I Want to Stop Anastrozole, BUT!

My oncologist prescribed Anastrozole and I’ve been taking it since July 2016. My arthritis has flared up since. What are the side effects associated with using this drug? 

 

Anastrozole has become popular for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. It’s been found to be more effective than the former leading drug for breast cancer treatment, tamoxifen. Unfortunately, more research on its side effects reveals that joint issues are a particular concern with this drug.

Many postmenopausal women using anastrozole, known as Arimidex, experience an increased risk of experiencing bone and joint pain. Anastrozole does, in fact, list joint pain and bone loss as potential side effects. It looks as though about 1 in 3 women taking the drug experience this side effect.

A large study called the Arimidex Tamoxifen Alone or in Combination trial was conducted to determine the severity of arthritic pain associated with anastrozole. It studied 9366 postmenopausal women using either anastrozole or tamoxifen or a combination of both to treat their breast cancer. It found that 35.2% of women taking anastrozole experienced an increase in joint symptoms compared to 30.3% of those receiving tamoxifen. It appears that endocrine treatments for breast cancer significantly affect joint health, with anastrozole being the most potent drug.

While anastrozole has been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, there is always a risk when it comes to using drugs and medical devices. If you continue to experience flare-ups with your arthritis, speak with your doctor about the steps you can take to ease your symptoms.

For more information on the side effects of anastrozole, visit the following:

Arimidex – List of side effects for anastrozole

Medscape – Study was done on anastrozole and joint pain

Breast Cancer and Arimidex – breastcancer.org’s assessment of Arimidex’s pros and cons

 

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