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Arimidex

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  • wenweb
    wenweb Member Posts: 471
    edited March 2011
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    1xmastree Please let me know how you do on the Tamoxifen…I may be switching.  
  • burley
    burley Member Posts: 248
    edited March 2011
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    Well I've been on it for only 3 days and haven't noticed any difference from the Tamoxifen (was supposed to start it a week ago but caught the nasty flu).  Maybe I'll notice some side effects once it builds up in my system.

    I take it in the morning usually with just a couple cups of coffee in my stomach-no problems so far.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited March 2011
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     I went to a very interesting speaker the other day. She is a doctor, nutrition specialist, and an eleven year breast cancer survivor. Here are some of her tips for staying healthy:

    1. We all know we should eat more fruits & veggies, whole grains, less red meat, processed food etc. so I am not going to go into any of that.

    2. EVERYONE should be taking a multi-vitamin. Make sure it says ‘Complete' on the label. Make sure it contains iodine, Vitamin K, selenium and folic acid along with all the other good stuff. Interesting facts about why multi-vitamins are important:

    * older women with the lowest levels of vitamin B-12 were at the greatest risk for breast cancer

    * taking acid-blocking medications make you less able to absorb B-12

    * she recommends 400 mcg of folic acid a day. It works with the B-12 (studies have found that folates may help to make chemo more effective and decrease side effects)

    * B 6 is important in lowering the risk of breast and colon cancer

    * she recommends 90 mg of vitamin C

    * 30 iu of E

    3. Omega 3.....either eat oily fish twice a week or use fish-oil supplements (make sure it says EPA and DHA approved) 1000 mg a day. It's associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory disease, depression and more.

    4. Vitamin D....a big deal.....she recommends getting it tested (should be between 40-50 ng/dL). She recommends 2000 iu a day to maintain a good level. Many, many conditions are associated with low vitamin D; heart attack, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness, asthma, diabetics, multiple sclerosis etc. etc. etc. There are over 200 different body tissues that have been identified so far that have receptors for the vitamin D hormone and they need it to work properly.

    * adequate Vitamin D levels has been shown to reduce the side effects of taxol based chemotherapy

    * Adequate Vitamin D has shown to reduce the side effects of aromatase inhibitors

    * start with a multi-vitamin, drink milk, eat yogurt (check and make sure it has vitamin D added), and most people will also need a supplement to keep that high of levels

    5. Vitamin K, should get 100 mcg a day. Check your multi-vitamin, not all of them have it added.  Inadequacy leads to an increased risk of various cancers, hear disease, osteoporosis and kidney problems.

  • don23
    don23 Member Posts: 213
    edited March 2011
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    Thanks Ruth for all that info! You are always give such great advice.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited March 2011
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    I'm a teacher, so I like to share Smile.
  • burley
    burley Member Posts: 248
    edited March 2011
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    Has anyone experienced mood swings, or remembers experiencing mood swings when you first started?  whoa.

    In general, I have just felt yucky.  Upset stomach, headache, extremely tired.

    Oh, and some severe dry skin!  I haven't read that to be a side effect.  Weird

  • grneyd5600
    grneyd5600 Member Posts: 18
    edited March 2011
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    Burley - I have had the extreme tiredness and the dry skin.  Actually everything I own is dry if you know what I mean Wink  I am searching for the right thing to help with it but no luck so far. 
  • patoo
    patoo Member Posts: 5,243
    edited March 2011
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    burley - yes, others have reported the moodswings.  Check out the other Arimidex SE thread; the latest posts have been talking about it.  Not everyone gets them, but then we don't all have the same se's.

  • sobx
    sobx Member Posts: 108
    edited March 2011
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    I was put on the generic pill 5 months ago and haven't seen any difference. Still have achey joints and dry skin. I just keep moving and if the joint start hurting too much I pop ibuprofen. My main problem now is that I am noticing that dairy products - milk and cheese - give me gas. I haven't figured that one out. Been using cocnut oil on my skin and cetaphil lotion. Go back to the Dermatologist next month and see what they say. I'm just getting ready for warmer weather. Seems that it has been a long winter. Everyone have a great day.

  • burley
    burley Member Posts: 248
    edited March 2011
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    My fingertips and the tips of my toes have literally peeled off.  And now it's starting on the palms of my hands.  I saw my oncologist for a checkup and he didn't know if it was a side effect or not, and told me to use more lotion.  Duh.  I have a friend who works for a dermatologist and she said they would give me a topical steroid creme.  Not sure if I want to go that route of not.

    I have noticed more aches and pains than when I was on the Tamoxifen.  Fun.

