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Arimidex Print


Generic name: Anastrozole
Trade name: Arimidex
Other names:
Drug type: ARIMIDEX is a prescription medicine approved for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer. ARIMIDEX is a hormonal treatment that helps fight breast cancer by lowering the amount of the hormone estrogen in the body. Some breast cancer tumors grow when the hormone estrogen is present. ARIMIDEX binds to aromatase, stopping — or inhibiting — aromatase activity and the production of estrogen. For this reason, ARIMIDEX is called an aromatase inhibitor.

ARIMIDEX is approved for first-line treatment (first hormonal treatment in advanced breast cancer) for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer ARIMIDEX is also approved for treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression following tamoxifen therapy. Patients with estrogen receptor-negative disease and patients who did not respond to previous tamoxifen therapy rarely responded to ARIMIDEX

Side Effects:

The most common side effects seen with ARIMIDEX include hot flashes, joint symptoms, weakness, mood changes, pain, back pain, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, rash, depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, fractures, swelling of arms/legs, insomnia, and headache. Fractures (including fractures of the spine, hip, and wrist) occurred more frequently with ARIMIDEX than with tamoxifen (10% vs 7%). Patients taking ARIMIDEX were less likely than those taking tamoxifen to stop treatment because of side effects.

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not emergency situations. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Nausea that interferes with eating
  • Fatigue (unable to perform self care activities) Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Arimidex Precautions:

  • Before starting Arimidex treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or herbal remedies).
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (Arimidex may be hazardous to the fetus. Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential hazard to the fetus).
  • For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Arimidex. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
  • Do not breast feed while taking Arimidex.

Arimidex Self Care Tips:

  • If you are experiencing hot flashes, wearing light clothing, staying in a cool environment, and putting cool cloths on your head may reduce symptoms. Consult you health care provider if these worsen, or become intolerable.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprophen may help relieve discomfort from fever, headache and/or generalized aches and pains. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking it.
  • Arimidex causes little nausea. However, to reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Maintain good nutrition

If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.

Monitoring and Testing While Taking Arimidex:

You will be monitored regularly by your doctor while you are taking Arimidex, but no special tests are required.

How Arimidex Works:

Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by glands in the body, which enter the bloodstream and cause effects in other tissues. For example, the hormone testosterone made in the testicles and is responsible for male characteristics such as deepening voice and increased body hair. The use of hormone therapy to treat cancer is based on the observation that receptors for specific hormones that are needed for cell growth are on the surface of some tumor cells. Hormone therapies work by stopping the production of a certain hormone, blocking hormone receptors, or substituting chemically similar agents for the active hormone, which cannot be used by the tumor cell. The different types of hormone therapies are categorized by their function and/or the type of hormone that is effected. Anastozole is an aromatase inhibitor. This means it blocks the enzyme aromatase (found in the body's muscle, skin, breast and fat), which is used to convert androgens (hormones produced by the adrenal glands) into estrogen. In the absence of estrogen, tumors dependent on this hormone for growth will shrink.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:50