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one more try/someone please answer!/AI comparison question

Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

I have been taking Femara for 5 years and have chosen to continue with some anti-estrogen medicine.  I want to switch from Femara to see if I have less depression and hair thinning - these are the side effects I've had on it - with anothe drug.  Is there anyone out there who has taken Aromasin or Tamoxifen (especially Aromasin, which is what my doctor suggested)?  Have you had depression and hair loss on these drugs, or any other side effects?


Thank you.



VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

has something very vaulable to add ... 


Vicki Sam

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

Hoping someone can answer your questions ohilly! 

Sue :)

JuJuBeez's picture
Posts: 332
Joined: Apr 2010


I started with Tamoxifen in August 2010. I was 43, premenopausal, had ER/PR+ IDC, Stage 1, tumor 1cm. My onco-type score was 12. I do not have the BRCA gene mutation. I had lumpectomy and radiation. No chemo. Tamoxifen was rough for me. I was sick all the time, bad hot flashes, leg cramps, foot cramps, bad eczema on hands and feet, immune system sucked. It seemed like I caught every bug that flew by. I had pneumonia twice, even. Last August, I told my onc that I didn't want to take it anymore. I was missing work left and right, sick all the time. He agreed to let me go off it and try Arimidex. I got Lupron shots for a few months to stop my ovaries from producing estrogen. I felt better right away. I had a full hysterectomy in February. I feel even better after that. I do get sleepy during the day, have some sleep issues at night, some joint pain, milder hot-flashes, but overall SOOO much better. My worst day on Arimidex is nothing like Tamoxifen. I have to exercise regularly, or I can feel like the tin man.

I have a friend who had the opposite experience. She started out on Arimidex, said she felt like an 80 year old woman, and switched to Tamoxifen and had no problem. She is my age, had mastectomy, and has Lupus.

My 73 year old step-mother was dx with ER+ breast cancer last year. She has tumors in her neck, stage 4. Her doc gave her Arimidex first to shrink the tumors, then to decide if they will do lumpectomy or mastectomy. Her tumors have shrunk, she has responded well to the Arimidex. Like me, she gets joint pain. It's mostly in our knees, and my shoulders.

Let me know how you do. Everyone is different, but some SE's do seem to be the norm.. like leg cramps for Tamoxifen, and achy joints for Arimidex. Oh, I didn't have hair loss, but my part is wider. LOL. I do have some depression, but that's normal for cancer patients, and menopausal women. And, I STILL have ridiculous eczema or something on hands and feet.

Clementine_P's picture
Posts: 516
Joined: Feb 2011

I have been on Tamoxifen for nearly 3 years and have not experienced depression or hair thinning.


Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
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Joined: Jun 2010

I thought your hair loss was from Taxotere????  Mine definitely is and for that it doesn't matter whether I take an AI or tamoxifen and the folks with the MDs finally admit it.  My switch from Arimidex to Tamoxifen was an attempt to see if Arimidex was contributing.  Apparently not as there is no difference on Tamoxifen and it's been 6 months. 

I can comment that I'm doing very well on Tamoxifen after switching from an AI (after 2 years).  While I thought my joint pain was just old age, since being on Tamoxifen, I have much less, practically none. 

Depression?  I took Lexipro for a few years prior to and during my breast cancer experience.  I DC'd that probably 4 months after treatment and have never looked back.  So I would say that neither Arimidex nor Tamoxifen have contributed to depression for me.  I will be interested to see if my bone density either slows or improves on Tamoxifen as this was a potential plus  my oncologist cited in suggesting I switch to Tamoxifen rather than Femara. 

And we're all different.  Whether you switch to Tamoxifen or Aromasin, if you experience unacceptable side effects, you can either stop or change to the other one.  Of course, one of the side effects of Tamoxifen is blood clots and that could be life threatening.  I have been on blood pressure medications for 20+ years.  I worry about side effects from them now that I've been on them so long.  Yet I take them every day because I believe if my blood pressure had been high for all these years I probably would have experienced a heart attack by now.  It sure would be nice if we didn't have any medical conditions to medicate!  But thank goodness we have medications to take.


lintx's picture
Posts: 691
Joined: Sep 2012


I've taken it 10 months now w/no side effects.  Linda

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

Both drugs are good to help lower your risks of the c from coming back.

I have been taking tamox since Aug. of 2011. I had depression for 3 months, then it went away. I am doing pretty well on it. I am now 35 (was dx at 32, strong ER+).

I think you should allow some time to see how you react to the drug. Everyone reacts to drugs differently as you know. I pray that everything works out for you and you make the right choice.

Good luck to you!



Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

thanks for all your helpful responses, but I'm still wondering:  is there anyone out there who has taken Aromasin and what side effects did you have?



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