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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

No serious side effects from therapy with anastrozole have been reported.
Common

Headache, diarrhea, nausea, hot flashes, back pain, weakness, and a feeling of reduced energy (asthenia).
Less Common

Dizziness; chest pain; tingling or numbness in the extremities (paresthesia); weight gain; abdominal pain; vaginal itching, dryness, and occasionally bleeding; swelling of fingers and skin around the eyes; rash; formation of blood clots.
Anastrozole


Drug Class:
Antiestrogen; antineoplastic (anticancer) agent

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Arimidex 1 mg
(Zeneca)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Tablets

Why Prescribed
Anastrozole is given for breast cancer chemotherapy. It is usually prescribed for postmenopausal women with breast cancer who have already undergone treatment with other antiestrogen medications such as tamoxifen.

How It Works
The growth of some breast tumors is stimulated by estradiol, a hormone that is produced by adult females. Anastrozole is not directly toxic to cancer cells but rather reduces blood levels of estradiol in the body and thus inhibits the growth of such tumors.

Range and Frequency
1 mg or 10 mg tablet, taken once daily.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Maintain adequate food and fluid intake. Calorie, protein, and vitamin needs increase in patients with cancer. Good nutrition is essential to cope with the demands of chemotherapy.

Storage
Store safely and securely away from heat and light.

Missed Dose
Anastrozole is prescribed for once-daily use only. If you are unable to take this medication on a particular day, skip the missed dose and resume your regularly scheduled dose the following day. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
This medication is used to treat a chronic condition. You may need to remain on this medication for an extended period, and you should take the drug exactly as prescribed throughout the course of treatment. The decision to stop the drug must be made in consultation with your doctor. Do not stop taking anastrozole on your own, even if you are feeling better. Contact your doctor if you have any questions about the way you feel while taking anastrozole, or if you think that you are experiencing a side effect that would require discontinuation of the drug.

Prolonged Use
There is no standard duration of therapy with anastrozole, although you can expect to remain on it for several weeks in order to determine if it is effective. Your doctor will determine whether your response to the drug is satisfactory or not, and will recommend the continuation or discontinuation of therapy.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of anastrozole may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery safely or perform hazardous work.

Alcohol
Avoid alcohol while taking this drug.

Pregnancy
Anastrozole must not be used in pregnant women. Although anastrozole is not generally prescribed for premenopausal women, it is important that patients be sure they are not pregnant before starting treatment with this drug.

Breast Feeding
Use of this drug is not recommended while breast feeding; the benefits must clearly outweigh potential risks. Consult your doctor for advice.

Infants and Children
Use of anastrozole is not approved for infants and children.

Special Concerns
Patients with cancer are very often weakened by their illness, by poor nutrition, and by the effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Such patients are more likely to experience undesirable side effects of a medication. In addition, these side effects may be more pronounced. Follow all medication directions carefully.

Overdose Symptoms
No cases of overdose with anastrozole have been reported.

What to Do
An overdose is unlikely; however, if you have any reason to suspect that one has occurred, call emergency medical services (EMS) to receive evaluation and treatment in the closest emergency facility.

Drug Interactions
No significant interactions.

Food Interactions
No significant interactions.

Disease Interactions
No significant interactions.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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