Jul 21, 2019 03:31PM Rosanne7 wrote:
Peregrinelady, That's a good idea -- I'll try magnesium powder earlier in the day. Thanks! What kind of tea do you mix it with?
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
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
Posts 16381 - 16410 (17,200 total)
Jul 21, 2019 03:31PM Rosanne7 wrote:
Peregrinelady, That's a good idea -- I'll try magnesium powder earlier in the day. Thanks! What kind of tea do you mix it with?
Jul 21, 2019 10:09PM Peregrinelady wrote:Roseanne, I put it in Throat Coat tea with lemon and aloe Vera juice. I have acid reflux and quit taking Prilosec when I was diagnosed. Hopefully this combination will keep my throat healthy.
Jul 22, 2019 07:51AM MamaOz wrote:
I see you switched to the real deal. I have been on it since Oct 2017. With Eagle pharm Typical aches but doable
My main concern is the bone density thing.. i know youve been getting the prolia shots. Any umprovement on your scans?
Im still being a weeny on taking anything. And have osteopenia
Jul 22, 2019 08:48AM Rosiesride wrote:
Hey @Pontiac Peg! Haven't been on here in a while as I started anastrozole 2015 after a year of tamoxifen...I also take Claritin for bone pain but I do need extra for allergies so I will take Benadryl...super itchy eyes!
Just got results of bone scan and have osteopenia. My question is about a shot of a drug for this (started with a P? But don't know there name of it🙃). Wonder if I should get the shot , once every 6 months or a daily pill. Anyone else have this choice from doc? I am replying to an older post from Nov. 2018...not sure where this will post on the site! Have a good day !! Rosie
Jul 22, 2019 08:54AM MissouriCatLady wrote:
I may look into this Natural Calm. Has anyone had trouble with leg cramps taking anastrazole? I went from one magnesium to two and am still having trouble. I've been on this for almost 3 months now and the leg cramps have just come up in the last few weeks. I wanted to mention too, I did get a prescription for brand-name Arimidex from Eagle Pharmacy (haven't started it yet). Eagle Pharmacy called me Saturday, telling me they had my metoprolol prescription, would I like them to fill that for $30? I'm not sure where they got the prescription from, but I get all my regular meds locally, paid for by my insurance, and that caused me a little concern. Best wishes to everyone, thanks, Lisa
Jul 22, 2019 09:54AM Diveslikeagirl wrote:
Rosie, MamaOz: I made my decision about taking bone strengthening drugs based on research that indicates bisphosphonates may help to prevent recurrence in bone. My last scan showed osteopenia and my MO agreed to prescribe alendronate. I take it once a week and haven't had any side effects that I can pin on it. I've included a link to a BCO article with more detail. I also do a lot of resistance training (before and after diagnosis). Just my two cents. Your mileage may vary.
Jul 22, 2019 11:20AM PontiacPeggy wrote:
RosiesRide, Finding out I could take Benadryl with Claritin was huge for me. Claritin does nothing for my allergies. I take Fosamax for my bones and so far there has been no change in my osteopenia. Some people take Prolia injections. When I go off anastrozole in October, my MO wants me to continue the Fosamax for another 6 months. Then we will decide if I should continue it or not. BTW, Fosamax is once per week. You have to remain upright for 30 minutes and no eating but drink lots of water (no coffee, sorry). I take it first thing in the morning. I have had no problems with it. Supposedly it helps prevent bone mets. I think it is worth a try.
Jul 22, 2019 11:52AM HikingLady wrote:
Rosiesride I was diagnosed with osteopenia before starting Anastrozole. I have a bisphosphonate called Zometa infused every 6 months. Zometa also offers some protection against bone mets. My MO recommended this plan for the convenience of not having to take another pill, and because it has this added benefit.
The day after my infusion (I've had 2 so far), I feel a bit slow and tired, and I need a nap. Not much energy, like fighting off the flu. I drink A LOT of water that day to help it along, as is recommended. The day after that, I'm back to totally fine and normal. Infusion takes 45 min or so. The day of the infusion, I also have some labs (blood draw---I can't remember what he checks for, but something!) and then my MO sees me (check-up visit, discuss how I'm doing, discuss what the labs show in the blood work-up) and then I have the infusion.
