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Arimidex

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  • je1957
    je1957 Member Posts: 10
    edited February 2011
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    My doctor said 5 years, too.

    I have only been on this drug for 7 days and have had terrible heartburn the last few days.  Anybody else have this se?

  • grneyd5600
    grneyd5600 Member Posts: 18
    edited February 2011
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    Maybe it is also adjusted based on Stage and age.  I am a stage IIIA and did have lymph node involvement.  I was only 47 at DX and had just had my oopherectomy 3 months before my DX.  If your onc said 5 years than I would think they know what is best.  I absolutely recommend asking them at the next appt. 

  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited February 2011
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    je1957

    Heartburn is/was a SE effect for me as well.  I've been on a proton pump inhibitor (Nexium, Prilosec etc) since a month into my Arimidex journey.  Unfortunately, the PPI's  prevent calcium carbonate from being viable in the body since it needs stomach acid to become absorbed into the body.  If you end up on a PPI, make sure that you take calcium citrate as it can be absorbed without stomach acid.  I love adding more drugs to counteract one drug.  Good-luck!!

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    I changed oncologists this winter (due to a move). When I talked to my former doctor in July, he said that the long term studies are not done (should be soon), but from what he is seeing he could recommend continuing on for people depending on a number of factors; including their age (the younger the more apt he'd be to say continue), their stage and grade, and also how well they are tolerating the SE, how well their bones are holding up. My new guy said he wouldn't recommend beyond 7 years at this point.

  • toni30
    toni30 Member Posts: 68
    edited February 2011
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    My onc said we'll start with 5 years,but by then, we will have more data  to help decide whether to go longer. She's a very good onc.

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,520
    edited February 2011
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    I saw my onc today for 3 month check up...I stopped taking AI's in March 2010 after enduring them for 3 1/2 years.  At the end of my visit, my onc said  to let him know if I ever wanted to try an AI (or tamox) again...I told him I doubted I would, but if I did, how long would I have to take it....{he says that your not covered when not taking it (duh!!)}...but his answer was get this 5 years!!!!! and possibly 10!!!!  Forget the number of the study, but onc said I think 4000 women  were enrolled...the study is now closed and it will take several years to have the definitive results....but the thinking is leaning to 10 years!!!!!   I made a comment about another 5 years and at least he said, if having problems stop....thats when I said, I endured 3 1/2 years....and onc agreed with that comment.....So he will continue to watch me closely....but I graduated to 6 month visits....I wondered if/when that would ever happen....he looked through my file and when he said Feb 2006, he goes come back in 6 months......Needless to say, I am happy about less frequent visits....and at this point in time have no desire to take AI's....

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    I think a person's feelings about extended use of arimidex depends primarily on what kind of SEs one has had on it. Mine have been minimal; so thinking about going off makes me very, very nervous. If I had horrible SEs, no doubt I would feel the opposite.

  • je1957
    je1957 Member Posts: 10
    edited February 2011
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    Thanks, wenweb, for the info.  I said the exact same thing to my husband...here we go, one drug causes something so you have to go on another, and so on and so on....  Before my Mom passed away, she was taking 10 pills a day.  I said I would never let that happen to me.  I'm hoping this heartburn subsides!

  • JanetT52
    JanetT52 Member Posts: 5
    edited February 2011
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    My Oncologist was going to let me decide if I wanted to stay on or quit Armidex since I was right in the middle, not high or low risk.  But in 2009 I had a colon cancer scare which turned out okay, but he decided it was in my best interest to stay on it afterall.  So last year when my 5 years were up, I didn't quit.

    Have failed back surgery and osteoarthritis plus neuropathy (from Taxol), so it's hard to tell if my pain is from SE or my other medical problems.  Have trouble sleeping, but that could be side effects from other meds I take.  Was hoping to get off because it costs so much.   

  • suzie14
    suzie14 Member Posts: 208
    edited February 2011
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    I just finished 5 years of Arimidex and will never go on it again because of the ir-reversible side effects I am dealing with.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    Janet, I hope you have switched to the generic. It is way, way cheaper & has exactly the same formula.

