Aromatase Inhibitors

llange Member Posts: 54
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I was diagnosed with invasive BC w/2 lymph nodes involved in November of 2001, when I was 37 yrs. old. My children at the time were 5 and 8, and in kindergarten and 3rd grade. This fall they have started middle school and high school, and I'm here to see it (thank you God!).

I have just finished 5 years of tamoxifen, with relatively few side effects. I'm also currently getting Lupron injections to force menopause, and I'm planning on having my ovaries removed this fall. My question is regarding the aromotase inhibitors, because my dr. wants me to start on one soon (he is currently recommending Femara). I have heard so many horror stories about these drugs, and I'm really afraid of the side effects, but I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who has NOT had adverse reactions? Maybe the ones we hear from are the bad cases, and those not having trouble don't post.



  • Skybuf
    Skybuf Member Posts: 143
    CONGRATULATIONS IInge....I thank God to for you :)
    I take Arimidex with side effects, but Onc said I have to take it due to my type of ca, so I grin and bear it, 5 yrs goes fast!!!!!!!!
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
    I'll be interested, too. I have another year on Tamoxifen...then my onc wants to start, but with Arimidex.

    Times past, after 5 years you got to go 'without a net'. I wonder what the stats are, that far out? Especially without hyster with my colon cancer.

    Hugs to a warrior that goes before me....I have no real troubles on Tamoxifen, either...

    Hugs, Kathi
  • babs49242
    babs49242 Member Posts: 193
    I'm like SKY..on Arimidex w/ side effects. I have a friend who is on Femara..she doesn't say too much.
    forcing menopause..yuck...Chemo did that for me!
    I'm just glad to be here to do the things I get to do. Was on Tamoxifen for a 7 months then had a total hysterectomy..Onc was thrilled hahahaha he then put me on Arimidex.
    Glad you're able to see your kids grow.
  • Susan956
    Susan956 Member Posts: 510
    I am on Aromasin, with some side effects. To begin with the hot flashes were wicked... but after 1.5 years they have become much better. I still have them but pretty mild.... However, I will tell you that my therostat has changed.. I used to always be cold.... now I am always hot.. oh well. After switching sleep meds.. in general the Aromasin seems to not be too bad of a trip for now.

    Take care... God bless....

  • 3cbrca
    3cbrca Member Posts: 206
    I went right to Aromasin because I was concerned about the side effects of TAM and because I believe it is more powerful as it stops the body from even producing the estrogen. (I'm stage 3C) I have been taking Aromasin for 7 months and have not had any side effects to speak of. I think I am gaining a small bit of weight, but now that I have some energy back I have been swimming and doing some excercise and its going down. I take a large dose of calcium every day to protect my bones and will have another DEXA scan in 6 months. I had heard the stories too, but because I researched the drug and believe it is really powerful I had decided that I would put up with the side effects no matter what. Luckily they did not occur. I looked at the numbers for adverse events and while they are high, the chances of getting the side effects are still lower than getting them. I think you're right about hearing the bad stories. Like most things people don't talk about things that don't happen to them . I say go For It! If you get them you can always switch to another AI - one will work for you! I'm already trying to figure out if they will let me keep taking it after 5 years.

    Best of luck to you. I'll be curious to hear in a few months.
    Best of Luck
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    I started on tamoxifen but after 3 years the ovaries had to come out (ovarian cysts they thought were cancer but weren't) they put me on exemestane. I have been on the exemestane for almost 2 years now. It is hard to tell if the hot flashes were from the surgical menapause or the exemestane, but I definately notice them. They aren't much of a bother though. I just dress in layers and peel off as needed. I exercise daily and take a calcium pill along with 3 to 4 glasses of milk every day to protect my bones. They were good to start with and my next scan should come up soon. I have to be careful not to overstress my joints as I heal slower than I used to, but ibruprofen and an occasional trip to the podiatrist is about all I've needed for that. Overall the promise of the drug is worth the problems. If it gets worse, I will try another AI in a heartbeat.
  • dcc205
    dcc205 Member Posts: 2
    Wow long time no reply for me. I am a 5 yr survivor this 2008 Jan so woo hoo! Now, Tamoxifen- I had ZERO problems except for a bit of joint pain initially but 6 mth down the road it was cake!
    Now, after moving to Alabama and changing oncos and menopause I am inbetween inhibitors. Tried the WICKED evil Femarra and I am a STRONG person, no really I am 6', 290 and a college athlete, coach and actually in great health before B Cancer. It broke me. I fought to stay on it because I was NOT going to wimp out, I could handle it but after on and off twice and a 4 month attempt- I QUIT> It gave me such severe joint pain that I felt 80. All I could do was go to work and crawl home all swollen in my ankles a into my recliner and crash. I spent the weekend in bed- I was soooooo miserable plus, nauseau was always just on the tip of my tongue. So, I realy identified with the people on this site and in my life that complained of problems with Tamox and such. I begin aromanse (sp?) tomorrow and pray that this drug will be a non issue with my chemistry. So, my advice go into it with a positive attitude but don't back down if the side effects become a quality of life issue. I tried to be super cancer free woman but now I will be more aware. I will fight thru symptoms but also, know I don't have to SUFFER. I was stage II but no nodes.