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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 04:46AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 11:07AM 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 12/7/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/7/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/10/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/17/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/19/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/29/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Posts 17521 - 17550 (17,562 total)

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Oct 2, 2020 05:51PM - edited Oct 2, 2020 05:53PM by LeesaD

Ann, I had issues getting my insurance to cover brand Arimidex. I started on Teva brand and then Teva became more difficult to get so I started getting brand name Arimidex from manufacturer through Eagle pharmacy for $90 for three months worth of pills. I did so much better on brand name as far as side effects. Then Eagle doubled price so I tried to get brand name approved through my insurance. My insurance said I'd have to pay over $1000 for one month 🙄 of brand name pills. So ridiculous. I was all set to pay the Eagle doubled price but I called my oncologist's assistant to see if she had any ideas as I didn't want to go back to generic. She had a patient advocate call me from my cancer center as they have an in house pharmacy at the cancer center. She was so nice and said let me see what I can do. She called me back a couple of days later and said if I go through the cancer center pharmacy I can get brand name Arimidex for $75 cash price for 90 day supply! This was cheaper than what I was paying through Eagle. So every three months I pay $75 for 90 days and the cancer center even delivers the meds to me via courier free of charge. With all we go through to have something work out like that...was so grateful. It is infuriating though just thinking that my insurance company wanted to charge me so much for brand name ($3000 for 90 days) and would not cover it but yet I can get it for $75 for 90 days not going through insurance and paying out of pocket. Our system is so broken.

Oncotype Score 3, 2/4 Sentinal Nodes micromestasis so pushed for ALND for 'peace of Mind' and surprise found 2/14 positive axillary nodes Dx 2/3/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 5/9/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/2/2017 Hormonal Therapy 9/7/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 11/17/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 1/30/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Oct 3, 2020 01:04AM SeeQ wrote:

Humblepeace - I got a brace from my doc originally, but it was HUGE. I ended up buying two braces with metal supports at Walmart pretty cheap ($10-ish?) that were much more comfortable.

De Novo Stage IV; numerous mets in liver; single small breast tumor identified 4 weeks later Dx 6/2/2020, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 7/2/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 7/9/2020 Verzenio
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Oct 4, 2020 08:43PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

AnnC2019 - I take brand name Arimidex and do not go through Insurance - they would charge a lot more. I pay $2/day, I think Insurance was closer to $ 9or10/day www.eaglepharmacy.com/drug/ari... I had my DR send Rx to them for a 30day, thought it was better than generic anastrozole, fewer SEs. So now I have a renewing 90-day. I do not tell insurance. One friend who take a very different brand name drug for non-cancer does get it through insurance and said she is constantly arguing with them. They pay, but hassle her. Your comment on the generic manufacturer is scary but not suprising after reading "Bottle of Lies · The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom " Katherine Eban

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Oct 5, 2020 07:42AM Laurencl wrote:

I am interested in how some of you get brand name Arimidex. I am on a generic, and my SEs are manageable. I priced the brand name and it is approximately $1,500 a month (without insurance). I don’t know how much insurance would cover (would have to research), but I’m almost sure, not enough

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Oct 5, 2020 09:02AM - edited Oct 5, 2020 09:03AM by LeesaD

Lauren, see my post a couple of posts up. That's how I started and get it. My insurance wouldn't cover it and said if I went through them it would be over $1000 per month. I started initially getting brand name through Eagle Pharmacy. They offer an out of pocket discount and it's $2 per day (used to be $1 per day but they doubled he price about a year ago). My cancer center worked magic and now I go through their pharmacy for brand name Arimidex and pay cash price $75 for 90 pills. It's worked out great as i don't want to go back to generic. I find brand name much easier to tolerate as far as side effects.

