Anastrozole, side effects do they get better

Hello everyone, this is my first post on this very supportive forum although I have been reading the advice since my diagnosis in July 13.

I have been taking Anastrozole since the middle of August straight after my surgery and thought I was getting away with side effects because I have felt fine until about 3 weeks ago when I started getting a little achy  around the knees bottom of my back and my hips. It can be painful when doing the things I really enjoy like walking and dancing. I will also be cycling when the spring comes and I worry that this will be painful too. It does seem to be getting worse. Also I am not sleeping well because of pins and needles in both arms and hands which wake me all the time.

Can anyone give me any reassurance that these side effects will get better or do I just have to live with them.

Can I say a big thank you to all the ladies that answer these posts you have all helped me so much to be positive about this cancer journey.

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care discussion forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good, honest support from the many informed users of this site.

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Take care,

Jo, Moderator

Hey, me too! I’ve just done a first post with similar side effects. Saw a doc for hip, back, knee pains and just take pain killers when needed. Waiting on others for useful tips. be good to see what they say won’t it. Here’s hoping.

Ladies, just been catching up …

I was on femara for 18 months but it gave me dreadful brain-fuddle, so my clinic changed me to anastrozole 18 months ago. Yes I do get some s/e with stiff/achey joints and bone loss BUT I take supplements: a calcium, magnesium and vit D (coudn’t tolerate the Adcal AT ALL), a cod liver oil and chondroitin, and an omega 3. These seem to do the trick, so I stopped taking them for a couple of months and the s/e got bad again. So I am quite happy to take all these every day, as is my GP - he worked out how many calcium capsules to take to be equivalent to Adcal to make sure I was getting enough. I buy them from the well-known chemist that sounds like shoes, but I think I could have them on prescription if I asked.

The one thing that does concern me a bit is that I get very tired, particularly if I get a bit stressed, so I try to make sure I get enough rest/sleep, and have the occasional ‘rest day’ when I just read, watch TV, cook an easy meal. Of course at 66, this may well be the ‘natural physiology of aging’ combined with a fairly grim tension load of the last 3 years.

Certainly everyone seems to react to these drugs somewhat differently, so make a fuss until you get more help and advice.


hugs to all


I don’t know what to say about the side effects. My problems started on day 1, with wrist and finger pain. My day 6 I was tremendous head, neck and joint pain. My doctor took be off it after 6 days, and 3 weeks later the side effects are less but not gone. My thumb and wrist hurt a lot and on and off during the a different joint will ache. I also get lupron shots, so I don’t know if there is a connection there. Does anyone else have experience with anastrozole with lupron. I’m at the point of stopping all meds and taking my chances since it was early stage cancer. thoughts?


I hope you feel better soon. I think my case is unusual.

Hi, I have been on anastrazole for close to 3 years after lumpectomy, chemo and radiation.  I started with horrible joint pain.   I could barely get up off the floor after playing with my grandchildren.  I’m 57 years old and felt like I was 87.  It went on for several months.  I asked my onc for suggestions, but he said it was common and just something I would learn to live with.  My husband is an anesthesiologist with a pain clinic and was so unhappy with the doctors response that he began researching, reading everything he could get his hands on.  There were a few studies that indicated that taking Vitamin D had helped some patients. I started immediately and the joint pain dissapeared.  I have had significant hair loss on the top of my head - the hair is much finer and I can see my scalp in some places.  The worst thing was my  back.  I spent 6 months unable to sit - only walk or lay on my stomach.  I underwent 2 surgeries for degenrative disc desease - a severly herniated disc.  Has anyone else experienced this?  I know my bone density has plunged.  

hi girls just been reading your threads on this subject. I too have very bad back pain and joint pains in a morning and they do no go till i move around. sometimes at night my back aches and so difficult to become comfy. I think the key is definatley excercise and keep moving, if i sit for an hour watching tv my back aches again so yes girls move move move!!! it kills me but its not gonna win.I have suffered thinning hair on top of scalp and gets me down , but hopefully it will become thicker after the five years of anastrozole.(anyone know anyone that says it does?]

i have had my second dexa scan and i am on Adcal tablets please take note of what you eat with them e.g bran, whole meal because of the absorption from the tablet is reduced (please read leaflet)

im wanting to know if the calcium tablets restore calcium loss and when you finish them your bones are topped up?{might be something for life?

appreciate any replys girls cils …

Side effects! Do they last? I’ve been taking Anastrozole since August, and I get a lot of upper arm pain, and mood swings. I was wondering if anyone else is going through the same thing, or already have done, and if they have any advise for me on whether they last or not?

Hi Lindylou2250,

Welcome to the forum and I am sure some of our users will be sharing their information and support soon.

I have moved your post to an already existing thread called Anastrozole, side effects do they get better to give users more of a chance to respond.

In the meantime you could always call our support lineat 0808 800 6000 who will be able to talk to you about Anastrozole and offer a friendly ear.

