Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Join us October 17 for our Webinar: Beyond Treatment: Getting the Follow Up Care You Need Register here.
New Feature: Fill out your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...




  • Alyson
    Alyson Member Posts: 3,737

    Hi all

    Thought I would join in this thread. Have been on Femara for 18months. Yes I have experienced side effects but at times not sure if they are my rheumatoid arthritis flaring or the femara. Some of the drugs I take for the RA does cause reflux etc which has at times been dreadful.

    I am having a bad day today. Every joint is aching but then it is very humid. I do feel really miserable though, however I don't want to stop taking the AIs as the onc has refered to my dx as being poor prognosis and I want every chance to live for many years.

    My hair is still very thick but isn't growing as fast as before. Also have had periods of absolute exhaustion but once again what was the cause - the very demanding job I had or the femara. Or as a nurse told me, I had been through surgery, chemo and radiation so was suffering from fatigue which was something that happens and for some people is worse than others.

    Anyway I am still alaive and wish to be for a long time so I will continue to hit this thing with anything I can even if it causes some problems along the way.

    So hang in there girls  and hope things improve.


  • kerry_lamb
    kerry_lamb Member Posts: 77

    Hi Alyson! I hope you are able to put your feet up when you are feeling below your best.and that you are not still in a stressful job. And it's good to have a voice of experience here, too. XX

  • paras
    paras Member Posts: 7

    miami, I am now scared to death of femara, my dr gave me an rx for this very med. I am just worried about joint pains and arthritis which i have never had any joint or bone pains in my life. i hope this doesn't happen to me i will be taking this starting feb 20th  thats after my drs appointment chemo is finished i am glad i did it but i just am scared of the next step.

  • golfer779
    golfer779 Member Posts: 410

    Just wondering why Femara may be the drug chosen for some of us vice Arimidex? Will be asking my onc tomorrow. The bone aches are a PITA !!!

  • paras
    paras Member Posts: 7

    golfer779 i could make a choice my onco dr they are pretty much the same i chose femara luck of the draw would like to call a pharmist and ask which have the least se though they seem to know better than the onco dr.

  • Cheryl60
    Cheryl60 Member Posts: 3

    Hi alll.....I have a question to anyone who is taking Femera...Have any of you experienced the SE of Foggy Brain after starting it?  OMG...I am doing things that are just not me!  It's rather disturbing!  Forgetful, dont remember names and places, and to top it all off, put on my tennis shoes to go out shoppinig and then came home, took them off, and noticed that I'd put on 2 DIFFERENT shoes...Oh Good Grief...thankfully, they were similar in color...but my word, space city here!

    Is this normal SE???


  • dorothy1918
    dorothy1918 Member Posts: 1

    HI. I have been taking Femara for 5  Imonths.I have some pain in joints and mucsle but not bad.I have noticed that my stomach seems to be getting larger. Has any one else had this side effect or heard about it being a se? I am not gainning wait and have no pain. My se were worse in the first month or two then they seemed to calm down. thanks patti

  • Lynne
    Lynne Member Posts: 368

    I was on Arimidex for 2 years, then I switched to Femara because I couldn't stand the joint pain anymore. I lasted 3 months with the Femara. I couldn't take the feet pain, I could barely walk. I was ready to quit altogether, then my oncologist put me on Tamoxifen. I had never taken Tamoxifen because at a premenopausal 43, I decided to have a complete hysterectomy (ovaries, cervix, everything) 3 months after my radiation. I was on that for 3 months, then my high liver enzymes went higher, so I had to come off it (and all I had was hot flashes on it! darn!). Now I'm on Aramosin. It's been almost a week, and all I've noticed are these headaches everyday (I never have headaches!). If they continue or the awful joint pain comes back, I'm done. I've been on these pills for a little over 3 years now, and I've tried them all, I'll be done. I too am sick of feeling 90 instead of my late 40's!

    Good luck everyone!


  • edna1901
    edna1901 Member Posts: 1

    I've been on Femara for about two years and yes I've experienced joint pain, etc.  Didn't think too much about the pain thinking it was a side effect from the Femara but a couple weeks ago I went to my family doctor for my yearly checkup and the blood test came back indicating that I just might have an autoimmune disease.  I'll have a blood retest in three months including several other tests for RA and other autoimmune diseases.  Now I don't know and I hope Femara isn't the cause and maybe I'm okay but my question is, is anybody else having this problem?

