If you’re like many other women, then you may be considering using Anastrozole as a way to help treat your estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This medication can be an effective way to decrease the amount of estrogen in your body, which may slow or stop the growth of your tumor. It’s important to understand that there are potential side effects associated with its use, so be sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor before starting treatment. In this article, we will discuss the role of this medication in your treatment and potential side effects that you may face.
Anastrozole is a prescription drug that works by stopping the body’s production of estrogen. It is classified as an aromatase inhibitor, and it can be used to treat breast cancer in women who are postmenopausal (i.e., they have gone through menopause). This is important because estrogen helps fuel the growth of most types of breast tumors, so decreasing its levels in your body may reduce the size of your tumor(s) or slow down their growth rate. Anastrozole can also be used in conjunction with other treatments such as tamoxifen and letrozole to treat breast cancer.
Anastrozole comes in the form of a small pill that is taken orally (by mouth). It is typically taken once per day for 1-5 years based on your specific needs. Again, you should always consult with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you specifically.
How does Anastrozole work?
Anastrozole works by blocking the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for converting androgens (i.e., testosterone) into estrogen. It specifically blocks this conversion of androgens to estrogens in fat cells throughout your body; therefore, it will not decrease the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries in premenopausal women. When used to treat breast cancer, it works by decreasing the amount of estrogen that is available to fuel the growth of your tumor(s).
Anastrozole may also be used in men to treat conditions that are brought on by high levels of estrogen such as feminization (e.g., breast enlargement), decreased libido, and erectile dysfunction.
Potential Side Effects of Anastrozole
As with all medications, there are some potential side effects that you may experience when taking anastrozole for breast cancer. These side effects typically only last the first few days to weeks after starting treatment. Most women find that they go away over time. If they don’t, then you should consult with your doctor to see if another treatment plan may be right for you.
Some of the most common side effects associated with anastrozole include:
- Injury to the esophagus: These types of injuries have been reported with anastrozole use. If you find that you are experiencing a painful or difficult time swallowing, then stop taking this medication and consult with your doctor right away.
- Changes in blood lipid levels: Anastrozole has been shown to increase LDL (i.e., “bad”) cholesterol and decrease HDL (i.e., “good”) cholesterol when used for extended periods of time (i.e., longer than one year). Your physician will closely monitor your cholesterol levels and other blood lipid levels to determine if treatment with anastrozole is appropriate for you.
- Changes in liver enzymes: Your doctor will monitor your liver enzyme (i.e., ALT, AST) levels periodically while you are taking anastrozole. If they begin to increase significantly or if jaundice occurs, then treatment with anastrozole should be stopped immediately.
- Changes in blood pressure: If you experience a sudden increase in your blood pressure, particularly accompanied by severe headaches and blurred vision, then stop taking this medication and seek medical assistance right away. These types of side effects can be extremely dangerous if left untreated.
- Nausea and/or vomiting: The nausea associated with anastrozole is usually mild and it can be controlled by taking your dose with food. Vomiting typically goes away over time as your body gets used to this medication.
Benefits of Using Anastrozole
Many women experience a number of benefits when using anastrozole. These benefits include:
- Possible pain relief: Some women have reported that they are able to better manage their pain with the help of anastrozole. This is likely due to the fact that pain can be exacerbated by estrogen. Decreasing estrogen levels with the use of anastrozole may result in less pain.
- Possible hair retention: Some women experience increased hair growth and/or continued hair retention during treatment with anastrozole.
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis: Estrogen can put you at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis. Reducing estrogen can decrease your chances of developing this bone-weakening condition.
- Possible increased time before cancer recurrence: Anastrozole may be able to delay or prevent breast cancer recurrence; however, more studies are needed to determine the exact risk and benefit.
- Possible improved survival: Some studies have shown that women who take this medication after undergoing surgery to remove the primary tumor will experience a decreased risk of death as compared to those who do not receive treatment with anastrozole.
Keep in mind that these benefits may vary from woman to woman, and they were reported based on the women’s experiences. Most recent studies have not been able to pinpoint exactly how much of an effect anastrozole has, if any, when it comes to delaying cancer recurrence.
Anastrozole is typically taken once a day and at the same time each day. It can be taken with or without food and it should be swallowed whole – do not chew, break, or crush it.
The recommended starting dosage for anastrozole is one 1mg tablet once daily. After two weeks of treatment, your doctor may increase the dosage (to 1mg twice daily), depending on how you respond to treatment.
It is important that you take this medication exactly as prescribed by your physician; otherwise, it will not be effective. While taking anastrozole, try to avoid or limit grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption as this can affect its metabolism. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule.
Most physicians recommend that anastrozole treatment be continued for at least a year. Treatment may then be extended, if necessary. If you miss a few doses, do not take the missed doses right away – wait until your next dose is due to avoid potential problems.
Keep in mind that the treatment period may be shorter or longer than one year depending on your individual circumstances. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor if you have any questions about the length of treatment.
Precautions and Contraindications
Before starting treatment with anastrozole, tell your doctor about any medical conditions or allergies that you have. In addition, let your doctor know if you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit on a regular basis as there may be an interaction with this medication.
