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Topic: For Arimidex (Anastrozole) users, new, past, and ongoing

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During, and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Jul 10, 2012 06:46AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 01:07PM by Moderators

nancyjac wrote:

I found a couple of older threads about Arimidex, but they covered a large time span with a gazillion posts, so I thought I would start a new thread for Arimidex/Anastrozole users.

I am starting on Anastrozole today. Plan is to take it for 5 years, possibly longer. I already have osteopenia and osteoarthritis (limited to one knee at this point), so I am most concerned about the bone and joint side effects. I'm already frustrated by finally having some energy and stamina back after chemo and radiation, but now I have trouble exercising due to the bum knee. I'm concerned about that getting to be even more of a problem on the Anastrozole.

Please share you experiences, side effects, questions etc. about Armidex/Anastrozole here.

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

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/6/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/6/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/9/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/28/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/9/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 28, 2012 08:27AM Lee7 wrote:

I'll second that.  As much as I don't like the SE's of Arimidex and am worried about my bones, it is a far easier ''pill to swallow" than cancer.    

Dx 10/2010, IDC, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 28, 2012 08:55AM kjiberty wrote:

Lee:  So true.  That's why I decided to "bite the bullet" and just get it over with and get the show on the road.

Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 28, 2012 09:36AM SusannahW wrote:

Good luck, I know u have the courage! Remember, many people have absolutely no side effects or just minor ones. Keep us posted.
Susannah

Dx 3/2012, IDC, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/27/2012 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 6/4/2012 Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2012 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/9/2012 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 28, 2012 12:09PM kjiberty wrote:

SusannahW: Thank you and I will.  I appreciate all your support.  Kiss
Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 28, 2012 12:49PM JO-5 wrote:

I will repeat what the others have said.....not everyone has a problem or at least not a bad one with Arimidex.

Truth be told I might have blamed Arimidex for a lot that was from some other reason. However, I can truthfully say I feel so much better being off it.... and it took a while.

My Dr. told me that I could not expect to put a chemical that strong in my body every day for five years - go off it and not expect my body to have some adjustments.

Someone asked how I kept my bones good? The dexa got much better after I got my D level up. I take a 250 MG calcium citrate every day that also has 250 D3, a 1000 iu D3, a multi vitamin that also has 200 calcium and 500 D3 and I've recently added an Omega 3 supplement, and a vegetarian B complex. I try to eat foods that have calcium in them and most days eat a yogurt, too.

I'm so glad to read that you all are taking your Arimidex. I am a real believer in it and like I said, if I had to, (God willing - I won't) I would take it again.

Hang in there.... It really is doable!

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
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Jul 28, 2012 10:50PM mkgutierrez wrote:

I just started taking it Arimidex yesterday.  I had a Bileteral Mastectomy and Oopherectoy on July 9 and am recovering still from that.  I just want to give everything recommended to fight this a chance.  I am hoping for little SE and appreciate all the info here.

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Jul 28, 2012 11:58PM nancyjac wrote:

I don't take a separate D3 supplement, but between my multi-vitamin and my calcium supplement I get 1300 IU vit D.  I also walk for an hour most every day with half of that being outdoor walking, so I get both the benifit of weight bearing exercise plus the extra vit. D from being outside.

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/6/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/6/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/9/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/28/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/9/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 29, 2012 03:38PM nanna wrote:

Is arimidex as good as femara at keeping down the return of cancer?

Dx 6/27/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, HER2+
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Jul 29, 2012 05:59PM ruthbru wrote:

Yes.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 29, 2012 06:37PM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Hi everyone, I'm new to this post (glad it was started-thanks!)

Ruthbru you are definitely an inspiration when it comes to this arimidex. Thank you for sharing your success with long term Arimidex us.

I started my Arimidex a couple months ago. I usually have issues with starting new meds and was really apprehensive. My MO told me that the most common immediate side effects he hears is headache and some achiness. He advised me to do a slow start of my arimidex-one every 3 days for a week then one every other day for a week then everyday. He said doing  it that way gives your body a chance to accept the new medicine. I ask my ddl who has a doctorate in pharmacy if that made sense and she said yes alot of doctors introduce long term meds that way now. I felt much better mentally not diving into it every night of the week with the slow start. Fortunately I had no problems with it so far. So if you are sitting there staring at your new AL but are afraid to start it, maybe a slow start will get you going.

Have any of you been told that any foods counteract the ALs? Pretty much the only thing I have seen so far is soy products.

