NONSTEROIDAL AROMATASE INHIBITORS
Arimidex is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008 to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Arimidex is also known by its drug name, Anastrozole. Arimidex may be prescribed as an adjuvant (post-surgical) treatment in early breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. Arimidex reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery.
Arimidex is not suitable for women of childbearing age or those who have shown past hypersensitivity to Anastrozole. Arimidex should be used with caution in women with high cholesterol, elevated risk for osteoporosis, or a history of heart disease. Arimidex should not be taken at the same time as Tamoxifen.
About two-thirds of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that they require estrogen in order to grow. Arimidex is a member of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. These drugs block the enzyme that helps produce estrogen. Arimidex is believed to work by reducing the production of estrogen in the body, thereby slowing the growth of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
How do I take it?
Arimidex is a tablet taken orally once a day, either with or without food. It is best to take it at the same time each day.
You may need to take Arimidex for several years.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Arimidex.
In one clinical trial, 9,300 postmenopausal women with early breast cancer were studied for more than 10 years. Each woman was either given Anastrozole (Arimidex), Tamoxifen, or both. At the end of the trial, the participants who took Anastrozole showed significantly improved rates of disease-free survival in comparison with those who took Tamoxifen alone.
Common side effects of Arimidex include hot flashes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, pain in bones and joints, arthritis, headache, insomnia, depression, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and peripheral edema (swelling of the lower legs and feet).
Arimidex raises your risk of osteoporosis, which contributes to fractures.
Rare but serious side effects of Arimidex can include liver problems and skin reactions such as blisters, ulcers or lesions. Call your doctor immediately if you experience skin problems or liver symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), pain or swelling in your abdomen, or general feelings of unwellness.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions which, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.