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?

@dianne53

I have had surgery and radiation but not chemo because of my weight (at the time 72 lbs) and have been on anastrozole for 2 1/2 years now, I had a scary experience today when I went to the store my right arm wouldn’t lift I was short of breath and had pains in my right chest, is this another side effect?

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@dianne53, were you able to speak with a nurse about your symptoms?

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@dianne53

I have had surgery and radiation but not chemo because of my weight (at the time 72 lbs) and have been on anastrozole for 2 1/2 years now, I had a scary experience today when I went to the store my right arm wouldn’t lift I was short of breath and had pains in my right chest, is this another side effect?

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I havent had any of that kind of side effects. Have them checked out, and its ok if it’s nothing serious, just for your peace of mind you owe it to yourself to rule out the bad stuff.

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@dianne53

I have had surgery and radiation but not chemo because of my weight (at the time 72 lbs) and have been on anastrozole for 2 1/2 years now, I had a scary experience today when I went to the store my right arm wouldn’t lift I was short of breath and had pains in my right chest, is this another side effect?

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Hi Dianne,
I moved your message to this discussion about the side effects of anastrozole, so you can meet others who have taken or are taking this drug. I encourage to read through the past messages. Since posting your first message, have you been in touch with your oncologist about the pains in the right side of your chest, shortness of breath and difficulty lifting your arm?

Mayo Clinic lists chest pain, shortness of breath, and arm pain among the common and less common side effects http://mayocl.in/2m5bKo9 However, like @cautiousoptimism, I would recommend telling your doctor or symptom management nurse about these side effects, and pointing out that they happened a year apart. There may be other things going on.

@wandering @grandma41 @berit @coquimti @cindylb @starrlight did any of you have these side effects?

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I have been on this med now for, 3 years. Some days it is so very hard to move,however I find that if I can start out slow moving, it can feel better. Then after a rest the pain and stiffness come back 2 fold. My oncologist told me that it was not likely to be the meds effects on my muscles, just in my joint pain…does anyone have the soreness in soft tissue?

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@sueseeque

I have been on this med now for, 3 years. Some days it is so very hard to move,however I find that if I can start out slow moving, it can feel better. Then after a rest the pain and stiffness come back 2 fold. My oncologist told me that it was not likely to be the meds effects on my muscles, just in my joint pain…does anyone have the soreness in soft tissue?

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Have you tried “The Stick”? You can order online from Amazon $28. It’s a therapeutic massage stick for tissue pain (calves, thighs, quads, neck etc.). I got one from my PT and it’s a huge help.

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@sueseeque

I have been on this med now for, 3 years. Some days it is so very hard to move,however I find that if I can start out slow moving, it can feel better. Then after a rest the pain and stiffness come back 2 fold. My oncologist told me that it was not likely to be the meds effects on my muscles, just in my joint pain…does anyone have the soreness in soft tissue?

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Hello @sueseeque! Welcome to Connect!

Have you considered massage or a foam roller? I wonder if that would help the soreness?

I noticed that on this list of side effects http://mayocl.in/2m5bKo9 pain was listed as a “less common” side effect. @dianne53, @cautiousoptimism and @starrlight– have any of you experienced joint pain with the medication?

@sueseeque, what other side effects are you experiencing?

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Hi there. I recently had a mastectomy for Estrogen and progesterone positive receptor breast cancer. No chemo or radiation. I am unsure if those factor into the side effects of the anastrozole therapy. My main concern was joint pain. I am very active and did not want the drug to take that from me. A friend suggested I take the drug closer to bedtime or in the evening after my workout and daytime activities. I have to say, it has made a difference for me. The one thing that has REALLY helped me is that I now stretch my legs and hands. Every day without fail. Nothing fancy. There are a lot of great tutorials online. If you live near a yoga studio try restorative yoga. Longer stretching postures, seated or laying down. Not sure about hair loss. I was expecting chemotherapy, so frankly any hair I have is a bonus! Best of luck and God Bless to all of you!

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@deniseestrada

Hi there. I recently had a mastectomy for Estrogen and progesterone positive receptor breast cancer. No chemo or radiation. I am unsure if those factor into the side effects of the anastrozole therapy. My main concern was joint pain. I am very active and did not want the drug to take that from me. A friend suggested I take the drug closer to bedtime or in the evening after my workout and daytime activities. I have to say, it has made a difference for me. The one thing that has REALLY helped me is that I now stretch my legs and hands. Every day without fail. Nothing fancy. There are a lot of great tutorials online. If you live near a yoga studio try restorative yoga. Longer stretching postures, seated or laying down. Not sure about hair loss. I was expecting chemotherapy, so frankly any hair I have is a bonus! Best of luck and God Bless to all of you!

