeping through the night, hair thinning pretty well. My Ocutype DX puts me in the higher reoccurrence.

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Best wishes, fellow Arimidex friend! I find that the Arimidex symptoms vary. Some days are pretty pain-free. I'll stay with it for the whole regimen with the hopes of no reoccurrence and wish the same for you!

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