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Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

Hi Everyone:

I've been on the Anostrozole (1mg daily) for about 2 months now.  Side affects for me have been massive weight gain, painful joints, occasional headaches, just to name a few.  Before I started taking it the doctor said the side effects are 'temporary' and subside after 6 months or so.  I am all for sticking things out, and I am not a cry-baby.  What bothers me most is the weight gain, as it is mostly around the mid-section.  So it seems bizzarre that a drug that is supposed to inhibit estrogen production would create fat around the midsection, which is a tell-tail sign of estrogen build-up in women.  Not to mention that despite my perfect eating/exercise habits, nothing is changing, and I don't find this particular healthy or comfortable.

I see her next week, and I'm seriously considering saying, 'I'm not going to take this anymore'.  Just wanted to get some feedback, and find out if any of you have declined this treatment (which is for my Stage 1 breast cancer which is in remission!  Finished radiation at end of March).  I know there are other types of meds, but most have a blood-clot risk.  And quite frankly, I don't think the side effects would be any less prominent.  Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated!

(((HUGS))) to you All!


Posts: 9
Joined: May 2014

I have been on this medicine for about 2 years. My side affects are about the same and they will level out. I don't like the weight gain either, but I would rather have that then the cancer spreading. Glad to hear you are in remission and that all goes well for you.

God Bless!!!

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I have never, ever stopped or interrupted any of my treatments (except one drug, xgeva, which I was told I had to stop because of jaw osteonecrosis, after 5 years of it).  I have had all of the side effects that you mention, but I have always looked at it like I have to manage my side effects so I can live.

I can't give you the answer, but I can tell you that I had Stage 3 cancer in 1987 and wasn't expected to go 5 years without a recurrence.  I went 18 years and have now been Stage 4 for 9 years.  I am a 27 year survivor and, if there is a purpose to my living, I believe it is to share the importance of staying the course of your treatments.  I KNOW it is hard and it sucks, but cancer is worse!!!   

Set small goals for yourself to get some exercise each and every day.  For me, that is sometimes just walking around the block.  Any exercise will lubricate your joints and make them less painful (think of it as getting out the oil can for your Tinman body).  You will feel less pain and it will gradually help the pain.  See a pain specialist to help with the pain.  If that doesn't work, ask about switching to aromasin or femara (both are similar to arimidex but each have slightly different side effects).  Next time you have blood work done, make sure you check your vitamin d level.  Low vitamin d can make your pain worse. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/748096

Finally, please talk with your onc about your feelings.  Ask them to help you manage your side effects.  Don't give up and don't quit!!!!  Cancer is our very worst enemy!!!!

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

After 7 weeks and a couple of days, I should have stopped it after a week! I can live with the weight gain, it was extreme joint and muscle pain, combined with the pain from bone mets, where it became a quality of life issue.
I took a break to get it out of my system, then started on Aromasin. It also has se, but they leveled off. Now I willsee in another month (I am in my 3rd month) if it is helping (measured by tumor markers).

Before stopping it, I would ck w/onco to see if there is an alternative. If weight gain is the worst se, you may want to reconssider. Anything that stops a recurrance or metastatic cancer from developing is worth minor se. I sure wish that there would have been options, like Arimadex or Aromasin back in 2002/03 when Tamoxifen was toxic to my system, who knows I may not have progressed to stage iv!
I agree with CC, adherance, when possible, gives us our best shot at a long life!

jendrey's picture
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

I refused to take it because I have enough lingering side effects from the chemo as it is.  If my doctor cared to run a CYP2D6 test to see if I can even metabolize these types of drugs, I might reconsider.  Are you certain that your body can metabolize this drug?  If not, then I'd hazard a guess that all you'd be getting out of it are the horrible side effects and nothing of its proposed benefits.  But that's just my personal thoughts on the matter - just because the trade off isn't worth it (so to speak!) to me, doesn't mean it'd be the right thing for you to do or anyone else for that matter.


Just a thought...