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Jul 29, 2012 07:05PM deborye wrote:

JO-5~~~how long did it take to get better after you stopped taking Arimidex?  I finished Thursday the 26th.Laughing
~~~Deb~~~NEVER GIVE UP/NEVER SURRENDER**IDC 6mm & DCIS 7mm
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Jul 29, 2012 09:34PM kjiberty wrote:

Deboyre:  Congrats--and this is from someone who just started yesterday.  

2FriedEggs:  Did your doc recommend this dosage intially because you do have reactions?  My doc did not suggest it, and I just took my second one yesterday.  

Karen Surgery 3/12/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/19/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/25/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 7/25/2012 Breast Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 30, 2012 09:25AM 2FriedEggs wrote:

 kjiberty I'm really not sure if my Mo just starts some of the patients this way that are "apprehensive" like I was or if he does this for everyone. When we were discussing my need to take an AL I told him that I was concerned because of SE's and because I seem to have a low tolerance to meds. He said he would slow start me which would give my body time to adjust to the medication. He told me the nurse would explain it to me out front when she gave me my prescription so I got the feeling it was pretty routine at his practice. When I ran it by my phd-pharmacist DDL she kind of chuckled and said that alot of doctors do that with different  drugs that it was refered to in class as "start low, go slow". When I ask her why the chuckle she said that it was a very common intro to drugs among the geratric age groupto monitor SE's and interactions when starting a new drug, especially since they are on so many other medicines (she then very quickly covered herself with-"not that you are in that age group or anything"-lol.) But her thought was that the doctor wanted to introduce it into my blood streamand get me acclimated to it slowly since it is working to reduce my estrogen. She said in pharmacy school they learned that for some drugs  doing it that way seems to minimize early side effects. But she also saidthat since some people are so leary of starting a new prescription, it is one way to get people who are concerned to actually get started on the new drug with less apprehension and monitor how it's being tolerated. She kind of equated it to the reverse of when you are stopping a medication they will often ween you from it slowly only this is introducing it slowly. Kind of made sense to me. But if you aren't a head case about it like I was, I would just stick to what your doctor told you, but I know that I have seen others on the boards who said that they were just staring at their new AL prescription afraid to start it so they may feel better about checking into a slow start. Let's hope neither of us  have any side effects and how we started it will all be moot. lol

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Jul 30, 2012 09:43AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Hi 2friedeggs,
When you say slow start, are you talking about starting a lower dosage or taking it less frequently than daily? No pharmacists in my family but it's an intriguing idea, especially if it helps to allay people's fears. Wishing you no se's!
Caryn
PS: I have been on Arimidex for 8 months. I did have some stiffness in the knees and a few odd aches and pains, which I blamed on the AI but nothing too bad and it has diminished. I do take some supplements and exercise daily.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 30, 2012 10:03AM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Exbrnxgrl  I was just saying that my doctor started me on the Arimidex by having me take one pill (same dosage that I will stay on daily) every three days for a week then one every other day for a week then one everyday. It did allay my fear of getting started. Thats great that you have no major side effects-very encouraging. I don't have any that I can blame on  the arimidex yet but I have only been taking it a couple months.   (who is the adorable baby in your avatar?)

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Jul 30, 2012 10:04AM Mini1 wrote:

Not to wish any bad side effects on you, but just know that if you do experience untolerable SE's, there are other AI options. I had to switch from one that was horrible (for me-Anastrozole) to one that has virtually no side effects except that I have to take it early in the day to keep from having sleep issues. I just wanted you to know that if one doesn't work for you another may. Good luck. :-)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 30, 2012 10:15AM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Thank you Mini1  I am so glad you were able to make the switch to one that affected you less. I was pretty encouraged when my doctor said "there are several options so don't hesitate to tell me if you are having side effects that affect your daily life". He said that sometimes his patients are helped by just taking a short break from their al followed by a slow start while others changed to a completely different AL and had alot less side effects. So it is reassuring to hear from an actual patient like you that the switch worked. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I continue to tolerate the Arimedex for a while.
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Jul 30, 2012 10:36AM Mini1 wrote:

I switched from one to another with no break in between and started to feel better within a matter of days and was completely back to normal after about 10 days. Everyone is different, so maybe you'll be fine with it. Lots of people are. No reason you shouldn't be one of them. :-)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 30, 2012 10:59AM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Were any of you ever told to avoid any foods or over the counter meds or anything while taking the ALs?

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Jul 30, 2012 11:04AM ruthbru wrote:

Nope.

