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FEMARA

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nanna
nanna Member Posts: 138

I STARTED TAKING FEMARA ABOUT 2 WKS AGO. WHEN DOES THE SIDE EFFECTS START TO KICK IN

Edited by Mods to add content from the main Breastcancer.org site on Femara: Benefits, Side Effects and More

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Comments

  • yellowrose
    yellowrose Member Posts: 181
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    It took about 6-8 weeks for mine to start kicking in.  I've only be taking it for 3 1/2 months so can't really tell you when/if they ease off.  Here's hoping that your se's will be minimal.

  • rubytuesday
    rubytuesday Member Posts: 19
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    nanna, I would say that it varies (like everything else) from one of us to the next.  At first,  I had NO side effects for MONTHS and thought it was going to be an easy ride.  Well, my ride has been a roller coaster ride with the SEs varying to degrees and coming and going.  Right at the moment, the hair loss has stopped, the hot flashes aren't bad, the aches are somewhat tolerable and LORD knows how my bones are fairing....just a glimpse. I do take a variety of supplements that help with some of the SEs.   Hopefully you will be one of the 'lucky' ones and be able to manage the SEs or even better yet, have NONE.  Best wishes

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
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    rubytuesday ~

    Would you tell us about which supplements you take for which se's?

    Nico

  • rubytuesday
    rubytuesday Member Posts: 19
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    I take Omega 3s (fish oils) and Glucosamine, Chrondroitin, & MSM for the joint problems.  I take Biotin for hair loss and the MSM is good for your hair too.  My hair loss was horrible but I recently switched hair dressers and the new girl said "Wow, you have really thick hair, you'll never have to worry about going bald".  I didn't have the heart to tell the sweet young thing about all that my hair has been through.  I take Curcumin to prevent recurrence but it helps with inflammation too.  Vitamin D, Calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K to offset the bone loss.  Melatonin helps to prevent recurrence and is also good for your bones.  I think those are the main ones!  Best wishes

  • cp418
    cp418 Member Posts: 359
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    I take teh same supplements and vitamins as rubytuesday.  I didn't start my joint issues until about 7-8 months into Femara.  I am physically active walking and caring/riding horses and now my joints really act up in the winter months.  I take Aleve when I can't ignore the discomfort.  I recently started Yoga and feel it is very helpful and i would be much worse without it.

  • emanresu
    emanresu Member Posts: 13
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    When I started the Arimidix a drug like Femara, the hot flashes were awful.

    What helped was the drug Effexor. It worked for me. Mary Grace.

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
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    rubytuesday ~  cp14

    Thanks for the information! I take several of those supplements but don't know much about Curcumin. Is it an herb? Where do you buy it?

    Nico

  • Member_of_the_Club
    Member_of_the_Club Member Posts: 263
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    I am still on tamoxifen -- will ultimately switch to an AI -- but I've heard that one of the best things for SEs is exercise, if you can push to do it.  Anything with weights will help with bone loss and I've heard that movement will help with joint pain.  At least I hope this is the case.  I believe Marion, aka FitChick has been on an AI for several years and is doing terrifically.

  • rubytuesday
    rubytuesday Member Posts: 19
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    Nico, Curcumin is an herb and can be found at any 'vitamin store' or even Wally World.  Best wishes

    Forgot to add that I also do Yoga and Pilates to help with flexability among other things.  Cool

  • Hockeynut
    Hockeynut Member Posts: 2
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    I am so glad I found this forum.  I have been on FEMARA for one year now and have experienced all the joint pain back pain, difficulty walking mentioned by most of you. Now the hair loss. I want to go off the drug but will try the supplements posted by rubytuesday (after I talk to my onc.) before I take that step.  Many thanks and keep up with the info.  By the way exercise helps as well. 

  • EWB
    EWB Member Posts: 592
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    Hockeynut and all- I know that Femara (and AIs) can really be difficult but hang in there - it really works.  Trick is to try alternative and complementary things to help with SEs, also look at them as low/no estrogen problems and what would help get thru that (other than hormone replacement)

    Exercise, yoga, stretching, mediation, music, hot/warm tubs or baths, keeping joints warm (try layers, silk long johns, cuddleduds etc) diet (have lots of ideas if anyone is interested let me know), juicing and/or blending.

    Hang in ladies--one step at a time, one day at a time.

  • DDP
    DDP Member Posts: 2
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    I was not aware that Femara can cause hair loss!! Does it subside once you stop the drug?

