Anastrazole starting tomorrow

Anastrazole starting tomorrow!

So… d
iagnosed in Jan at routine mammo with stage 2 breast cancer- lumpectomy on Feb and one sentinel node also positive- oestrogen driven.

Plan was surgery (done) zoladex 12 weekly jab (hurt like beggary but no side effects so far)

Am due to start anastrazole tomorrow- should have been Thursday but I am dreading it! I’m just not looking forward to hot flushes and all the other rubbish and think mentally I have done ok so far but am anxious about potentially having bad side effects for a long time :mantelpiece_clock:

Do the side effects start the same day and do you get all of them or just some of them? Is it possible to have no side effects?

My hormone bloods showed post menopause (age 50) last period a year ago but consultant said has to be 2 years of no period to be considered post meno

So am actually confused about whether I am past the menopause or have I just been peri meno with some hot flushes before breast cancer

How have people found anastrozel to be?

I’m also bit worried about my joints all being stiff as I love my exercise and the thought of aches and pains is not looking forward to!

I feel like it’s a very powerful little pill!

Any advice for my first week on this stuff appreciated!

@littlebea I have been taking Anastrozole since mid December, definitely have had hot flushes and joints are stiff but it hasn’t stopped me cycling, swimming and playing pickle ball. If I need to walk too far paracetamol helps. Just had a first acupuncture session to help with the hot flushes :crossed_fingers:this was recommended by BCN and oncologist and through a local charity.
The effects aren’t great but I have just got on with it, I need to feel I am doing what I can to make sure that it doesn’t come back!! I will be taking them for 10 years.
Good luck and hopefully the effects won’t be too bad.

@elsie1 thank you for the reply! Did the side effects start the same day or do they build up over time?

That is good about the exercise, I have been doing light weight training to build up my muscle a bit and think being active can only help with any side effects

I am going to look into the acupuncture too

I am also taking the pills for 10 years and start 3 week radiotherapy on the 23rd

Hi @littlebea good luck with the Anastrazole, I know how daunting it is to take that first little pill (although mine was Letrozole). If you read some of the threads on here it is reasonable to assume that you’re going to have a terrible time and have every side effect going. It is highly unlikely that you’ll get the works!!. It is a bit of a cliche to say that everyone’s experience is unique to them but it is true. It is true that many women get a subset of the side effects and a significant proportion get none, or at least none that bother them. You won’t know where you are on this spectrum until you start the course. For example, the SE referenced most of the forum is joint pain. I haven’t had any joint pain and I’ve been on Letrozole for 18 months. Nor have I had hot flushes at all. I do get brain fog and fatigue and at the beginning, had an issue with vaginal dryness. The dryness was sorted out quickly and the brain fog and fatigue is helped by exercise (counter-intuitive, I know). Yes, sometimes it gets me down but I have a little break from the drugs and I feel ok again. Most of the effects of the drugs disappear over time when you stop taking them. In answer to your question, no they rarely start from Day 1 as it will take some time for the oestrogen to be removed from your body. As you are only just past the menopause, if you have significant problems, do not hesitate to ask your oncologist if you can start on Tamoxifen and move over to an AI in, say, 3 to 4 years time. It’s quite common to do that. Well done on facing this thing down so well so far. I wish you luck with rads and the endocrine treatment although many need no luck at all.

Hi, I’ve been taking anastrazole since last August and haven’t found it an issue however I am 60 so further through the menopause than yourself🤣. Noticed a bit of joint pain or maybe more of an ache but so far so good. I hope you get on ok with it. Good luck

@littlebea
Effects started gradually

I have been taking Anastrazole since August 2022. At first my hips were stiff & achy when I got up. That lasted a few months. After that I had stiff Achilles tendons, again that lasted a few months. Both were helped by gentle exercise; walking, yoga etc. Since then my only symptom is being a bit more tired in the evenings, but that might be age related (I’m 64). My life is pretty much as before. I’m pretty active. I know I’m lucky to have no or little symptoms but just see how it goes for you, you may not get the symptoms you expect. My fear is coming off Anastrazole in 3.5 years, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it :slightly_smiling_face:.

Good luck littlebea. This has been interesting reading as I too am starting Anastrazole soon.

Hoping it won’t be too bad as 10 years is a long slog.

Hi Everyone
I was on anastrazole 16 years ago and found it affected all the small joints/muscles in my hands and feet, making me very stiff every morning until I got moving. I was at a medical meeting where a cardiologist suggested that Co-enzyme Q10 (a vitamin-like antioxidant) might help with aches and pains caused by statins. I gave it a try and found it worked like magic for my anastrazole problem. If I forgot to take it I always knew after a couple of days. It’s available in supermarkets and seems a simple thing to try if any of you are suffering.
Good luck to you all.

Hello @littlebea

I’ve just read your post with interest: I had a similar situation and question mark about whether I was peri or post menopausal at 50 when I was diagnosed.

At my initial appointment when asked (by a male surgeon) where I was re menopause my answer was I’d been having shorter less frequent periods (hurrah!) and a few flushes and assumed it was due to menopause as I wasn’t pregnant, as a consequence he sent me for “the test” and that apparently showed I was post menopausal and he prescribed me Letrozole.

