tamoxifin, arimidex, shamoxifin, shmarimidex

edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Anybody have an easy time of these drugs? I am not yet sure which I will be getting (any day now), but am feeling pretty apprehensive. I am hoping that exercise and diet and vitamin D will give me a fighting chance to take this in stride. Any suggestions? Thank you for your advice. Love, Joyce


  • survivorinsd
    survivorinsd Member Posts: 3
    I went thru this dilemma a little over a year ago... the only option that my doctors gave me was tamoxifen... I also was very apprehensive and after reading and thinking about it I decided not to take it... like you, I thought I'll take my chance with good diet and exercise and reducing my stress level, etc... I'm healthy and still cancer free and happy with my decision... but of course each of us has different risk factors, so I won't give a general advice against tamoxifen... just do your homework and research the topic and decide how much risk you can take (for not taking a preventive treatment) vs. the possible side effects of the drugs.
  • Joyce, I took tamoxifin for about 7 years, and arimidex for just a few months.
    I had no serious trouble with either except some depression, which may have been more the result of other things going on in my life at the time than the drugs.
    Just be aware of how our body reacts to whatever you are given, and if problems develop ask your onco to change to another drug. You do not have to be locked into something that is making you miserable.
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    Joyce I took tamoxifin for 2 years then switched to aromasin. I have been on it for over a year. I have had an easy time with both drugs. I am taking my vitamin D and calcium. Bone loss is a side effect, but so far hasn't bothered me.
  • lfly
    lfly Member Posts: 50
    I took tamoxifen 7 mos then the CA went active again. I had no problems other than hotflashes. I'm not post menopausal so i have to take lupron inj. every 3 mos. and i think maybe that made the hotflashes worse. Then I started taking arimidex and the hotflashes started back. I've taken it for almost 8 mos and a couple weeks ago i was told the tumor markers are low and stable and doesn't appear to be any activity. Remission???
    The one I had problems with was aromasin. Made me mean, hateful, angry and a whole lot of depression. Seems i was the only one they ever heard of having those side effects.
    Zahalene is right on about not having to be locked into anything. Side effects are personal and REAL no matter what your Onc thinks.

    Whatever you choose make an informed decision and pray for guidance.
  • mgm42
    mgm42 Member Posts: 491 Member
    Joyce, like some of the other girls, my onco isn't giving me an option. It will be arimidex. I will be starting in about 3 weeks. Like you, I'm very apprehensive, but my ister-in-law just finished up her 5 year stint on tamoxifen and she didn't have any problems with that. Armidex is supposed to be better suited for post-menopausal women. That's me!!!!! I'll keep you posted once I get started and please keep us posted on what you choose and how you do. Hugs, The Hampster
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    I've been on first tamoxifen and then aromosin (aka exemestane). While I noticed the hot flashes a bit and some other slight changes in the more feminine parts of my body, nothing was unbearable though you might pick up some over the counter lubrication if you get put on arimidex. Of the two I've been on, exemestane has been the harder on my joints. Exercise has helped a lot, but I have to be careful not to overstretch or overtax any joint. It takes too long for me to heal from overstressed joint injuries now. The vitamin D has helped a lot with that, but so did going to the foot specialist when my feet started hurting (inflamed toe joints!!!) where he prescribed toe splints and orthodics and Ibruprofen. I'm still using the orthodics and avoiding most toe stretching exercises--things I used to be able to do like down dogs, lunges, and stuff like that. I still go to exercise class but I avoid the stuff that hurts. I take my pills like clockwork. I use a pill box with a box for each day so I won't forget. I take the exemestane every night after dinner. Sometimes it makes folks sleepy, so I've been told. I haven't really noticed. But I have noticed that I get a headache if I forget to take it as directed. Do drink four glasses of milk a day: at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime along with a calcium supplement if you are put on arimidex. The time to protect your bones is before you lose them. That way you won't have trouble in the future.
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    Hi Joyce, I've been on tamoxifen since December. The only side effect I've had so far is the hot flashes. My onc, gave me 10mg pills to take twice a day because he said it was a little easier on the stomach. You learn to deal with the flashes, some nites are better than others. I am just freezing my poor hubby to death with the a/c at full blast but he sleeps with a long sleeve t-shirt and doesn't complain. I eat healthy meals, take 1200 mg of calcium daily plus 1000 iu of vitamin D. Unfortunately, I gained weight while on chemo and cannot get it off now, but I'm hoping once I stop taking the tamoxifen it will come off. Love you, Lili
  • Like mmontero, I too am on tamoxifen. Hot flashes are awful. I'm guessing that is from chemo induced menopause. I did not gain any weight during chemo but have gained 10 pounds since going on the tamoxifen and even though I exercise like a crazy person, cannot lose an ounce. Very frustrating.Other than the weight, the tamoxifen is ok.
  • Thanks everybody, for the advice and experiences. I had hoped that I have been through the hot flashes from the chemo menopause. They have gotten much less lately. I guess the new drugs will fan the flames again. Oh, well...as we all can say after everything else, I've been through worse! Thanks for sharing. love, Joyce
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159

    I have been taking Arimidex for over 4 years now...I have not had any side effects, thankfully! I tolerate it very well, and it is supposed to be "the drug" for staving off a recurrance. Depending on which type of BC we were diagnosed with. Mine was estrogen positive, and Arimidex effectively takes care of any estrogen we may be producing. I have gained a bit of weight, but that could be from lots of things! :-)

  • VermontPines
    VermontPines Member Posts: 12
    Joyce, I'm in my third year of Arimidex and am grateful every day for it. I'm 59, and it hasn't been a particularly easy drug for me, but the side effects are minimal compared to recurrence. My hair has thinned some (I used to look like a West Texas cheerleader, so that was ok lol), my skin is a bit crepey, and I have some pain in my hands. But none of those things is more than an annoyance. You will go through menopause a second time with it, but it ends within a couple of months. Given the choice of tamoxifen or Arimidex, I would opt for the Arimidex in a heartbeat if for no other reason than that there's less of a chance of blood clots. Some people report a decrease in libido, although I never found that. I do have to use a lubricant for intercourse, but there are so many 'fun' ones out there now that it isn't a problem. And yes, the more I read about vitamin D, the more I think that will be as crucial as any other treatment we might have. Good luck to you!