  • bondiblonde
    bondiblonde Member Posts: 6

    I have been on Femara for 12 months after two and half years of Tamoxifen. Feet pain, my ankles, toes and soles of feet are really painful first thing in morning or after sitting for awhile.  My back aches but have always had that even pre BC.  I take fish oil and extra calcium. Tried glocosanime but didn't make any difference and is real expensive here.  I find exercise the best although sometimes I think I wont be able to manage but once I get going and my joints warm up its better. Definetly worse days that I dont walk. Have gained lots of weight around my stomach and no where else which is frustrating but would rather stick at that little pill if it prevents a recurrence.

  • Lories
    Lories Member Posts: 23

    Hi all, I have been following this thread since my oncologist plans to put me on Femara once my rads are done, which should be around the end of February.

    I am most impressed with the listing of vitamins and plan to stock my closet and start taking some now, especially the glucosamine.  I think I will wait until after my bone scan (not sure if those could affect it) but my oncologist also wants to put me on Zometa as a cancer fighting drug.  Someone on another thread had bone mets and a lot of pain and the Zometa really helped her out.

    Ruby Tuesday, thanks for your list of vitamins. 

    Kerry Lamb, I am also wondering what the experts say about splitting the pills.

    Thank you all for your advice.  I like being prepared and your comments have helped me tons so far.  Lori

  • LizM
    LizM Member Posts: 46

    I was on Arimidex for a year and switched to Femara which I have been faithfully taking for 18 months.  I started feeling symptoms from Femara approx 6 to 8 weeks after I started.  I had different symptoms with Armidex than Femara.  With Arimidex I had less joint/muscle pain but had abdominal pain and was always anxious.  With Femara I have a little more joint/muscle pain but I am calmer and sleep better.  I had hot flashes with both, mostly night sweats.  Since my 2d week of chemo as soon as I lay my head down on the pillow the hot flashes come.  I have been throwing my covers off and on all night long for over 3 years and it gets a little old.  My joint/muscle pain is mostly in my upper body (shoulders and neck) but my feet and hands hurt also.  The pain is doable and I think it is helped by exercising every day and taking aleve, tumeric and fish oil.  I was taking glucosomine and chondroitin but I ran out and didn't take for a while and noticed it made no difference so I stopped.  I notice a hugh difference if I don't take my one aleve every morning.  However, I really do function pretty well.  I am very active and work full time.  I just can't do heavy housework that involves lifting, stretching and bending down on the floor but I don't miss that anyway. 

  • Pattyb0639
    Pattyb0639 Member Posts: 5

    Hi everyone!  I was dx with stage 4 bc with mets to bone in Dec. 2006. There was NO surgery or radiation and I went immed. to Femara, Lupron, and Zometa.  At the 2 year mark, it was discovered that this tx is no longer working for me. I am now receiving radiation to a tumor on my spine and debating the next course of tx.  I would like to continue with AI's because chemo sounds like the "end of the road".  Any suggestions from anyone in this situation would be greatly appreciated.

    I also want to tell you that my experience with the Femara, Lupron, and Zometa has not been terrible.  I was thrown into menopause with this tx at the age of 53.  I suffered with night/day sweats initially and my hands and feet are stiff in the morning but generally that goes away fast.  I have taken glucosamine, magnesium, calcium plus Vit D and found that very helpful (and I do not take the full dosages recommended).  My biggest problem has been fatigue but the doc tells me that's not a reaction to the Femara.  So...I went for a sleep study and they determined that I have sleep apnea and will need a C-pap (something that blows air into your nasal cavity while sleeping).  I haven't started that yet but it's a heads-up to any of you that feel excessive fatigue.  Seems like it's always just one more thing...........hope this is helpful to those of you considering the Femara route.

  • KristyAnn
    KristyAnn Member Posts: 131

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been on Femara 2 weeks- notice a little soreness in back and occasionally legs but I am not sure it is the Femara as I had an abdominal hysterectomy 3 weeks before starting Femara. I am resuming the walking and exercise I did pre-hyst so hopefully that will help.

    I am such a cry baby right now though- cry at the drop of a hat---is that Femara or just depression from the last year? IDK but I am sure hoping it settles out soon. I have also noticed being a little more anxious and moody- again not sure if it is Femara or just a reaction to the past year.

    Kerry- how do you split those tiny little pills- I stared at mine today imagining you splitting it in two!

    I added glucosamine with MS to my daily regime today- my hubby is taking it too (he takes the chewables) in an effort to help with his sore ankles and feet.


  • Renee1959
    Renee1959 Member Posts: 3

    I started Femara about two weeks ago, too.  My Oncologist gave me a month supply.  I really didn't have any side effects until I went to my local Costco to pick up my first prescription and the cost was $350 for 30 tablets!  Talk about side effects...nausia, cold sweats, hot flashes, nearly fainted on the spot.  I was on Tamoxifin ($15) for about a year and then had a prophylactic hysterctomy and was switched to an aromitase inhibitor.  I had NO idea of the cost and my insurance (lifewise) has an RX plan, but they do not cover anti cancer drugs!!!!