I then saw a female oncologist and questioned this particularly as I hadn’t been asked about my last period (3 months previously) and she confirmed that I was therefore in all likelihood peri menopausal and said I should be prescribed tamoxifen. I have been on tamoxifen for two and a half years and as part of my 5 year follow up appointments and more comprehensive blood test is carried out and this confirms I’m still peri menopausal even though I don’t have periods and haven’t for a couple of years.

I know from reading posts on here that it is not always menopause status which governs whether you are prescribed tamoxifen or an AI, but thought it might be helpful to mention that breast cancer surgeons are not necessarily best placed to prescribe hormone treatments

AM xxx

Hello Littlebea

I’ve been on Anastrazole since June last year, I guess the bone and muscle pain I do get is most likely down to this drug, I used to take it in the morning, I was advised if I was aching and stiff in the mornings to take it at night, and that helped a great deal, I developed pneumonia six weeks ago and my targeted drug Abemaciclib was stopped until next week, and I’ve had more bone and muscle pain since tapering of steroid treatment, and was told its most likely the Anastrazole
I start swimming gym next week as it was highly recommended and will definitely try out the Q10 that someone else has mentioned.

Good luck

Regards
D

I’ve been taking anastrozole for three years now , due to take it for 10 if I can ‘tolerate it’ (oncologist’s words), and so far it’s been fine. I take it at night in the hope of sleeping through any side effects. So far, so good.
Hope it’s kind to you too.

What did you do for the dryness ? I’ve been on it for a month and it’s not been great the past few days :cry:

I switched to Anastrozole from Tamoxifen as side affects with Tamoxifen (vaginal)
Now a lot of pain in joints and muscles disturbs sleep my Doctor got me to come off of it to see if that was the cause and it improved immensely but going to have to live with it or go back to Tamoxifen with different side affects , but that’s not to say everyone gets this as two of my friends on Anastrozole had none but I found walking my dog a couple times definitely helped.

I think some of us tolerate the Hormone therapy and others don’t. I have a bit of joint pain and i would live with that once i can get back to exercise . I’ve been doing a bit of yoga and I wanted to go for a run but the bladder side ffects flared up yesterday :frowning: I had them the 1st week and they subsided. I’m seeing the oncologist on Wednesday for my radiotherapy marking but I know with AIs, there is no chance of any vaginal oestrogen and tamoxifen comes with it’s own side effects plus AIs are supposed to be better interms of recurrence for post meno women.

Hi @klf to start with the vaginal dryness - I don’t think it got so bad that it would be classified as vaginal atrophy - was a massive shock and deeply upsetting. I am on Letrozole, an AI, but my oncologist wouldn’t prescribe a topical HRT like Vagirux pessaries or Ovestin cream because they both contain oestrogen. There has been a lot of recent research to say that topical HRT does not enter the bloodstream and therefore is not a risk to BC recurrence but my onco would not budge and said she would only prescribe it if I moved from Letrozole to Tamoxifen. I tried Tam and Vagirux for a month but did not get on with Tamoxifen so gave up the Vagirux pessaries and now use Hyalofemme cream which does not have any oestrogen in it. It is available without prescription but some GPs will put it on repeat prescription if instructed by oncologist. It stings a bit to start with but once the membrane inside the vagina mends, it is fine. It meant that I could go back to an AI which is way more effective for post-menopausal women. I also buy d-mannose for any minor urinary tract infection.

Thanks so much for your reply . I think it’s the lesser of evils :see_no_evil: Tamoxifen can cause dryness too :cry:.
I’d just ordered some hyalofemme. And some yes for internal . I think you can get YES pessaries on prescription….
All questions for onco .
I’ve read the studies that says vaginal
Oestrogen is safe but there aren’t many out there.
I’m still on the same brand Anastrazole that the onco dispensed . Dreading going on the GP ones as they are a different brand . Could be better or worse …

Having been on Anastrozole since Dec, I had a first acupuncture session last Thursday (recommended by oncologist for hot flushes). As well as needles in my ankles for the HF, she put 3 in a finger to help joint pain. Within a few days almost no HF and hip pain sooo much better. After just one session is it the needles or a placebo effect? I don’t care and although the next sessions aren’t until July I look forward to seeing what happens!

I had a lumpectomy at the end of February 2024, was prescribed Anastrozole a month later. After one week the pain in my joints started…to where I needed a walker! Contacted the Dr and she switched me to letrozole…told to wait ten days before starting. Within 4 days, same reaction. So bad that I could barely hold a fork or knife to eat with! Not to mention the sharp pains in both knees. Prior to this, I’d had a mild case of osteoarthritis in the left knee only. But I have had rheumatoid arthritis since 2006, which has been kept in remission using an antibiotic for 18 years now. Possibly the ai drugs caused the rheumatoid arthritis to act up and flare. Anyhow, I’ve stopped taking any drugs. Discussed via text with the doctor. I have a low oncoscore. The lumpectomy removed my 1.5cm tumor, there was nothing in the lymph nodes. So my chances of recurrence if I take the ai drugs is 3%. If I do NOT take the drugs, recurrence rate is 6%. So 94%chsnce of no recurrence within 5 years. Since I’m 77 years old…I think I’ll take my chances, as quality of life is difficult enough to maintain with normal aging.