  • Monique
    Monique Member Posts: 12
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    Ruby Tuesday - what is MSM?

    I also am curious about the hair loss, mine is just starting to come back in after chemo.

  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624
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    Yes, one of the listed possible side effects is hair thinning.  Mine is returning after chemo, but I notice that it's not as thick as it was before chemo (my last tx was this past July).  I've been taking biotin and silica for hair and nails.  Don't know if it's actually helped, but it hasn't hurt!

    Regular exercise really does help with the aches which can accompany Femara.  I'm always quite stiff in the a.m. but a hot shower takes care of that.  However, it's my hands that ache most of the time, and I've recently noticed stiffness in the middle fingers of both hands.

  • Shelby
    Shelby Member Posts: 3
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    I am sure it is different for everyone, but it took about a month for SEs to kick in with me...the first 6 months were the worst, then the hot flashes, night sweats, unbelievable tiredness, and some of the aches and pains receeded.   I remember thinking one day about a year later...hey, I feel pretty "normal" today".  It was a milestone for me.   I have been taking Femara for 2.5 years now....still have an occasional hot flash and live with joint pain.  Just recently, I discovered a weird pain killer.....Alka Seltzer.  I had a tummy ache and took the 2 Alka Seltzers and got a great nights sleep.  Didn't think much about it and then I took them again....hadn't use Alka Seltzer in years....felt pretty good.....I decided to check the ingredients....the equivenlant of 2 aspirins.   Don't know what my dr will think when I see him again, but I am hooked on Alka Seltzer now.  

  • elisabeth
    elisabeth Member Posts: 28
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    Hi Shelby.  I'm so glad that your ses subsided.  Here, again, is my vanity question - did you have hair thinning and/or loss? Also, is Femara what you started on or did you switch from something to Femara?

     Thanks so much. e 

  • kerry_lamb
    kerry_lamb Member Posts: 77
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    I've been on femara for about two months and cannot believe the Watch Out!! hot flashes and foot pain. My hands also went to sleep about 10 times per night. Talk about sleep deprivation! Anyway, I know it's early days and I am giving this my best shot. I doubled my glucosamine tablets to 3000mgs and voila! no more painful/numb hands. It has definitely helped with the 'broken' feet as well, and I know this because I have tested it by not taking it. Also, I am currently experimenting with taking a half tablet at 7pm and a half at 7am. I'll keep y'all posted on that..maybe in about 10 days. I am attempting to quit drinking tea, especially after 4pm. I drink a lot of strong pot tea and it definitely increases the hot flashes. I'm considering (and lamenting) giving it up all together...sigh...but despite the hype, drinking a sea-load of it throughout my life made not one tap of difference to me getting/not getting cancer! And I'm including green tea here; it differs only in name from black tea in terms of antioxidants, caffeine and diruetic effect. (I drink that all day at work.) Hope this femara biz keeps our blood clean, girls. Hang in there. XXX

  • Cheryl60
    Cheryl60 Member Posts: 3
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    Hi Everyone...I started Femara exactly 1 week ago. And I might add with great anticipation from what I have read on it.  But so far, so good.  Some night sweats, but not too disturbing.  My oncologist dr. told me that only 1 in 7 women have SE's of hot flashes and bone/joint pain.  AND he also told me that for Femara, that's about it for the SE.  Hummm?  I guess, like everything to do with BC, all of us handle each phase of it differently.  Let us pray, that the SE's will be minimal and it truely does do its job.

    Best Wishes to all!  Cheryl

  • artsee
    artsee Member Posts: 701
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    HUMMMMM......I hope for you that it is true but......you won'tsee total side effects till about two month. So just in case you won't be totally disappointed like I was. It was a breeze and then.....whamo. But like you said, we are all individuals.Good luck.

  • Shelby
    Shelby Member Posts: 3
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    I started on Femara and no, I haven't had any problems with hair loss.

    Because I caught the lump early, I didn't take any chemo or radiation either.....just Femara.

  • miami
    miami Member Posts: 1
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    I HATED ARIMIDEX AND I HATE FEMARA. I'M 43 BUT FEEL 93! I WANT OFF!!!!!

