Mayo Clinic Connect
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?
Liked by Dee, coquimti, Molly MIller, farmgirl1556 ... see all
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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never heard of i Arimidext i take Ibrance/chemo pill now for about 3 mod. for brst. canc, i was unable to have mastectomy as went to far, so take the above, faslidex and xgeva. also have a rectal tumor that nothing is being done and have tried for several mos. to find a less invasive surgeon.
good luck on your treatments, i did have radiation on the rectal tumor 2 yrs. ago not a good experience at all and do not reccommend it with the dr.s i went to.
talk to you later.starlight
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!
My doc gave me Xanex to be used as needed. I either fall asleep early or have insomnia due to Arimidex. If I realize by 1am I’m not going to fall asleep she says take a 1/2 pill. I sleep well but don’t wake up groggy
I use it judiciously, melatonin didn’t work for me
I am not using my Ativan judiciously, I am sorry to say. I have taken it for sleep for many years. I am willing to give the melatonin a try ~ You never know! I also take Neurontin, which is not addictive and am trying to substitute it for Ativan, slowly. I found a recipe for “Golden Milk” on one of the Cancer Nutrition pages and when I simply can’t stay in bed due to insomnia, I come downstairs and make a cup of that. It uses Turmeric, which I happen to love…It is an acquired taste but I do feel a slight drowsiness after consuming a cup….Could be because I haven’t had more than 3 hours of sleep that night!
Just saw your post! I am beginning my 3rd week of Arimidex and so far have my fingers crossed…..Some insomnia, some fatigue (brought on by the insomnia?) and joint pain in the joints that already had arthritis, so it is not a huge deal. My life is pretty much back to normal after my December diagnosis and when I take my little white Arimidex every morning I think of it as what will keep any further cancer from returning. Honestly, things would have to get pretty bad with the Arimidex before I would consider stopping it.
Hi, Starlight! I can imagine radiation for rectal problems would be VERY unpleasant. I know how much my breast and underarm suffered after 6 weeks of radiation, so I think rectal burning and swelling would be very painful. I hope you are healing. If you don’t mind my asking, and maybe it’s against the site rules, but where do you live? Small town? It might be worth your while to find a proctologist who is willing to give you a second opinion. It sounds as though having someone else give you an option would be good. I’ll keep you in my thoughts, Starlight!
I have been taking anastrozole since last September (2016) and have had a few side effects. One thing I have noticed is that the side effects seem to come and go. At first I had a lot of fatigue and bone and soft tissue pain. My oncology nurse told me to take Chondroitin/Glucosomine with MSM in it and that really helped. She also said to take 1 -2 tablets of Aleve PM before bedtime, which I do take around 7 p.m. My radiologist said I could also take 10 mg of melatonin and sometimes I do. I did have radiation but no chemo. Sometimes I also have pain around my ovaries about once a month but the nurse said that it is the ovaries drying up. She said your body always remembers your cycles and I am 68 so past menopause. I am interested in hearing about those rollers some of you have talked about. Walking about 30 minutes a day seems to help a lot. I am also interested in knowing if these side effects will ever adjust to your body or if they will always come and go. I do know that I get more stressed easily.
The rollers are the big foam rollers you see in gyms or at a PT office (black is usually the firmest). The other rolller is called “The Stick” and it’s 17″ long $30 on Amazon. I love it because I can roll my calves, thighs, neck (especially C1 at top of spine near the ear) and feet. I get calf cramps at night that can prevent me from sleeping and this roller has saved the day (or night)! Its also a great help for my stiffness in my neck.
I’ve been on Arimidex 3 mos and my symptoms started mildly in my knees, something I’d never had before. I do think symptoms can come and go as my knees are generally better but my hips are very stiff. I work out 3X/week and my Pilates helps a lot but i walk like an older woman, Im 54. Generally my back and hips are sore all the time and my calves cramp at night. My oncology nutritionist added calcium, Vit D and Glucosamine/Chrondroitin to my daily Alive Woman 50+ vitamin and will see if symptoms subside in a few weeks. She reminded me Tamoxifen help build bones but the A1’s deplete the bones. That’s why she added additional supplements to my daily vitamin. She also gave me a list of foods – ie: bright green, red and orange veggies and fruits.
Thanks for the information. I also get bad leg cramps at night and I take 800 mg. of magnesium in the evening. I can always tell when I forget to take it because then my legs are restless and crampy all night long. Thanks again for the info.
