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Arimidex and osteopenia
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Arimidex and osteopenia

I am 48 yrs. old and was diagnosed with b/c in July of 2008.  I have undergone a lumpectomy, chemotherepy -AC/T and radiation.  I finished this course last spring.  I was also on tamoxifen until about four weeks ago.  I had an ooferectomy almost 2 weeks ago as a precaution, as my mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 59. I felt great until I started Arimidex on Tuesday, and now I feel horrible.  I feel constantly tired and weak and my mind is not alert, I'm having trouble focusing on simple puzzles.  I've also been emotionally fragile since Tuesday, crying or on the verge of crying. Will this pass?  I'm thinking about starting 1/2 a pill for a few nights and working up to my 1mg pill slowly, hoping that this will ease me into the side effects of Arimidex. On Friday I found out that I have osteopenia, the start of osteoporosis.  I'm freaking out because I don't want to start another drug such as Fosamax or other bisphosphonates. My history:   I was diagnosed with a 2.5 cm tumor with calcification totally 4.5cm.in July 2008. Stage 2A/grade 2 with LVI-lymphatic vascular invasion. Estrogen and progesterone positive.  If anyone can tell me something about Arimidex and the above side effects and osteopenia and whether or not I need to start a bisphosphonates please let me know.  Thank you, Louisa
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10 Comments
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Your situation sounds very familar to mine.  I am also 48 and was diagnosed last year with ER/PR+ bc.  i had lumpectomy and radiation. i was going to start tamoxifen but i had my ovaries out a few months ago and my oncologist wants me to start arimidix.  she ordered a dexa scan which came back -2.1.  I am afraid to start the arimidix because the person that gave me the dexa scan said it will put me into full blown osteoporosis.  i am really suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, etc.  Are you having any of those problems since your oophrectomy?  I am thinking of starting progesterone - it helps the bones, stops the hot flashes and night sweats, and supposedly helps prevent breast cancer.  What was your dexa score?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Kelsey:

Thank you for your response, it is much appreciated.  I will see my family doctor on Tuesday to get my dexa score.  But for now I'm concerned with my reaction to the Arimidex.  I took my first dose last Tuesday morning at 9:30am, at 12:30p I went to bed for a few hours.  Long story, short....I've been feeling horrible since last Tuesday.  No energy, very tired and shaky, MENTAL FOG, very emotional, I've cried at least one time everyday since. Even when I was diagnosed with BC i believe I cried only once.  I feel I can't do this for 5 years. I tried 1/2 pill yesterday to see if there is any difference, I think there is.  I'm feeling a little better, but I've also heard that the Arimidex stays in you for about 3 days. I'm not a heavy person, about 124lbs, and I just recently had my ovaries removed (very easy, no complications or side effects that were bothersom, I actually felt great...until the arimidex),so my question is:  Why am i taking a 1mg dose, which is standard, when a women who weighs a lot more than me and still has her ovaries takes the same dose.  If you know the answer, or know where I can find the information, please let me know. To answer your questions, I did suffer for nightsweats and hotflashes, but complared to what I'm going though now, I can handle that.
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Avatar_f_tn
I feel really bad for you. I have experienced similar reactions to meds.  I know there are alternatives to Arimidix.  You should ask your oncologist.  It sounds like that is causing the problem. Good luck on Tuesday and let me know what they suggest in regards to your bones.
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1162347_tn?1293506770
Hi and I can so relate to your doubts on the mentioned medicines, I have given up on taking any of them and least of all any bisphosphonates the side effects are simply terrible specially Boniva, there is a site about these meds and all the posters are those women who have taken them, you can look it up under "Boniva side effects" or http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=21455&name=BONIVA, this is a forum where patients detail the side effects they had.

Regarding Arimidex, I got this info from a medical site and not ever from the lab Web sites, they always hide information.

ARIMIDEX: Generic name Anastrozol
• Not all women experience the same side effects while using ARIMIDEX. [True]
• Side effects are usually predictable as to when they will appear, how long they will last and severity. [Not true]
• The side effects are reversible and will disappear when treatment is over.[Not true]  
• Many options exist to help minimize or prevent the side effects.[Minimize true prevent not true]
• There is no relation between the presence and severity of side effects and Arimidex  effectiveness.  

