Anastrozole, sold under the trade name Arimidex among others, is a medication used in addition to other treatments for breast cancer. Specifically it is used for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It has also been used to prevent breast cancer in those at high risk. It is taken by mouth.
Anastrozole is a cancer treatment drug and is also known by its brand name, Arimidex.
It is a treatment for post menopausal women with breast cancer that is hormone sensitive.
Anastrozole oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Arimidex and as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in the same strengths or dosage forms as the brand-name version.
Common side effects include hot flashes, altered mood, joint pain, and nausea. Severe side effects include an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Use during pregnancy is known to harm the baby. Anastrozole is in the aromatase-inhibiting family of medications. It works by blocking the creation of estrogen.
Anastozole lowers the amount of oestrogen in the body. The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone stimulate many breast cancers to grow. Lowering the level of oestrogen can stop or slow the growth of breast cancer cells.
Anastrozole blocks a process called aromatisation that changes sex hormones called androgens into oestrogen. This happens mainly in the fatty tissues, muscle and the skin and needs a particular enzyme called aromatase.
Hormones are chemical substances that are produced by glands in the body, which enter the bloodstream and can cause effects in other parts of the body. For example, the hormone testosterone is 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 cancer cell growth can partially depend on hormone binding to receptors on the cancer cell surface.
Hormone therapies can work through methods such as stopping the production of a certain hormone or interfering with hormone binding to the cancer cell receptor. The different types of hormone therapies are categorized by their function and/or the type of hormone that is affected.
Anastrozole 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 estrogens. Tumor cells dependent on estrogens grow less when there is no estrogen.
Anastrozole belongs to a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. They block the production of estrogen, which is a key stimulator of breast cancer. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.
In postmenopausal women, an enzyme called aromatase changes hormones called androgens into the hormone estrogen. Many breast cancer tumors grow when estrogen is present. Anastrozole stops aromatase from working. This lowers the amount of estrogen in your body and in the cancer tissue.
Anastrozole is used with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to treat early breast cancer in women who have experienced menopause (change of life; end of monthly menstrual periods). This medication is also used in women, who have experienced menopause, as a first treatment of breast cancer that has spread within the breast or to other areas of the body. This medication is also used to treat breast cancer in women whose breast cancer has worsened after taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Anastrozole is in a class of medications called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen the body makes. This can slow or stop the growth of many types of breast cancer cells that need estrogen to grow.
Anastrozole comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take anastrozole at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take anastrozole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Before taking anastrozole,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to anastrozole, or any other medications, or any of the ingredients in anastrozole. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: medications that contain estrogen such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections); raloxifene (Evista); and tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, osteoporosis (condition in which the bones are fragile and break easily), liver, or heart disease.
you should know that anastrozole should only be taken by women who have undergone menopause and cannot become pregnant. However, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should tell your doctor before you begin taking this medication. Anastrozole may harm the fetus.
Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer. It’s used only in women who have gone through menopause. Specifically, it’s used for:
treatment of early breast cancer. It’s given to women with hormone receptor-positive or unknown breast cancer after surgery or in addition to other therapies.
initial or first treatment of breast cancer that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). It’s used in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, or women in whom the hormone receptors aren’t known.
treatment of advanced breast cancer. It’s given when your disease has progressed, even after early response with the cancer drug tamoxifen.
Anastrozole doesn’t work well in women with estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. It also doesn’t work well in women whose bodies didn’t respond to treatment with tamoxifen.
Anastrozole has been tested for reducing estrogens, including estradiol, in men. Excess estradiol in men can cause benign prostatic hyperplasia, gynecomastia, and symptoms of hypogonadism. It can also contribute to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic inflammation, prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Some athletes and body builders use anastrozole as part of their steroid cycle to reduce and prevent symptoms of excess estrogen--gynecomastia, emotional lability and water retention. Study data suggest dosages of 0.5 mg to 1 mg a day reduce serum estradiol by approximately 50% in men, which differs in postmenopausal women.
Anastrozole may be used off-label in children with precocious puberty, or children with pubertal gynecomastia. Following the onset of puberty, the epiphyseal plate begins to close due to an increased amount of estrogen production escaping local metabolism and spreading to the circulatory system. It is shown to help slow this process, and increase adult height prediction in adolescent males treated with protein-based peptide hormones for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency.
If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take anastrozole or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine.
It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to anastrozole. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Heart disease warning: If you have early breast cancer and a history of blockage in your heart arteries, anastrozole may cause low blood flow to your heart. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms, which may include:
shortness of breath
swelling in your legs and feet
worsening chest pain
Low bone density risk: Anastrozole can decrease bone density in your lower spine and hips. Your doctor will monitor your bone mineral density while you’re taking this drug.
Cholesterol warning: Anastrozole may cause your cholesterol levels to rise. Higher cholesterol levels put you at increased risk of heart disease.
Anastrozole oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
Signs of high calcium levels like weakness, confusion, feeling tired, headache, upset stomach and throwing up, hard stools (constipation), or bone pain.
Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
Very bad headache.
A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
Chest pain or pressure.
A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
Very bad dizziness or passing out.
Passing urine more often.
Pain when passing urine.
Feeling very tired or weak.
Vaginal bleeding that is not normal.
Vaginal itching or discharge.
People who have ever had a block in their heart blood vessels (ischemic heart disease) may have more signs of problems with blood flow to the heart. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worse chest pain or shortness of breath.
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