Anastrozole

Here is some information on the hormone therapy drug that I will be taking for the next 10 years. I know that some of the possible side effects sound scary but I have found that most drugs that are used to fight cancer have side effects. It is important to remember that every cancer patient is different so not everyone will react in the same way or deal with the same side effects.

Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer in women after menopause. Some breast cancers are made to grow faster by a natural hormone called estrogen. Anastrozole decreases the amount of estrogen the body makes and helps to slow or reverse the growth of these breast cancers.

Side Effects:

Hot flashes, headache, trouble sleeping, dizziness, stomach upset, nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight gain, tiredness/weakness, increased coughing, or sore throat may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: bone pain, easily broken bones, joint stiffness/pain, muscle pain/stiffness, mental/mood changes (such as depression), numb/tingling skin, swelling hands/ankle/feet, shortness of breath, unusual vaginal discharge/bleeding/burning/itching/odor, pain/redness/swelling of arms or legs, vision changes, signs of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn’t stop, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest/jaw/left arm pain, confusion, trouble speaking, weakness on one side of the body.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Precautions:

Before taking anastrozole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart disease (such as history of heart attack), bone loss (osteoporosis), liver disease, high blood pressure, blood clots.

This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

Anastrozole is used mainly in women after menopause. If you have not gone through menopause, this medication must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as latex condoms) while taking this medication and for at least 3 weeks after stopping treatment with your doctor. Products containing estrogen (such as birth control pills) should not be used. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug and for at least 2 weeks after stopping treatment is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.