  • nana3
    nana3 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2011
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    I just started arimidex two days ago and already have terrible heart burn, didn't know this was a side effect.

  • annettek
    annettek Member Posts: 1,160
    edited February 2011
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    this is a bit of an odd quandry I find myself to be in...I couldn't take the arimidex after that one killer dose but underscoring my sensitivity to any and all things of a medicinal nature...it appears my regimen of alternatives (DIM, grapeseed, etc) is working a little too well. Full blown SEs that I last "enjoyed" during menopause..it relieves me but now I am going to get another hormone panel to see how low everything is and perhaps pull back a little on the dosing. Of course none of the SEs evenapproach the harshness of the arimidex...these are uncomfortable  but liveable without freaking me out. I had already had my cholesterol spike a bit during menopause and I am sure it will now do it again, but I will test all that and see what I need to do anymore in my diet and excercise to bring that down as well.It is amazing what are bodies do.

  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited February 2011
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    nana3  As you can see from the posts directly above, the heartburn topic was brought up.  Sorry to hear that after only 2 days you are suffering from heartburn.  I have been on A for 13 months and it began after the 1st month.  Thought it was under control, but it's been roaring it's head again.  I doubled my dose of omperazole and after only one week doing that, it came back last night.  This is not ordinary heartburn either.  It's a sharpish pain in the center of my sternum and it radiates like fingers on either side.  I also feels like there is something the size of an egg stuck in my windpipe.  If I drink some water, it helps to settle it down, and then it becomes ordinary heartburn.  I am seriously wondering if I am going to stick this out for another 4 years.  My bone density is down and this intense heartburn can't be good.   I'm considering switching to Tamoxifen, but that scares me.  Any opinions?

  • annettek
    annettek Member Posts: 1,160
    edited February 2011
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    I had the the most hellacious heartburn I had ever had in my life two weeks back...with everything else reacting to the armidex dose and freaking me out I never put that with the armidex...i thought it was because I was so freaked out...I thought I was having a heart attack then just put it down to stress  -wenweb described it perfectly...ah, thanks for clearing that one up

  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited February 2011
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    anneteek  The first time it happened, I too thought I was having a heart attack.  And being the typical woman, thought I'd wait it out and see if something worse happened because I thought I'd sound like an idiot if I called my Dr.Embarassed  Now I know how heartburn got it's name!!
  • mailu
    mailu Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2011
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    i've been on Arimidex for 10 years, now have fatty liver disease, ongoing joint issues?  Anyone else?

  • pj12
    pj12 Member Posts: 18,108
    edited February 2011
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    Wow, Mallu! You must be an Arimidex pioneer! Can you share why your doctor as kept you on the drug for 10 years? Are you about to stop it or are you in for the long haul?

  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited February 2011
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    mailu I am so sorry to hear about about your liver issues.  Is this Arimidex related?  IMO Arimidex is still too new to know what the extent of the SE's can be.  At least Tamoxifen has been around longer and the SE's are well documented.
  • burley
    burley Member Posts: 248
    edited February 2011
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    Hello ladies-is it ok that I join?  I am starting Arimidex on Tuesday-strange day, my Onc told me to start it on the 1st. 

    I just had my ovaries and tubes out on Monday, so although I'm only 40, I'm in full blown menopause already.  The chemo had stopped my period anyway, and I've had horrible hot flashes for a year now because of that.

    I've been on Tamoxifen since August, and have experienced mild joint pain and stiffening.  But when I tested positive for the breast cancer gene, they decided to remove the ovaries...and here I am.

    I'm seriously hoping I don't experience the horrible heartburn-I've never been good with heartburn.  I'm not against going on something to help it though-what's one more pill!