    Is this what everyone is paying for this drug?  Any suggestions about ways to reduce the cost?  Thanks for your help, girls!

  • Renee1959
    Renee1959 Member Posts: 3


    I'm if your boat with the hysterectomy and Femara.  I started two weeks ago, too.  I've been feeling so weepy (and that's just not my style!)  Let's hope it passes!

  • Lories
    Lories Member Posts: 23

    Hi Renee - i am sorry i am still chuckling over your post.  having to pay for it sucks big time, but I love your reaction to picking up a scrip. 

    Why do they not cover anti-cancer drugs, excuse me but that is bull.  Can you send an appeal?  Often the people who run these things do not quite get it.  What insurance is that if I may ask? 

  • Renee1959
    Renee1959 Member Posts: 3

    Hi Lories - thanks for the reply.  This is my very first "blog" of any kind and it is amazing that I am communicating with a kindered spirit in Alaska!  My insurance company is Lifewise.  I will be on the phone with them tomorrow to discuss (and possibly beg, if necessary.)  Have you started your Femara yet?

  • kerry_lamb
    kerry_lamb Member Posts: 77

    Hey girls! Just a quick check in because I am taking a break from cancer lol!! I haven't reported back on the tablet splitting because I haven't heard a word from either the onc or my cuz the pharmacist. So I spent some time getting into the nitty gritty on a site called ( I hope!) and could not find an iota of info to say that it is detrimental in any way to split the tablet. I am still having melt-down hot flashes so yes! the anti estrogen thing is working alright. In addition to the calcium and double-glucosamine I have started taking coQ whatever. I keep reading about it in cancer-lifestyle type books. I'm also doing a 40 min walk/run every day without fail (it helps that it is summer here!). The upshot of all this is that about a month ago I could hardly walk on my feet by about 7pm. That was shite, to say the least. Now I am feeling great, feet-wise and energy-wise. I'm putting up with the hot flashes and managing to get some sleep with the help of a fan. Who can say about the improvement? It could be just that I have adjusted, or it could be the glucosamine or it could be the exercise (which some days, frankly, nearly kills me lol!) I don't know, but I feel as though I can do this now.  Kristy, I just bite them plain in half. I was cutting them by just pressing down on them with a very sharp knife, but they are fine to just bite.   Renee, that is absolute crap about the cost. Do you have a politician you can lobby? here in Australia I pay the subsidized price of $30 per month (normal price $180). And remember the Australian dollar is just over half the value of the greenback, so WTF?? I hate this...I bet you would find about 200 different prices for it, so what gives?   XXX 

  • KristyAnn
    KristyAnn Member Posts: 131


    My company prescription company covers Femara- my onc gave me a one month sample and a 3 month scrip- requirement for a repeated med is to go mail order. I filled out the forms and mailed it in and they are going to supply it like all other meds- 3 months for 62.50, Hopefully they will remind me via email to order the refills in time.

    I have noticed I am MUCH more sensitive to caffeine- cant drink tea or anything with caffeine after noon or I have a real hard getting to sleep- oh well, probably better for me anyway! I did buy some decaf tea so i can satisfy my thirst in the afternoons and evenings when Im tired of water.

    Im feeling better today- I think I am going to have to be really selfish on the exercise and sleep to manage the side effects of Femara!

    FINALLY back to my normal food after the hysterectomy- normally lots of veggies, nuts etc and I had to modify it post surgery- hopefully that will make me feel more normal!


  • PugMum
    PugMum Member Posts: 18


     Like KristyAnn, my onc gave me a 3-month prescription that I can mail in. It's much cheaper, so check and see if that's an option for you.Or have your onc call your insurance provider. She also prescribed Actonel or Boniva at the same time. When I took the prescription in the pharmacist told me it would be $120.00 for a one-month supply. I got changed to generic Fosomax (Phosomax?) at a cost of $9.00. I was on Effexor as soon as I was diagnosed and thought I could get off of it once rads were done. I'm realizing that I'm not a very pleasant person to be around if I'm not taking something for anxiety so I'm on the smallest dose possible, but it really helps. Of course, this could be from sudden menopause as much as anything. I've only been on the femara for about 3 weeks and I already am noticing joint pain. Especially in my hands and knees. Is that possible or am I just being a hypochondriac?  Renee, hope you get some financial relief. The last thing any of us need is extra anxiety from the insurance companies.


  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624

    Hi Kathy:

    No, you're not being a hypochondriac!  I've been on Femara since August and the hand aches started 2 weeks after I began.  Have since developed trigger finger (middle finger of both hands) and my entire body is stiff in the morning -- but a hot shower usually takes care of that.  I think that regular exercise is keeping my other joints from aching.  At any rate, it's certainly helped with the weight and cholesterol problems!