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 30, 2012 11:09AM 2FriedEggs wrote:

That's good to hear from you Ruthbru since you are our resident Arimedex expert! I just have this fear of something taking away the effectiveness. Are there any foods etc that you have avoided in general since your diagnosis like soy products etc?
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Jul 30, 2012 11:15AM JO-5 wrote:

deborye,

The moody depression lifted the very first month! It was like a veil lifted -- and I didn't even know (or admit) that I was depressed until I began to feel so much better, in that area. 

The digestive issues took a little longer, about 3-4 months. My BP went down and I was able to go to half a dose of my meds... in about 3 months. Alas my cholesterol is still too high but I did lose 18 of the little over 20 lbs that I gained on Arimidex and that took about 8 - 9 months.

To be completely honest I didn't began to really feel like myself until being off it a year.... but it was a gradual improvement all along. 

JO-5

Org dx 04 lumpectomy rads arimidex stage 1 grade 3 no nodes er+pr+her- 2014 rads induced angiosarcoma, wide excision 2015 angio recurrence, rt mast. Lat flap, 1/3 flap went necrotic, skin graft leg to chest Seeing dr every 3 to 6 months.
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Jul 30, 2012 11:49AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Twofriedeggs,
Thank you! The adorable baby is my 4 month old granddaughter, my first grandchild. I joke about this photo, calling it baby's first mug shot. It says, Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison 1968. My SIL is a huge music fan so she has many music group/artist onesies.
I do avoid soy in foods,in general, but am not scrupulous about it. I eat soy sauce in sushi, Chinese food etc, the occasional piece of tofu, but not everyday so I don't stress about it. BTW, the best medicine of all is my granddaughter!
Caryn

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 30, 2012 12:29PM 2FriedEggs wrote:

exbrnxgrl  You are so blessed-what a dollbaby! That's funny about the mugshot- I don't know-she looks like she 's going to be able to get away with murder.Maybe she'll be a famous musician then if she is wearing those onsies. I bet she is the best medicine for you.      I've been trying to cut back on the soy too as thats the only thing I've seen mentioned but more in general in connection with bc rather than Als. (Well that and alcohol.)
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Jul 30, 2012 12:52PM Mini1 wrote:

My doctor recommended hormone-free food before I was even diagnosed. Besides going gluten-free, I cannot eat any packaged food with more than 5 ingredients and I have to be able to recognize them. The vitamins don't count thankfully. I cheat one in a while and have a GF cookie or brownie, but I stick pretty much to hormone free, very lean meat - no deli meats or other processed meat, fruits, and veggies. It was a little hard at first. I felt like the the food on the shelf was mocking me when I went shopping, lol, but the trade off was so worth it. I feel sooooo much better. She said I may be able to add some "high quality" wheat products in the future, but I don't think I will. I feel so good now, I really don't want too. Well maybe a hanburger in an actual bun, but that's it. :-)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 30, 2012 01:14PM SpecialK wrote:

Here is a link from PubMed for Arimidex (Anastrazole), and also a link for a foods list for ER+ BC patients:

http://foodforbreastcancer.com/articles/what-should-hormone-receptor-positive-(er%2B-slash-pr%2B)-breast-cancer-patients-and-survivors-eat%3F

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000982/#a696018-specialDietary

I switched from Femara (Letrozole) to Arimidex (Anastrazole) about a month ago and have found that I have less aching and insomnia.  However, I also radically changed my diet to exclude gluten and all processed food so cannot attribute the reduced aching to the drug change alone. 

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3
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Jul 30, 2012 01:24PM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Thanks special K that's just what I was looking for only  didn't want such a long list of things to avoid! lol

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Jul 30, 2012 01:31PM SpecialK wrote:

The first list is the list of good stuff, the second is the list of stuff to avoid which isn't too bad.  When you combine foods to avoid, bad ingredients in cleaning products, makeup, lotion, shampoo, etc. it does seem like living in a bubble is the answer sometimes!  I am sure that like anything else once you get the system down it gets easier, right?

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3
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Jul 30, 2012 01:45PM 2FriedEggs wrote:

Some of you are so good at all this changing foods and products. I see black tea on the avoid list which surprised me but was glad not to see coffee or green tea. However. I'm kind of like clara in the old Wendys commercial "where's the beef!?" Unfortunately beef,pork and bacon, my favorites, are on the avoid list. lol 

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Jul 30, 2012 02:00PM Mini1 wrote:

I'm am, or was I should say, a big beef eater. I still allow myself a little high-quality, hormone-free, grass fed beef, but surprisngly, I don't miss it much. I'd much rather have a ground chicken burger (lean, no skin included). Just be careful about chicken or turkey.  A lot of companies grind them up skin and all which can make them higher in fat than their leaner beef counterparts. Also, many chickens have been genetically altered to have bigger breast because white meat is more popular. They also fill them up with hormones. I'm lucky that we have both an organic source and Amish birds available to us.

Also, thanks for the links above. I'm always loking for good food info. :-)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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