  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited February 2011
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    burley: You are most welcome to join this thread.  I hope that you are recovering well from your surgery.  I haven't seen very much about the heartburn SE other than a few here and there, including mine.  I guess that compared to some of the SE's that heartburn shouldn't be one to complain about, but, it's very intense for me.  Prior to this experience, I only had heartburn when I was pregnant.  Due to some other problems, I am considering switching to Tamoxifen even though I am postmenopausal.  At the least, make sure that you take the Arimidex when you have food in your stomach.  Good-luck!!
  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    Just see how it goes. I take my every morning without food (yes, I am a bad person who doesn't eat breakfast...unless a cup of coffee counts) and haven't had any trouble with it.

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757
    edited February 2011
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    burley, I haven't had the problems with severe heartburn that others have described here.  I do get an occasional acidy feeling, but it's been mild. 

    It's odd that the acid feeling usually hits me during late afternoon, an hour or so before supper.  I take my Arimidex before I go to bed at night, so I am taking it on a fairly empty stomach; yet I don't get that "heartburn" feeling until about 18 hours later.  So I know it isn't the Arimidex in my stomach that's causing my problem.  It could be something completely unrelated in my case.  I am reluctant to take an acid inhibitor (Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, etc.) because those can contribute to bone thinning.  So I do the opposite:  I pop a couple of fruit-flavored Tums.  With that, I get 500 mg of calcium.  It's calcium carbonate, which isn't absorbed as readily as calcium citrate; and the calcium in calcium carbonate needs an acidic environment for absorption.  That's why it's recommended that we take calcium carbonate with a meal.  But, I figure, the reason I'm taking those Tums is because my stomach is acidy, so maybe they will contribute to my daily calcium requirement.

    What I am complaining about today is my midriff bulge.  I've finally had to admit that all of the weight I've gained since my BC dx has homed in on my stomach and waist, ... and it p*sses me off!  I found an old thread on the '60's forum that talks about belly fat.  Most of the women posting there suspected, or had been told outright by their docs, that Arimidex was causing them to gain weight more easily and it was concentrating at the waistline.  Sheesh.  Just what we need.

    otter

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    crunches ladies, and more crunches!!

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757
    edited February 2011
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    ruth, how did you  know I like crunchy things?  Crackers, and popcorn, and shortbread cookies....

    Oh.  That isn't what you meant?  :(

    otter

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited February 2011
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    As Richard Simmons once said, "If you eat the munchies, then you gotta do the crunchies!" Wink
  • annettek
    annettek Member Posts: 1,160
    edited February 2011
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    Otter, your midriff and tummy woes are something a lot of us share when going through menopause regardless of arimidex...but like most of the other SEs on it, it is sometimes amplified from the Arimidex. The kicker in this is that afte estrogen production ceases following menopause, the whole point of taking the arimidex conteract whatever "bad" estrogens are converted from testosterone and CORTISOL IN OUR BELLY FAT...argh...that is what is nuts to me-the SEs from the friggin drug often helps amp up production of the very thing it is trying to inhibit.....the last thing I need is "help" growing a BC factor in my belly...I have had to fight hard since meno to offset the fat loving on my belly...my whole metabolism changed...anyway...this was just an FYI...

  • tinat
    tinat Member Posts: 2,235
    edited March 2011
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    Hi all,

    My NSBXM was on Feb. 16.  I just met my oncologist today and looks like I'll be joining the Arimidex gang.  She wants me to heal for a month or so more before starting it.  Meanwhile, will be getting baseline blookwork, bone density testing, etc.

    The oncologist mentioned osteoporosis, joint pain and vaginal dryness as the main side effects.  I've heard and read a lot about "brain fog" associated with Tamoxifen.  Is this an issue with Arimidex as well?

    Great to be here!

    Surgery:  NSBMX with TE 2/16/11

    Diagnosis:  Left ILC, 8mm, Grade 1b, SBR Score 5/9, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2 -

    Second area of lobular neoplasia and multiple foci ADH

  • 1xmastree
    1xmastree Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2011
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    I have been on arimidex since 12/2010.  Hands are hurting very puffed and stiff.  Hard to even write.  Doc took me off and will start tamox.......

  • 1xmastree
    1xmastree Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2011
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    Hi roxy

    that stuff made my hands hurt. Problems sleeping as well.