- Medical conditions: It is not known whether treatment with anastrozole can cause problems in individuals who have certain medical conditions including porphyria and epilepsy.
- Concurrent medications: Tell your physician about all of the medications that you are currently taking before beginning treatment with anastrozole. It is especially important to let them know if you are using hormonal contraception, hormone replacement therapy, or growth hormone treatments.
- Pregnancy: Anastrozole is not indicated for use in women, and it is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It is not known whether anastrozole can be transferred through breast milk and therefore, breastfeeding while taking this medication is not advised.
- Special precautions: One of the things that your doctor will require is a thorough physical exam. They may also order blood tests or other screening tests to determine how your body is reacting to anastrozole.
Product Review: What does user say about Anastrozole Pills
- Sandra Losu (March 8, 2021): My doctor prescribed me with anastrozole approximately a year ago. I had been going through menopause and my doctor said that this is the easiest way to help me with lowering my estrogen levels as well as with menopausal symptoms.
- Karen Bronson (April 10, 2021): My doctor recommended that I try taking anastrozole after she conducted a blood test and found that I had elevated estrogen levels. This is pretty common for women going through menopause – my sister takes it as well. It’s been great so far – no more hot flashes!
- Nina Garcia (April 9, 2021): I started taking anastrozole approximately one year ago to help keep my bones healthy. I’ve had no side effects with this medication, and it has helped me with the hot flashes that I was experiencing as well as other menopause symptoms. One thing that I really like about this is that it’s easier than ever now to get a prescription for it. Basically, I just go to my doctor, and they write me a prescription – there is no need for any additional tests or blood work required.
- Sam Lou (April 19, 2021): I’ve been taking anastrozole for approximately six months now and I am finally starting to see some relief from my hot flashes! It’s totally worth the money that it costs every month.
- Shari G (March 29, 2021): Before trying anastrozole, I tried menopause medication products like ospemifene and estrogens. They didn’t work for me at all, so I switched to anastrozole about three months ago. It has really helped with the hot flashes as well as other symptoms that I was experiencing!
- Kim White (March 25, 2021): My doctor recommended that I start taking anastrozole almost four years ago due to some concerns that I had about my estrogen levels. Since taking this medication, I have seen a dramatic difference in the symptoms related to menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. This is really great stuff!
- Sarah P. (March 9, 2021): I have always been really good about taking my menopause medication at the right time each day, but I still had to deal with some issues like hot flashes and mood swings. My doctor recommended that I switch to anastrozole since this is a gentler drug than any of the other alternatives out there. So far, so good! I haven’t had any problems with it at all.
- Emily Martine (March 6, 2021): I have been taking anastrozole for about three years now and it has really helped me with my symptoms! My hot flashes are so much more manageable when I take this. Being able to stop having these awful flashes is such a relief, I can’t even describe it!
- Bethany F. (April 1, 2021): Anastrozole has worked well for me when dealing with the symptoms of menopause. I find that in comparison to other options, this is one of the most gentle and safest choices in terms of side effects.
- Jenny Deodar (April 30, 2021): As a mother, I didn’t have time for any of the menopause symptoms that I was experiencing. So, my doctor recommended anastrozole since it is one of the most effective medications available on the market today. And I can tell you that it has worked extremely well. This drug is a lifesaver, there’s no doubt about it!
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe?
Anastrozole is an FDA-approved medication, and it can be used to help with menopausal symptoms related to estrogen decline. It works by decreasing the amount of this hormone in a woman’s body.
How long does it take for the medication to work?
Patients often report seeing results in as little as two weeks. However, you may start to see an improvement in about six weeks. This is a very individualized treatment, and some women will have different experiences. You should discuss this with your doctor before using the medication.
Can it be used by everyone?
No, not everyone can safely use this product. Talk with your doctor if you experience any of the following: hormone sensitive cancers, breast cancer, abnormal uterine bleeding or untreated endometriosis. These are just some of the conditions that you should be aware of before starting anastrozole.
This is not the same thing as tamoxifen, which is another medication used to treat breast cancer. They are two different medications with very different uses. Also keep in mind that anastrozole should never be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding. Only use this if you have stopped having periods for at least one year.
How much does it cost? And where can I get it?
The average price for a month’s supply is $100 to $200. However, it does depend on the dosage and the pharmacy that you use. You should be able to get anastrozole at any major pharmacy out there.
Can it really help menopausal symptoms?
Yes, scientists have found that this works just as well as other drugs in terms of managing hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Many of the patients who have used this medication have had positive results with little to no side effects.
How do I know if I should be taking it?
Your doctor will help you decide that. He or she will want to get your overall health status, conduct a physical exam, and review other medications you take. Only a doctor will know if anastrozole is the right choice for you, so make sure to include that in your list of questions when you visit.
Get the Best Relief with Anastrozole Pills!
Anastrozole is a great choice for women who do not want to deal with the more common and serious side effects related to other treatment options. It has been around for years and continues to help many women today. If you are looking for an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy, this may be your best option! Just follow the advice of your doctor and try it for yourself today!