Common side effects of Arimidex:
    * Back pain**
    * Cough
    * Difficulty breathing**
    * Osteoporosis [ I already have it]**
    * Accidental injury
    * Broken bones**
    * Insomnia (see Arimidex and Insomnia)
    * Swelling or water retention in the arms or legs [Lymphedema type]**
    * Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    * Constipation
    * Diarrhea
    * High cholesterol (see Arimidex and High Cholesterol)
    * Infections
    * Weight gain (see Arimidex and Weight Gain)
    * Breast pain
    * Dizziness**
    * Urinary tract infection (bladder infection or UTI)
    * Loss of appetite.
    * Depression (see Arimidex and Depression)**
    * Anxiety**
    * High blood pressure (hypertension)
    * Difficulty breathing**
    * Unusual or unexplained vaginal bleeding**
    * Increase in tumor size or appearance of new tumors**
    * Signs of a heart attack: chest pain, shortness of breath, and jaw or arm pain**
    * Signs of a blood clot, such as:
    * Pain
    * Swelling
    * Tenderness (especially in the legs)

    * Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
    * Unexplained rash
    * Hives
    * Itching
    * Unexplained swelling.

Some of the rare side effects include but are not limited to:
    * Flu-like symptoms (such as fever or chills)
    * Indigestion or heartburn
    * Unusual sensations, such as burning or tingling
    * Pelvic pain
    * Muscle pain**
    * Sinus infection
    * Vaginal infection or inflammation
    * Cataracts**
    * Dry mouth
    * Bronchitis
    * Sweating
    * Anemia
    * Thick, white vaginal discharge.

It does not mean you will get all these side effects, you will have side effects but not all of the mentioned ones, watch our for the ones marked with**.

If you want to know what to do about your bone health, drop me a note and I will provide you all the info I have and that I got from a bone specialist.

Take care.
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Avatar_f_tn
I started taking Arimidex a month ago and I have experienced some of the symptoms you mentioned.For example constipation, vision bluriness, disoriented, shortness of breath, hot flashes, heartburn arm pain,and joint stiffness. I'm concern because I have cataracts,WBC Esterase is abnormal ,Epithelial cell abnormality low-grade squamous lesion, mild dysplasia and human papillomavirus.
I'm schedualed to see my medical onogologist next month so I will bring all this info with me.
Please let me know if you can give me any tips on these side affects.
Thank you,
Cristina
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492898_tn?1222247198
I  was just absolutely not able to tolerate any of these drugs. (I lasted the longest on femara but not long) In my experience it does not help the least to take only half the dose. You may just also be one who cannot take them. With tamoxifen the symptoms did get better over time but I do understand why you are being prescribed the aromatase inhibitors.

it's a difficult choice but for me stopping was an 'emergency', not so much because of the 'life threatening' side effects but even worse it's 'soul threatening' side effects.  katrin
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks Katrina:

I spoke to my family doctor on Tuesday and she told me to stop taking arimidex right away.  She is going to speak with my oncologist and will let me know what my options are.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have the same effects with FEMARA, i FEEL AWFUL!! do not know whats's my option
just have taking it for a week, When I was diagnosed with BC I felt good Now, I am a Zombie.
will talk to my Oncologist, and try ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, I will not be able to go on for 5 years like this.
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492898_tn?1222247198
I know what you mean. But for both you and  louisat, make sure you are not left without anything in the area of hormone treatment for too long. I was and my cancer came back during the time I was off it.  (Obviously it could have come back anyway but I don't want you to take that risk and end up like me) See, my oncologist made me try all three of the A.I.
first  Arimidex. (I lasted about three to four days) and then
Femara  Lasted three weeks) and then Aromasin (one or two days)

If I were you i would not try all three of them. if two don't work , the chances are the third one won't make you feel any better even if they say so? And then I had to recover between them as well .

I am now getting Faslodex which is a shot once a months at the doctor's office. I had almost zero side effects at first and this drug is very slow to work. You may not notice symptoms until the third month? It's now my 4th month and the hot flashes are bad. I am also nauseous a lot but that may be from other things, i don't know. (nausea is listed as a side effect though)

Take care, Katrin
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you Katrin for sharing your knowledge, I will talk to my Oncologist,
What is FASLODEX ?. I am only taking Femara for a short time, and I feel awful. There is some other drug wiithout this terrible effects ?,Tuesday, I have a Consultation with a Radiation Oncologist, I am anxious to start this therapy. But, I have to be careful on how to choose the right Radiation T. I have Cosmetic implants and I know , if I get Standard outside Radiation, Capsular Contraction is a huge and terrible side effect.
Please, give me , you assesment,
I can't thank you enough.

Ali.
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