Jul 22, 2019 12:16PM SUPer52 wrote:
I may have posted this already, but.....I also receive the Zometa infusion since I already had osteopenia prior to starting anastrazole and because of the slight protective benefit against bone mets that it may provide. I had my first infusion a few weeks ago, and like HikingLady, I felt some minor flu-like symptoms that started about 24 hours or so after the infusion. Nothing major- some chills, a low grade fever, a little achy, and fatigue. I took some ibuprofen and rested and was back to normal another day or so after that. I also had bloodwork about a week before the infusion for a complete metabolic panel, mostly to check for kidney function since the medicine is filtered through the kidneys and can be hard on them, which is why they give instructions to drink water ahead of time. I believe they also want to check blood calcium levels before receiving the Zometa, and I would assume that would be the case prior to starting any biophosphonate. The current plan is to receive this infusion every six months for three years. It is my understanding that some of the rare yet serious side effects from these biophosphonates are more likely with the infusions than they are with the injections or oral tablets, but usually occur with more frequent dosages over an extended period of time, as in more than five years.
Jul 22, 2019 02:01PM Ingerp wrote:
MissouriCat--I've had leg cramps on the AI but was always prone to them (as was my mother!). Had them particularly if I was wearing different shoes (like heels when I'm almost always in flats), or <ahem> when I'd had a few drinks. I just started a magnesium supplement about a week ago based on recommendations here. I haven't had any since, but also haven't really been in the typical situation that tended to induce them.
Jul 22, 2019 02:09PM MissouriCatLady wrote:
Ingerp - thank you. I had a few beers Saturday, was visiting my parents celebrating finishing radiation. I know, I should not drink. It's hard for me when I get together with my drinking family. I wondered if perhaps alcohol made it worse. Thank you. I need water, exercise and no alcohol (a perfect life). My doctor suggested tonic water, which was a new thing that I hadn't read about. Apparently, it has quinine in it (I did a Google search and read that). Thanks, Lisa
Jul 22, 2019 04:22PM - edited Jul 22, 2019 04:24PM by Spookiesmom
My cardiologist recommended quinine for leg cramps. Mine aren't consistent, may go a week or more with none. The stuff tastes nasty. Is best downed with gin, or it really is hard to choke down. It's full of sugar, has to be to make it drinkable. The diet stuff is even worse. Proceed at your own risk, I can’t drink ANY type of alcohol, so that’s not the reason for me. 🤢🤢.
Jul 22, 2019 07:01PM - edited Jul 22, 2019 07:03PM by LeesaD
Hey MamaOz! I've had three Prolia shots so far and getting my fourth one next week. The third one was in January and my endocrinologist did a bone density test right in the office before he gave me that third shot. The bone density showed I had progressed to osteoporosis (since my pre treatment scan that was done a year and a half prior to that one) and I had been on the anastrozole about 17 months when he did second density test. So being on the anastrozole made my bones worse in not even a year and a half and the Prolia hasn't really done anything yet I guess. I'm going to talk to him next week when I see him for the next shot. I think he said last time it should stop the progression now as it has a good track record but who knows. I haven't had any side effects that I've attributed to the Prolia. Maybe my teeth feel like they've shifted a tiny bit as my bite feels slightly different but I'm notsure if that's what jaw issues feel like from Prolia. So is it doing its job? Not for me as of January but will it eventually, maybe. Wish I had some more definite info for you.
Hope all is going well otherwise! I see my oncologist next week. First time we've gone six months without seeing each other and six months without bloodwork. I'm a little nervous. I started participating in a clinical trivial this last January. ABC (aspirin for breast cancer) trial to see if daily aspirin as an anti inflammatory effects recurrence. Don't know if I'm on the aspirin or the placebo. I think placebo but I'm in it for the long haul I guess.
Jul 22, 2019 07:26PM - edited Jul 22, 2019 07:26PM by Rosiesride
Thanks Pontiac Peg...My mom had osteoporosis and took Fosomax many years ago and she did well on it. Never broke a bone and passed away in 2007 at 85 from alzheimers. I just remembered this evening that she had told me Fosomax was a great drug for her. My osteopenia is from the anastrozole and coming back on this site to get info. before I call the doc. I may meet with my GP and ask her to explain the scan results. MY MO suggested Prolia and gave me the option shot every 6 months or pill. Now I am reading about jaw issues from the Prolia? Thanks for your response and I will surely "see" you back on here again...Rosie
Jul 22, 2019 08:32PM Scrafgal wrote:
I've been following this thread for a year or more, while I was taking tamoxifen and waiting to get firmly menopausal. Well, my MO tomd me that we are ready to start Arimidex. I know the general side effects but, here is what I would love to know: What is the best thing that you found useful when first starting Arimidex? I expe that there might be a transition phase for my body before it presumably gets used to the drug. Any transition tips?