    I live in Canada, so can't help anyone out with the Femara costs -- but I'd suggest that, with the economy tanking, there should be some give and take on the part of pharmacies - drugs and dispensing fees.  Shop around!  Insurance companies, on the other hand........!


  • Lories
    Lories Member Posts: 23

    Hi Renee, greetings to Portland, we are thinking of retiring there, it is such a great city.

    I have not started femara yet, I just had rads #5 of 16, so will be done at the end of the month.  My oncologist just sent me for a dexa-scan today, baseline I guess, so he can monitor that.  I am hoping to go the Zometa route, so we shall see.

    Looks like some positive responses re femara and insurance, you may need to get your oncologist to go to battle with the insurance company.  Tamoxifen used to be the golden drug but not for us post menopausal anymore, and they jsut may need someone to set them straight. 

  • kritzy
    kritzy Member Posts: 4

    Hi everyone.  I think this is my first time posting here.  I started taking Femara right after Thanksgiving after taking Tomoxifen for a year.  I had a hysterectomy (ovaries and all) in October.  Around the middle of December I started noticing some joint pain.  It got worse, but I think I am managing it ok now with exercise and Glucosamine/Condroitin.  What is really causing difficulty for me, though, is that I am horribly moody and fuzzy headed.  My bosss mentioned to me today that I have been "missing things" lately.  I've been making mistakes, forgetting things, etc.  I'm not sure if its the drugs or the hysterectomy.  My doctor has asked if I want to try another AI, but I thought I would give Femara another couple of months to see if I can work through these side effects. 

     Is anyone else experiencing excessive moodiness and fuzziness?

  • KristyAnn
    KristyAnn Member Posts: 131

    I am having some moodiness - not sure if it is the Femara or the hysterectomy either, no fuzziness noticed- but I am still working part time from home while on medical leave.


  • trigeek
    trigeek Member Posts: 24

    Heya all,

    Been on femara for a couple of weeks now, was on Arimidex when I mentioned the night sweats, achy feet they switched me over. No difference, foot pain is even worse, my fingers are hurting even when I am swimming (grabbing water). But it makes me feel slightly depressed.

    Will keep on taking it, cant afford the gamble.

  • golfer779
    golfer779 Member Posts: 410

    Well after almost 6 months of taking Femara, I finally chatted with the onc, told him that my quality of life was getting less tolerable.  The aches in my hands, wrist, elbows and shoulder as well as my feet has become no fun at all.  These se's have been cumulative, and exasperated by having a Zometa infusion last week.

    I was told to stop taking my Femara for a period of about 4 days, see if I have any improvement, then would be given the option of possibly switching to Tamoxifan.  Anyone else been down the AI road to switch mid-stream to Tamoxifan?

    BTW, the Zometa infusion does have some se's of its own, but according to my onc, it should not have been effecting me almost a week after the infusion.

    Also, if anyone has gone off of their AI, how long did it take to feel some relief from the aches and pains?

    Thanks in advance for any input ... Carol

  • elisabeth
    elisabeth Member Posts: 28

    Hi Carol.  I have been on Arimidex for almost 4 months and have gone to taking it every other day.  I saw my med onc just a couple of weeks ago and here is what we decided.  I would try to struggle with the Arimidex a little longer, but he said if it was interfering with my daily activities to stop it and go on Tamoxifen.  Both he and my rad onc said that Tamoxifen is a good drug and the benefits from AIs in comparison to Tamox are very small.  My rad onc's wife has breast cancer and he thinks Tamox is really good.  He is also a hard core scientist so I value his opinion.

    Hope this helps a little.  I do hate the ARimidex.  E 

  • golfer779
    golfer779 Member Posts: 410

    Thanks Elisabeth ... been doing a bit of snooping the site here to see what has to say about Tamo over AI's for post menopausal women ... looks like either drug has benefit.

    Thanks for your input !

  • kritzy
    kritzy Member Posts: 4

    I have to admit I am pretty darn confused about the AI vs Tamox comparisons.  I've read that the AI provides almost a 20% better prognosis for reocurrance.  That is why I am trying to stick with the Femara.  I was on Tamox for a year before my hyesterectomy and wasn't getting enough sleep because the night sweats kept me awake.  Now, on the Femara, I'm not getting anywhere near as many night sweats, but I'm grumpy, confused and forget things.  My boss has commented it on it as well.  If I can't nip this in the bud, I am afraid I will have to go back to the Tamox.  My Onc suggested we try another AI, but I don't see how that will help.  It sounds like just a lot of the same side effects.