Oncotype Score 3, 2/4 Sentinal Nodes micromestasis so pushed for ALND for 'peace of Mind' and surprise found 2/14 positive axillary nodes Dx 2/3/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/17/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 5/9/2017 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 8/2/2017 Hormonal Therapy 9/7/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 11/17/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 1/30/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Oct 7, 2020 12:49AM bbbddd168 wrote:

is Eagle pharmacy reliable for Arimidex? Can anybody buy from your cancer center pharmacy? How do I contact your cancer center pharmacy to find out? Thanks.

Dx 2/5/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
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Oct 7, 2020 08:10PM lrobbins17 wrote:

I have been experience terrible joint/bone pain with Anastrozole. I have been taking it for about 8 months and have tried Move Free (recommending by my Oncologist), Advil, and Aliev but nothing seems to help. I will give Claritin a try. I can't see feeling this way for the next 5 years I'm hoping there is an alternative or something else will work.

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Oct 7, 2020 08:17PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

bbbddd168 and Laurencl I have been getting brand name Arimidex very reliably from Eagle Pharmacy in Florida $2/day for a year now I get it directly from them and do not go through insurance who would charge a lot more. My oncologist faxed an Rx to them, they sent me the drug and charged my CC directly. www.eaglepharmacy.com/drug/ari... The generic is much cheaper through insurance, but I think it has more SEs.

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Oct 9, 2020 10:42AM - edited Oct 9, 2020 10:43AM by Laurencl

Thank you for the info BlueGirlRedState

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Oct 10, 2020 07:59AM Laurencl wrote:

Hi everyone,

I have been on anastrozole for approximately 8 moths with few SE’s. I am starting to notice slight tingling in mt

hand and feet, particularly when I’m sitting. Wondered if anyone has experienced this.

Thank you, Lauren

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Oct 10, 2020 08:31AM Stellawt57 wrote:

Irobbins17, I also experienced intense joint pain (diagnosed with rheumatoid & osteoarthritis prior to BC) after starting anastrozole. I decided no more prescription meds to manage my SE. My MO made a referral to an Integrative Dr., at my request. I started acupuncture over a year ago and won’t give it up. My insurance pays for 25 sessions a year. My Integrative Dr. also had me start taking curcumin, magnesium & CoQu10 to help reduce my other SE. I hope the suggestions you receive help you in finding what’s best for you!

Dx 8/14/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/3/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 10/3/2018 Hormonal Therapy 10/8/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 14, 2020 07:20AM Kimmh012 wrote:

Wondering if anyone else has been recommend to switch to Faslodex and are not metastatic?

I have tried Anastrozole, Aromasin, and Arimidex, all with debilitating side effects. Yesterday, my ONC recommended Faslodex, 1x month shot for 1-2 years instead of AI for 7 years.

He stated there are many women who cannot tolerate AI, like myself, and he has switch several over to Fasoldex with no issues.

One last try to do Arimidex by building up slowly, but I am thinking 1x shot for 2 years vs a pill everyday for 7 years, switch me now, LOL. I am just starting my research, knowledge is power!

~ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE~ Dx 3/22/2019, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 4/2/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 4/30/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 5/1/2019, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/12/2019 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 6/23/2019 AC Targeted Therapy 9/17/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 11/5/2019 Lumpectomy Radiation Therapy 1/12/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 4/27/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 10/14/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 14, 2020 06:23PM CindyNY wrote:

Kimmh012 - I've never heard of it. Please keep us posted on your research.

dx at 58, no family history, onco = 19 Dx 10/6/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/1/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 11/14/2017 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 12/26/2017 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/1/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 14, 2020 07:51PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

kimmh012 - please keep us posted. So far I am tolerating SE from Arimidex, but hands/fingers definitely getting achier. Not metastatic, but does your Onc seem to think Faslodex is better. Are injections the only option?

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Oct 15, 2020 07:51PM JRNJ wrote:

Kim, I"ve seen posts from Salamandra whose Dr. let her switch to Faslodex due to side effects from other meds.