Jul 22, 2019 08:59PM HikingLady wrote:
Scrafgal I felt a bit sleepy for a week or so. Who knows if you will! The sleepiness went away after about 10 days. My MO explained that many side effects recede in a few weeks or months. As people on this thread have shared, it's also true that new side effects sometimes crop up over time. I think I feel best when I stay really hydrated. Daily exercise keeps my joints quite comfortable, and as time went on, my body definitely accommodated this med and I've adjusted and feel really quite fine. You might have fewer of the side effects since you're moving straight from Tamoxifen to an AI.
Jul 22, 2019 11:12PM Scrafgal wrote:
Thanks HikingLady... I hope I am not sleepy. It's so hard to work when sleepy!
Jul 23, 2019 07:12AM Ingerp wrote:
Scrafgal I agree that many/most of the SEs arise from not having estrogen rather than the drug itself, so you might find the transition fairly smooth. What some of us on another thread did was start out a lower dose, although you probably don't need to since you've already been on Tamoxifen. Taking it with food helps some women, as does taking it earlier in the day. And, of course, keep moving. I bet you don't notice much of a difference.
Jul 23, 2019 07:14AM Stellawt57 wrote:
MissouriCat, I had leg cramps before DX and they became worse after starting anastrozole. When I picked up a script I asked my pharmacist what would help he said to take 200 mg of CoQu10, so I take 100mg in the morning and another at night. My leg cramps totally subsided, what a relief for sleeping. During the week I do have a few beers and have had no issues with leg cramps. But, we all have different reactions to the med. I do strength & weight exercises well as bike riding to keep the joints from talking to me. I started magnesium glycinate 3x a day as well as take Natural Calm 2x a day as recommended by my Integrative Dr. I also see here once a week for acupuncture treatments. I also have eliminated gluten from my diet as I have a sensitivity to it and it also creates inflammation which adds to the joint pain. I know the beer has gluten, but in moderation I tolerate it. Hope this helps.
Jul 23, 2019 07:51AM SUPer52 wrote:
I started taking anastrazole three months ago. I was very nervous to begin taking it, but I found that my body quickly adjusted. I did feel dizzy the first few days, but then I was fine. The first day was the worst but still not horrible. If possible, I would recommend beginning it on a day you don't have anything planned or at least won't have to drive just in case you do experience similar symptoms. I started on a Saturday so that I didn't have to worry about any possible nausea or dizziness catching me by surprise at work. To echo what others have said, staying active was my MO's recommendation for preventing any joint pain or stiffness, and so far I have been fortunate not to have any. I found the comment about CoQ10 interesting because I take that anyway (it is mixed in with the fish oil supplement that I take), and maybe that is why I have not had joint issues. I take my pill in the morning along with one of my fish oil pills only because it is easier for me to take it at the same time everyday and to remember to take it. The best advice I got before starting it was from my radiation nurse who said not to dwell on potential side effects or to look for them and to just take it and then go about my day or evening as I usually would, so that is what I do. Each time I swallow that pill, I think to myself I am taking something away from the cancer rather than letting cancer take something away from me.
Good luck to you!
Jul 23, 2019 07:52AM HikingLady wrote:
RE: Exercise and Anastrozole
Chiming in about how much exercise helps me. When I started my AI last November, I immediately had to have 2 surgeries in a row, and I was also recovering from a severe (chemo-reaction) lung inflammation. I had not done my usual daily exercise routine for 16 months, due to an extensive foot surgery followed by breast cancer surgeries and chemo. In December of 2018, I then had to have another foot surgery (hardware removal), followed by my exchange surgery in early January. So, I had very reduced activity level and no exercise for quite awhile due to healing and recovery in December - February. I was able to start daily exercise in March, and as I built up my strength, my joints completely stopped complaining. My suspicion is that if I'd been stronger and more fit when I started, I might not have had much discomfort at all.