  • tinat
    tinat Member Posts: 2,235
    edited April 2011
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    I'll be starting Arimidex soon.  I am post-menopausal so discussed the pros and cons of Tamoxifen and Arimidex.  Because I've had a history of blood clots, the oncologist and I decided that Arimidex was a better drug to try first.

    Meanwhile, I had my baseline DEXA scan.  I asked the imaging center for a copy of the report, which I just received.  Hips are fine, but the lumbar spine report mentions severe osteopenia in L2 with "moderate risk for non-traumatic fracture".  On the last one I had (6 years ago) that area was in the low-normal range.   

    I know someone who took Tamoxifen and almost immediately had bone loss so sounds like it's an issue with both drugs.  Anybody else out there start on either of these hormone blockers knowing that their bone density was not great even before starting?  My friend was put on one of the bone building drugs (like Boniva?) almost immediately after starting Tamoxifen.

    I take calcium and eat dairy.  Perhaps a request for physical therapy is in order to select some good weight-bearing exercises for the lower back and to prevent hip problems??? 

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited April 2011
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    Ask to get your vitamin D checked. Definitely do weight bearing exercises. Walking is great and easy, also some light weights. A friend of mine went into arimidex with osteopenia, she was already on Boniva before BC. She has been on arimidex for 4 years and her bones have held up fine. I have another friend who has quite severe osteoporosis and her oncologist put her on tamoxifen instead.

  • beau
    beau Member Posts: 149
    edited April 2011
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    Hi All,

    I am a relative newbie - I have been on Arimidex for only 2 months. I had TCX4 chemo before that.  I have a lot of joint pain and carpel tunnel in both wrists, which I feel sure are related to the medicine. I am taking an NSAID and doing lots of exercise, yoga, etc as well as Vit D, calcium, B6, multivitamin. At the moment, I am trying to figure out if my side effects will calm down or if I should consider switching to another AI or Tamoxifen. Have folks had it better with time or worse?

     I also have a question for folks who have been on Arimidex longer: I seem to experiencing a sort of mental fog/feeling of "blahs", maybe even depression. It comes and goes, but seems to be a new and not so pleasant feeling. Have other folks had this, and if so, how have you managed it?  

    I wish everyone a s/e free day! Beau 
  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited April 2011
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    I would give it a good six months before I made any decisions on whether to change to something else or not (unless your SE are really, really horrible, of course). It does take your body awhile to adjust not just to arimedex, but everything else that is going on. I think that part of the 'blues', for me anyway, came from the realization that this is never going to be something that I'm not dealing with, even when I am done with anti-hormonals, and even if I stay perfectly healthy; I'll still be dealing with it mentally....that is hard.

    edited to add that how I deal with it is to just live; keep busy, be open to new experiences, challenges etc. that way it can't stay at the top of my mind because I have too much else to think about and do!

  • kt57
    kt57 Member Posts: 75
    edited April 2011
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     beau,

    It takes about a year after chemo to feel completely well again. I had TCX6.  Been on Arimidex for close to two years - the first year was the toughest - hand and foot pain, joint aches. I took tylenol arthritis for the first year.  All is better now...only an occasional stuck trigger finger.   I agree with ruthbru -- give it a little time.   Try tylenol or ibuprophen - see if that helps.  

  • duckyb1
    duckyb1 Member Posts: 9,646
    edited April 2011
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    Why is it the cure almost friggin kills you.............You take the Als to keep cancer from recurring, that makes the joints hurt, gives you headaches, you can't sleep, you get hot flashes, bone loss, and stomach upset.......................should I continue........oh yea, and take Tylenol Pm, or Advil PM to either sleep, or stop the aches at night, and you kill your liver......oh yea, that can happen too........a friend of mine shot her liver doing just that...........or they put you on more medication to stop the bone loss........have you even watched and listened to one of the commercials for that medicine...................trust me I worked for 15 years for a major pharm Co. in the marketing research dept.........I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl about the SE of medicine.............Now you could take one of the NSAID's for your achy joints too, but that could also "eat a hole in your stomach", so what do we do.....................If we want to live, take our medicine...........deal with the SE's.................or take something else for the SE's, which can make you feel worse, or cause another problem down the line................I never took medicine in my life other then an aspirin for headache....................now I feel like a friggin walking Pharmacy.........and I haven't even started the sh-t yet........I go to the Onc on Thursday......................Then to the person on Friday that is going to fry me................Ok, sorry, guess I'm just having a bad day..........thanks for listening ladies........I feel better now........think I'll go to bed................hugs.

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited April 2011
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    Hang in there, Ducky! Believe it or not, it does get better (or at least easier).