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Welcome Denise. So glad that you shared your tip for when to take the medication and how it helped you with joint pain. How long will you be taking anastrozole? Have you experienced any other side effects?

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I am one my second WEEK of Arimidex, after lumpectomy, node dissection and 32 radiation treatments. I did not have chemo, although it was a close call due to certain aspects of the breast cancer, but my oncologist let me make the decision….SO ~ I am going to finish Arimidex no matter what! So far so good, just insomnia. I am 67 years old and experienced arthritis pain years before the cancer, so I don’t know if I am immune to joint pain or not! So far everything has been manageable; I feel empowered when I take that little pill every morning and I hope for continuing compatibility with that little white pill. I know 2 weeks is not a long time, but so far I’m in for the long run!

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@mollymiller

I am one my second WEEK of Arimidex, after lumpectomy, node dissection and 32 radiation treatments. I did not have chemo, although it was a close call due to certain aspects of the breast cancer, but my oncologist let me make the decision….SO ~ I am going to finish Arimidex no matter what! So far so good, just insomnia. I am 67 years old and experienced arthritis pain years before the cancer, so I don’t know if I am immune to joint pain or not! So far everything has been manageable; I feel empowered when I take that little pill every morning and I hope for continuing compatibility with that little white pill. I know 2 weeks is not a long time, but so far I’m in for the long run!

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I was on Arimidex for 3 years until my tumor marker shot up. The oncologist was surprised I was on it for such a long time but I was. I was switched to a monthly shot of Faslodex and my tumor marker is 53 which is great. I too have trouble sleeping and the oncologist put me on a 3mg dosage of Melatonin (over the counter). That has helped me a great deal. Keep a positive attitude and keep up the good fight.

Liked by Molly MIller

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Thank you for your input! I’ll ask my oncologist about melatonin when I see her next week ~ Right now I am taking a mixture of Ativan and neurontin…Wouldlike to switch to something not so addictive, although at this point, I would take just about anything to be able to sleep through the night!

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@deniseestrada

Hi there. I recently had a mastectomy for Estrogen and progesterone positive receptor breast cancer. No chemo or radiation. I am unsure if those factor into the side effects of the anastrozole therapy. My main concern was joint pain. I am very active and did not want the drug to take that from me. A friend suggested I take the drug closer to bedtime or in the evening after my workout and daytime activities. I have to say, it has made a difference for me. The one thing that has REALLY helped me is that I now stretch my legs and hands. Every day without fail. Nothing fancy. There are a lot of great tutorials online. If you live near a yoga studio try restorative yoga. Longer stretching postures, seated or laying down. Not sure about hair loss. I was expecting chemotherapy, so frankly any hair I have is a bonus! Best of luck and God Bless to all of you!

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Hi Colleen, the only other side effect is insomnia. I went through the same thing at menopause. I take a Benadryl before bed and no caffeine after noon. That helps. I expect to be on this drug for several years. Even in menopause, I had a noticeable surge in hormones in the months before my diagnosis. Night sweats. Tender breasts. Insiomnia. Most interesting, I had severe itching in my right breast, in the area of the cancer. My blood work confirmed elevated estrogen. So I don’t expect my oncologist to take me off anytime soon.

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@mollymiller

Thank you for your input! I’ll ask my oncologist about melatonin when I see her next week ~ Right now I am taking a mixture of Ativan and neurontin…Wouldlike to switch to something not so addictive, although at this point, I would take just about anything to be able to sleep through the night!

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Melatonin is pretty benign. (My 96 year old mother takes it.) 3mg is about the weakest dosage. I think they also have 5mg. Sometimes if I wake up and cannot fall asleep I’ll take another if it’s still early (3am or so). I don’t seem to have a “hangover” the next day. Good luck

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@sueseeque

I have been on this med now for, 3 years. Some days it is so very hard to move,however I find that if I can start out slow moving, it can feel better. Then after a rest the pain and stiffness come back 2 fold. My oncologist told me that it was not likely to be the meds effects on my muscles, just in my joint pain…does anyone have the soreness in soft tissue?

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Great suggestion. I have a foam roller and i love it

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Thanks, Wandering! I have read SO many conflicting reports (I KNOW I should stop Googling!) and I thought Melatonin was not recommended but from what I am reading on this site, Melatonin sounds great. I see my oncologist this Thursday…My first visit since I began radiation and I am scared to death. Don’t ask me why ~ I am a worrier, but I AM determined to do all I can do to keep from having a recurrence. I am still half kicking myself for forgoing chemo, but when shown the statistics of adding chemo to my treatment, the statistics weren’t much higher for chemo as opposed to radiation and Arimidex. I am trying hard to be “mindful” and do think I’ll go back to yoga ~ I think this site is great ~ I have lots of supportive friends and family members….But none of them are dealing with breast cancer and treatment. Be well and take care ~

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