  • hbernier
    hbernier Member Posts: 1
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    I agree, I hate Femara!.  I have been on Femara for 1 month and the side effects are terrible - numbness and tingling in my fingers, terrible joint and muscle pain, night sweats, and feeling like I am 100 years old.  This is not what I expected.  Chemo was a breeze compared to this. I am seriously considering taking my chances with breast cancer versus feeling like this for who knows how long!  Has anyone tried acupuncture to manage the side effects of this med?  I have a friend who has had great results using acupuncture to manage the numbness after chemo.

  • elisabeth
    elisabeth Member Posts: 28
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    Hi All.  I am on Arimidex and miami, I am right with you.  I keep pretending that I can make it, but I don't know how.  Also, I have gone to taking it every other day and cutting it to 1/2 or 3/4.  I'm doing the best I can.

    Acupuncture - I do it and it really helped me during radiation.  I'm not sure how much it is helping me now.  My rad onc (who is conservative, but open minded) did say that if you can find a very good doctor of Chinese medicine he or she may be able to help with side effects.  I don't know though.

  • DDP
    DDP Member Posts: 2
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    I think accupuncture could help. I have had a lot of success with it myself for various problems.  I also take a herbal tincture for hot flash. I agree that a Chinese medicine doctor, or naturopath could help.

  • NatsFan
    NatsFan Member Posts: 1,927
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    About acupuncture - Johns Hopkins Breast Center is starting a study to see whether acupuncture helps relieve the joint aches of AIs. I've contacted them and have asked to be considered for participation in the study.  If anyone else lives near Baltimore and is interested, the contact person isKarineh Shahverdi, 410-502-0462.  They had signs up all over the Breast Center when I was there on the 31st, so they're still looking for people.  Even if you end up being the group that's assigned to get "sham" acupuncture instead of the real thing, once the study is over after 6 months, you can get 4 real acupuncture sessions free from them.

  • Seashell49
    Seashell49 Member Posts: 11
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    Hi All,

     I am starting Arimidex tomorrow.  Switching from Tamoxifen since I had a hysterectomy in Nov. and am now post menopausal.  I don't want to take it!!!!  I am doing great on Tamoxifen.  I already have mad hot flashes since my hysterectomy... can they get even worse??? 

     Is Femara the same type of drug as Arimidex?  Also... my GYN offered me Effexor for the hot flashes but I do not want to fill myself with all of these drugs.  He said I could take Black Cohash... anyone take it??

     Thank You :)

    Sue

  • cp418
    cp418 Member Posts: 359
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    I just had my yearly Dexa Scan and have now been diagnosed with Osteopenia (age 52).  I've been on Femara since April 2006 and baseline Dexa Scan was in the high normal range.  I take 1600 mg Caclium with Mg daily and 6000 units of Vitamin D daily (increased from 4000 units Vit D daily).

    This makes me want to scream.  I walk 1-2 miles daily (tried jogging but had to stop from joint pain).  I am a physically active person working full time plus cleaning stalls and riding 2 horses. I eat healthy and organic with no red meat and poultry seafood only. 

     Looks like I need to get the Zometa infusion as I probably will not tolerate oral bisphosphonates due to hx of heart burn which still acts up on occassion. A legacy from getting chemo as I never had heart burn prior to chemo treatments.

    Any words of advise?  Cry

  • mobay1020
    mobay1020 Member Posts: 15
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    Hi all,

    I started on Femara last Tuesday and for the past couple of days have had horrible pressure in my bladder.  By the middle of the day I feel like peeing every 10 minutes.  Has anyone experienced this while on this drug?  I also had a Lupron shot yesterday as I'm only 37 and pre-menopausal. 

  • kerry_lamb
    kerry_lamb Member Posts: 77
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    Michele, same! An 'almost UTI' thing, I called it. I've been taking a half tablet at 7am and a half tablet at 7pm and so far, so good. I discussed this with my onc today and he's going to find out if it 'evening out' the dose will change the effectiveness of the drug. I'll keep all you Femara girls posted! XX

  • elisabeth
    elisabeth Member Posts: 28
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    Hi kerry_lamb.  I am very interested in hearing how your onc finds out the information about effectiveness of different dosing strategies.  Both my rad and med onc said there is no data on the effectiveness for those of us cutting the pills and the dosage (I cut mine in 1/2 or 3/4 but only take it once).  I think because you take the full dosage the effectiveness will be fine.  One of the things that is effected by cutting is the stuff that bonds the pill.  The bonding agent then is exposed and sometimes can upset one's stomach.  However, I know this about other meds so it might not be the case with Femara.

    Please let me know how he finds out so that I can tell my docs.

    Thanks so much. E