  • TokyoSing
    TokyoSing Member Posts: 27
    edited April 2011
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    Hi Ducky, sorry you are feeling so bad.  It does get better. Would you consider alternative methods of alleviating pain or to help you sleep?  I found that with acupuncure, I do not need my pain killers as much.  With yoga, I sleep much better. 

  • duckyb1
    duckyb1 Member Posts: 9,646
    edited April 2011
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    TokyoSing......................Love acupuncture..............did it for lower back pain before I found out I had cancer,,,,,,,and loved it..............The woman I go to is fantastic, and I am a believer......once I get into this "crap", I will check to see if it is ok to go back to her..............It is the best... Prayers to the people of Japan............My heart goes out to you............Good thoughts from your American friends.

  • grneyd5600
    grneyd5600 Member Posts: 18
    edited April 2011
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    Ducky - hang in there!  But I must admit when I read your post I almost thought you stole my thoughts right out of my head.  I am so frustrated with the need to take a pill to take a pill.  Some days I honestly believe the "cure" is going to be the death of me.  I just keep my eyes forward and keep pushing - I will do what I have to stay in "cure" column.  Hugs!!!!!

  • dogsandjogs
    dogsandjogs Member Posts: 677
    edited April 2011
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    TinaT: I am also post-menapausal and have severe osteoporosis (the bones of an 85 year old the doc told me when I was 70) Fosamax has helped somewhat - I now have osteopenia in most places, but still in danger of fracture due to osteoporosis in left hip. I broke my right hip 3 years ago.

     The onc wants to put me on Aromasin (had lumpectomy in Feb) I told him about my bone problems and he said Aromasin was the "least bad" on bones.

    I am really reluctant to be on any of the AI's but since I turned down radiation (worried about heart & lung issues) I guess I should at least "try".  Also worried about the effects on the liver as I already take 3 drugs for Atrial Fibrillation. All these drugs can't be good for an aging liver (I'm 75 now)

  • tinat
    tinat Member Posts: 2,235
    edited April 2011
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    srbreastcancersurvivor: It just doesn't get any easier, does it?  I'm still waiting for my Oncotype DX results and will talk over the DEXA results with the oncologist at that time.  I filled the Arimidex prescription, but haven't started it yet.

    It seems there's never a "right" answer, only a "best" answer.  We gather as much info as possible and make what feels like the best choice at the time.  Good luck!

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited April 2011
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    sr....a friend of mine also has severe osteoporosis; she met with an endroconologist as well as her oncologist (at her request) and together they decided to go with tamoxifin instead as that is better on the bones. It is at least worth checking out.

  • lindajbar
    lindajbar Member Posts: 10
    edited April 2011
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    Hi there,

    New to Arimidex. Tried Femara for a week. Blood pressure went crazy and I am already on blood pressure med so Onc. wants me to try Armidex. The women on the Femara thread had success with taking Femara at night. It seems from this thread that it doesn't matter for the Arimidex. Any one have any knowledge about Armidex and blood pressure? Nervous but need to give it a try. Thanks. 

  • ruthbru
    ruthbru Member Posts: 47,031
    edited April 2011
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    Eat 2-3 ounces of at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate every day to help lower blood pressure!!!

  • sandiddstn
    sandiddstn Member Posts: 6
    edited April 2011
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    Linda....I am on bp pill called Lisinopril and been on Arimidex for a month now....so far so good, (said with fingers crossed).  Not sure what meds you are on...I take Arimidex in morning and bp pill at night that is what works for me... Hope this helps...  Love what Ruth said about chocolate though going to give it a try...anything for chocolate..:)

  • lindajbar
    lindajbar Member Posts: 10
    edited April 2011
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    Thanks Ruth,

     I will give it a try! 

  • lindajbar
    lindajbar Member Posts: 10
    edited April 2011
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    Sandi,

     Have you ever tried to take the pills together? I was planning to take them in the morning? Always take my BP pill in the morning. I am on benicar/hctz.

    Linda 

  • beau
    beau Member Posts: 149
    edited April 2011
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    Hi Linda,

     I noticed that my blood pressure was going up - 140/92 which is high for me. It has happened in the past from time to time so it might be the Arimidex, it might not. I went back on 1/2 pill of Avapro, which seems to be doing the trick For what it is worth, Avapro seems to relax me a bit as well, although it does aggrevate my dry eyes/rosacea a bit (nothing terrible) so it seems there are always trade offs to be made. Good Luck!! 

  • sandiddstn
    sandiddstn Member Posts: 6
    edited April 2011
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    Linda... No I have not taken both at the same time... Only been on Arimidex for 7 weeks now and when I started it I took it in morning...  If you do let me know how you react to it, please...

    Beau..you are soooo right, there always seem to be a trade off somewhere.. but as long as it keeps me here I'll try anything  :)