I’ve been on Anastrozole (Arimidex) for 3 mos, the first pain was in my knees but it wasn’t significant or there all the time – I’d never had knee pain before. In the past 2 mos my hip and back pain (aching and stiffness) is pretty significant. Saw my oncology nutritionist a few days ago who added calcium, vit D and Glucosamine/Chrondroitin to my daily Alive Women 50+ Vitamin. She looked at all the dosage amounts, some I take in the AM others in PM. Will try this for a month and if symptoms don’t subside might try a different AI. I also get a lot of calf cramps at night that can keep me from sleeping. I do Pilates 3x a week which helps on so many levels. I’m 53 so I wasn’t used to aches and pains until diagnosis 14 mos ago. Diagnosed IDC, PR & ER +, HER2-, nothing in lymph nodes, stage 1. Did lumpectomy, radiation and full hysterectomy (minus the ovaries), no chemo luckily.
Great to know about the magnesium option too. Thanks!
I began taking Anastrozole in January 2017. It was 6 weeks before I began to be very clear about the side effects. Extreme joint pain, particularly affecting my wrists and hands, fatigue all the time, and genital dryness;I’m still evaluating hair thinning. I read everything possible about the drug, but was genuinely able to get a handle on how I was doing, was what I was feeling normal, by reading lots & lots of patient posts — very helpful.
By the time I was approaching the end of 3 months, I was feeling generally improved and felt I was beginning to tolerate it. The extreme joint pain was generally reduced, although my hands and wrists are tender, but slightly less painful. The jury’s still out on the hair thinning and I was able to successful address the dryness problem. I began to do exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and for a very short time, wore a wrist splint – for my right hand, but have since stopped.
My chief take-away from reading other’s posts was that it takes about 6 months for the body to adapt, which isn’t always the case. Currently, including myself, there are 6 of us who are taking Anastrozole, and we stated doing so around the same time, so I have lots of opportunity to check among my friends, to see how “we’re” doing. Two of the 6 have decided to switch to Lextrazole and are tolerating it much better.
I’m continue to be tired, but if you can, give it 6 months, if you can tolerate it. Fortunately, I can stay with Anastrozole vs. starting over.
Document all your symptoms and look for patterns and take all to your Oncologist. I feel very lucky.
Wishing you every success!!!
Liked by Molly MIller
THANK YOU! I have not had major problems so far, although it’a only been 2 1/2 weeks and insomnia has been troubling. ‘Still getting over the 32 radiation treatments and they have subsided too. I have a nice long list of questions for my oncologist, regarding Magnesium, melatonan and several other RX drugs I am taking. When I was first diagnosed, right before Christmas 2016 I truly thought I would never be able to get up off the couch. I struggled through a Christmas party that we give annually and did the traditional things with my family, including my sweet grandkids. I am now realizing that I will not be on the couch forever and there are times when I can forget I even have been diagnosed with breast cancer. When I take that little Arimidex every morning I think of it as one more strike against cancer. I had pretty bad arthritis and tension headaches before my diagnosis, so when unexpected hip, knee or ankle pain strikes, I can handle it. Hoping for continued progress…For all of us!
Afterthought: as I was “leaning” into the drug & feeling suspicious of the changes within, I was wrapping my head around the need for & power of this drug. It was as if the dude effects were sneaking up on me and I was seriously concerned about what was coming. I printed off what the range of symptoms, so that when I could sit quietly with myself and contemplate my symptoms, while having a quick reference to use and help me clarify my experience with this drug against the research, to process what was going on. Of course I was somewhat anxious about and scared of what was to come, but reading about it often helped stabilize me, helped further by reading blogs. It was 4-5 months before I felt mostly “normal.” If you can, give yourself 5 – 6 months.
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Molly MIller
Shenriq ~ Thank you! It is through the experiences of others that I gather my strength and take an optimistic stance. I have several friends who are a number of years ahead of me ~ Diagnosis/surgeries/chemo or not/radiation and then Arimidex. These women have all done so well with all aspects of treatment.They are active and happy and living the good life…Some of them very mindfully. I am trying to live in the moment, deal with the side effects of whatever happens next….Hoping it will be sunny days and happy thoughts when possible. Sending peaceful thoughts ~ Molly
I needed to switch to letrozole because of the aches and pains. I dont have them any more, but still have hair thinning, insomnia, weight struggles, flaky fingernails. Ive been on it about a year. You adapt to a new normal!
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