Pleomorphic Multifocal, Extra nodal Extension, Lymphovascular Invasion. TEs removed due to infection Dx 8/15/2019, LCIS, Right, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/15/2019, ILC, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/24/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/2/2019 CMF Radiation Therapy 3/30/2020 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 6/4/2020 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 8/6/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/25/2020 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Oct 16, 2020 05:09PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

LeesADee - I just saw your post on working with a nurse advocate on getting a lower price on Arimidex. I will have to look into that. Eagle Pharmacy charges $2/day. My insurance would charge a lot more. Drug prices. When was first prescribed Ibrance, the Oncologist sent it to the pharmacy she chose, said there was some kind of grant. I paid nothing. Each delivery is for 21-days plus 7 days off (so one about 1 month) My Insurance contacted me and told me I was required to use the Insurance "Specialty Pharmacy", and I now pay $50/month.

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Oct 16, 2020 07:52PM Sunshine99 wrote:

BlueGirl, have you looked into the "help" offered by Pfizer? My insurance covers all but $70 of the $14,000 cost each month. Pfizer has this co-pay assistance (with no income requirements) so my out of pocket is $0.00. I do pay a bit for my Arimidex, but it's somewhere around $8.00, I think. I'm using a Specialty Pharmacy, too. I started with Diplomat but got switched to Ingenio. Still no payment required from me.

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Oct 17, 2020 04:05PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

Sunshine - thank you for the reply. My Insurance covers everything but $50. But it is increadible to hear about the differences people pay for the same drug, procedure etc. We have a long ways to go with health care reform

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Oct 17, 2020 06:02PM Miriandra wrote:

I agree, BlueGirl. It can be done so much better.

Dx 5/31/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+ Surgery 8/14/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left
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Oct 20, 2020 11:09AM Mcolestork wrote:

I have been on Arimidex(Anastrazole) for almost a year. 2-3 weeks in to treatment, the hot flashes increased 24/7. I experience sleeplessness and severe joint pain. My digestion has changed and my tolerance for spicy food has decreased. Today I had an episode of what felt like low blood sugar. I had a similar episode years ago. And btw..I am not diabetic...I was told that all anti-recurrence meds have similar side effects.

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Oct 20, 2020 06:51PM Gussy wrote:

Being on Arimadex generic I seem to be losing more hair. I used Rogaine for years but not since chemo and anti-estrogens. Has anyone had success with Rogaine after using AIs?

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Oct 22, 2020 12:09PM jen6414 wrote:

I have been on Arimidex for 1 year now. I find it very interesting and relieving that the symptoms I have been noticing are real. My ankles and knees are stiff and painful when I get up from sitting for a long time or sleeping. It does get better quickly. The other day I woke from a nap and my middle finger was "locked" in place. I had to open it with my other hand. I am also experiencing hair loss, very dry skin and dry eyes. Is this normal as well?

Thanks,

Jen

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Oct 22, 2020 12:32PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

jen6414 - joint stiffness seems to be very common with AIs. At first I thought brand name Arimidex would be better than generic, and for the most part it is, but I do experience stiffness in hands, and one locking finger that I sometimes have to unlock with the other hand. Hair loss as well. I think turmeric (powder with black pepper added) and turmeric supplement helps. I tend to notice the absence rather than presence of it in diet. Not sure if glucosamine/chondroitin helps, but I take it. I try to stretch regularly, and exercise daily. I try to stay hydrated, but sometimes I realize I have not not drunk any water most of the day. Sometimes treat myself to "Hint" water (no sweetners or carbonation, but what is essence of some fruit?). In summer kept a jug of water with cucumber slices ready, the cucumbers helped to take the taste of the city out.