I now do 1 hour daily of deep-water aerobics (vertical with head above water), with resistance ankle cuffs & foam barbells, at my nearby indoor city pool. This is like working with light weights + aerobic fitness, and I also do mat work (Pilates/yoga exercises), and I hike or bike once or twice a week. After 2 months of daily exercise and gradual strengthening, I felt so much difference. For me, a daily fitness plan has helped me manage my AI symptoms A LOT. This is logical. AI's reduce joint comfort because of less estrogen, and more muscle supports joints. I feel worse (stiffer and a bit achey) if for some reason I can't exercise for a day. If my arthritis (hips and knees and hands) acts up, I take an NSAID, like Ibuprofen, Aleve, or Rx Meloxicam. I've done this less and less often as I've gotten stronger.
Thumb joints and fingers: My thumb joints are weaker and my pinky fingers seem to lock up on the last joint sometimes. I am sure this is from Anastrozole. I've learned to open jars new ways, and "adapt" my life around this reality. I have to treat all joints a bit gently. Not a deal breaker for me about this med, but certainly an annoyance.
Jul 23, 2019 08:04AM L8Blmr wrote:
Scrafgal, everyone's body handles the SE's in a different way. So make changes to adjust to your body including changing the AI if necessary. The best advice I received was drink plenty of water and/or tea and exercise everyday. Strength exercises are the best to stave off osteoporosis-the worst SE in my opinion. Weight training, yoga, etc.; try to get in 30-45/day of some exercise. That also helps with sleeping. I also cut back on white carbs; rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, taco chips and sweets-that has helped with no weight gain. But like I said, find what works best for you. Big hugs, we're all in this together.
Jul 23, 2019 08:06AM MissouriCatLady wrote:
Thank you Hiking Lady (our son lives in Portland) and SUPer52 for your valuable insight. Spookiesmom, always nice to see you, thank you for your thoughts on tonic water, I haven't bought any yet and that is good to know! I wish I couldn't drink alcohol, but if this keeps up, I may quit completely, which would really be beneficial. I was up twice last night walking in circles. I've taken this for 3 months now, started before radiation, and it has just been within the last couple of weeks this started. Stellawt57, I will be going and getting the three things you mentioned on my lunch hour. When I went through chemo, my bed was where I could always feel better. Nighttime is a nightmare now. Thank you and best wishes to everyone, Lisa
Jul 23, 2019 08:22AM Scrafgal wrote:
Ladies, thank you for the suggestions. I feel much better now! Tamoxifen taught me the value of deep hydration ( I drink 100 ounces of water every day) and I work out regularly doing pilates, elliptical and treadmill walking along with some free weights. I have had hip arthritis for a couple of decades and it's always been manageable as long as I work out. My fear is that bone and joint pain would keep me from working out.. and then with menopause, I could start gaining weight. I also teach and need to walk and use my hands for hours.
My oncotype was high and my large grade 3 tumor compels me to do everything possible to reduce recurrence...but I didn't sleep well last night once CVS texted me yesterday to let me know that the prescription was ready for pickup!
Having read your comments makes me feel better about it.
Jul 23, 2019 09:16AM PontiacPeggy wrote:
I guess I am an outlier when dealing with both my BC and anastrozole. I didn't start exercising or doing weight-bearing exercises. I didn't change my diet. I didn't increase my water intake (it has always been decent). I did gain weight - because I finally was under much less stress and less sleep-deprived than I had been for the previous 5 years when I was the sole caregiver for my husband (he went into a nursing home and passed away a year later). And I didn't stop drinking (I did add folic acid). I don't drink much (usually one glass of wine a day).
I know I'm lucky that SEs have been very mild. I take my anastrozole in the morning. I take Claritin to help with my morning stiffness (that I had prior to BC).
Change whatever you want or don't. Whatever helps you on this unwanted journey is generally good. My path may not work for you. That's fine. Your path may be superior. As long as it works for you, that is what matters.
Today is my FIVE YEAR NED anniversary. I want to give another shoutout to BCO for being there for me when I needed it most. Without the support of the great women here, my journey would have been vastly more difficult. My friends here are definitely "bosom buddies."
Jul 23, 2019 09:24AM MissouriCatLady wrote:
Pontiac Peggy - CONGRATULATIONS on your Five Year NED Anniversary, woohoo!!!! I like your quote too, very true!
Jul 23, 2019 09:41AM PontiacPeggy wrote:
Jul 23, 2019 09:46AM Ingerp wrote:
PontiacPeggy--congrats to you!! Hoping we can all join you in that club someday!!!