Best wishes, 


Digital Community Assistant 

Hi ladies, I’m also taking Anastrozole. My bones ache terribly. I’ve been on them for 3 mths now after having a mastectomy 4mths ago. My moods are up and down I feel so alone. I’m a hairdresser so I put on my smile and do my hair and get on with it. But some days it’s just unbearable. My husband doesn’t understand so I have no support. I’m putting on weight and I’m exhausted all the time so I’m feeling old ugly and worthless at 51. Trying to come to terms with my body changes and trying to tell your husband how you feel is hard. Help!!!

Hi all

Saw the specialist this week, she advised that I could go on tamoxifen instead as its a lot easier on the body, plus I can use localised oestrogen with it. Downside is it’s a 10 year and not a 5 year drug. I’
m going to consider it though, anastrozole really wipes you out.

I also told my husband I felt like an old woman and he didn’t know how to respond. They really don’t understand sadly.
I have found that taking the Accord version of anastrozole is kinder on the bones, I don’t know why.

Dwnie, let us know how if yiu decided to give up the medication and how you get on. I’m sure it’s something we’ve all considered.

A quick hello from me. I wanted to say I started Anastrazole in October last year. I struggled with joint pain, mood etc. I was happy to persevere with the tablets. However, at my first surgical review I was taken off them and switched to Exmestane. The few weeks break I had were wonderful. However, I have adjusted to them - a bit of low mood and insomnia but nowhere near as tough, so I really recommend speaking with your team xx

I’ve been on Anastrozole for two months now. Initially I had no side effects but now, not only can I not stop my mind whirling at night, but I’ve also got terrible pains in my legs. The leg pain only comes on at night as I go to bed. Paracetamol doesn’t help. Has anyone else experienced this please? Will it settle? I’m so tired. Thank you

Soobee I did adjust to most of the side effects but struggled with joint pain with Anastrazole. I took them for six months. I’m now 2 months into Exmestane and no joint pain yet (other than what I already had!). No longer struggling with insomnia, my mind isn’t whirling and far fewer hot flushes. I am very tired but I think it’s managing work xx

Thanks Janey2. I’m seeing my GP soon. I might have a conversation about it but we’re going away for a long holiday so any change might not be a good idea.
I hate feeling so pants!

I find the conclusion of the Anastrozole paper misleading.[a]


This was a large and random sample in its first stages;

20% of the women in the Anastrozole group dropped out because of the side effects;

The researchers reported that, ‘‘Anastrozole effectively reduces incidence of breast cancer in high-risk postmenopausal women’’;

The results are: ‘’ The group taking Anastrozole experienced fewer cases of breast cancer.‘’

 This conclusion was given after a five year term on one experiment with 125 women.


On the other hand, the researchers are to be thanked for their efforts in Science and encouraged to repeat the study.

 [a] ‘‘Anastrozole for prevention of breast cancer in high-risk postmenopausal women (IBIS-II): an international, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial.’’ Funded by Cancer Research UK

After a Medical Centre  prescribed Anastrozole IMG /one per day, I began to notice differences in my wife: Although she had some loss of short term memory before this time the new differences were:

-having problems controlling  mood, or controlling  emotions; swelling of lower leg or ankle; loss of appetite; sickness/ vomiting; severe constipation; coldness/ shivering; weakness; confusion; mood changes; nervousness; panic attacks; agitation; drowsiness; feeling empty and sad; coughing more than usual.

 After this was reported to the Medical Practice the strength of my wife’s anti- depressant tablets were increased from 15MG to 30MG.

During the period when an anti-depressant drug was increased: Mirtazapine 15MG to 30MG, I found, in my wife, a marked desire to sleep longer but a lessening in anxiety until some small crisis happened such as: trying to pay bills she had paid already; trying to pay fines for parking which had already been dealt with; forgetting why she had received letters from hospital about her condition. These events where always accompanied by tears.

I have terrible headaches, bone & muscle pain. Feels like electric shocks going off in my body and legs twitching like crazy from it. In ER twice in pat 2 weeks with headache & bone pain. Only gave me an anti anxiety drug and sent me home. Stopped taking anastrazole 7 days ago. Feeling better but not normal yet. William see my oncologist on the 20th.

Has anybody had problems with bruising please? I have quite a few, some of them quite large. I do bruise easily anyway but this is more than usual. Any ideas please?

I’ve asked my doctor to put a note on my prescriptions asking the chemist not to give me the Teva brand. This one seems to not only give me joint ache with cramps in lower legs/feet but also make me very moody.
I’ve been taking anastrozole for nearly 3 years and can’t wait to come off it. I also have mornings when my ankles are painful, but again this is worse in the Teva brand.

I can’t speak for anyone else but as I’m 56 some of these issues could just be age related, although I didn’t have them 3 years ago.

Hope this helps.