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Oct 22, 2020 01:28PM PinkLonghorn wrote:

jen6414, I also have the stiff joints. I take a yoga class once/week and Tap 2x/week. Also try to get on my treadmill a couple of times a week. I use Ovation Cell Therapy to help my hair. I had dry eyes before cancer, and the anastrozole has made it worse. I use Systane Ultra drops during the day and Systane pm ointment at night. When I can get it, I use the Teva brand anastrozole. It uses less fillers, and my symptoms are not as bad with Teva. Next spring I will be at 7 years on anastrozole, and I'm hoping to stop it at that point. During my 7 years, the only symptom that was getting unmanageable was depression/anxiety/mood swings. I started taking buproprion (generic for wellbutrin) about 2 1/2 years ago. I saw an improvement with the first week! Even before cancer, I took vitamins & supplements, and have continued.

This forum has been helpful to me, so keep coming back! Thank you to all the ladies who have posted. <3

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Oct 25, 2020 10:34AM jen6414 wrote:

BlueGirlRedState and Pinklonghorn, thank you for responding. I have found this website has very good information!

Have a great day!

JenB

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Oct 25, 2020 11:54AM MamaOz wrote:

Its been awhile. Since I last posted . Ive been on real arimidex 3 yrs. Mostly aches. Foggy brain and pending osteoporosis.. Not fun.

Anyway a few times I've taken a week break. Start feeling like my old selfafter a few days but By end of week I get hot flashes

This baffles me as I don't get them while taking pill..

Hot flashes happen with low estrogen. So at 66 is my estrogen lower off pill??

I had stupidly taken HRT for years which I think contributed to my BC DX ..

Anyway any feed back would be appreciated

Mamaoz

Mamaoz : chemo 1/.17-4/17 AC/.paxitacil : 3/29 nodes Dx 12/5/2016, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 3/29 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/20/2017 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 8/8/2017 Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 26, 2020 05:12PM CBK wrote:

Anastrozole has been the worst therapy far and away on this ride. I’ve always taken vacations from anastrozole at the minimum of two weeks and often more. I have felt so terrible coming off the drug even worse than being on . But once I went back on I felt amazing for a few weeks and right back into horrible side effects!!


That said, I’m not sure why you would illicit a new symptoms when off the pill, but going on a few vacations I know with the drug, with the half life, it’s not out of your system for the minimum a couple of weeks.

And even longer depending how you metabolize.

Honestly if I wasn’t so high risk I’d ditch it now. I contemplate it every day.

My breast surgeon says I should think about the every other day approach. Considering my severe side effects!

Oncologist is not on that program, but I’m definitely exploring with more input in the coming months

Love and best to you!

Dx 3/26/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/11/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/22/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 1/25/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 2/18/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 4/9/2018 Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap, Silicone implant Surgery 9/28/2018 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 4/3/2019 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, Silicone implant
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Oct 27, 2020 06:28AM Dreamhome wrote:

I started taking anastrozole a week ago and am pleased to have only minimal side effects so far - slight headache/dizziness/drowsiness mid afternoon after taking the pill in the morning. One afternoon I was very moody but only this one time. So far so good. My oncologist told me that older women (I'm 72) have fewer side effects.



Dx 8/10/2020, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/21/2020 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 10/18/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy
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Oct 27, 2020 07:57AM PontiacPeggy wrote:

Dreamhome, I was 69 when I started taking anastrozole, finished at 74. I had few side effects that were bothersome. I was creaky getting up in the morning but that was helped by taking a REGULAR Claritin daily. Sometimes trigger finger. I went in not expecting to have a problem that was insurmountable and I didn't. Don't anticipate anything but having 5 years (or however many your oncologist recommends) of preventing a breast cancer recurrence! Good luck!

HUGS!

Peggy. Diagnosed age 68., Oncotype 13. Everything is doable - not easy, but doable. Dx 6/5/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 7/23/2014, DCIS, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1 Surgery 7/23/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 9/1/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 10/16/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Oct 28, 2020 03:49PM Dreamhome wrote:

Thanks for the encouraging report!


Dx 8/10/2020, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/21/2020 Lumpectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 10/18/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy

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