Anastrozole side-effects

Hi all

I have yet to start hormone therapy but have been told I will be on anastrozole.  My oncology appointment is on the 24th August, where radiotherapy and hormone therapy will be discussed.  


I am dreading hormone therapy and have got so hung up on it all this last week, and am eating and drinking myself silly.  This is, of course, making me put on weight.  I lost nearly a stone whilst in hospital with sepsis in June (following lumpectomy I got an infection but not from the wound) and I don’t want to put it back on.  I have had to give myself a good talking to this morning to stop the needless self-destruction comfort eating and drinking.  I need to get into a healthy lifestyle frame of mind before I begin therapy.


Anyone on here taking anastrozole?  I would like to know how you are getting on with it and combating any side-effects.  


Many thanks for your help/advice.



Alison :cathappy:



Hi Alison, Im on Letrozole, but just acknowledging your post. It’s always the fear of the unknown , isn’t it, that puts us in a spin?  For me it was getting to grips with either taking the tablets, and facing the alternative. The tablets are to give us a better fighting chance. My tumour was oestrogen driven, and Letrozole inhibits the production of that hormone. The stories about it aren’t great, but I reminded myself that people who post are not the ones for whom everything is going great. As with chemo, everyone is different. I’m hoping I manage SE’s OK , and I’m hoping and wishing the same for you. I’m sure some Anastrizole ladies will be along soon to support you. Best wishes. X

Hi Alison,
As Annie says, understandably, those with problems will post here, those who are ok or find side effects manageable are not necessarily going to report this, so problems are not inevitable.
If side effects do become an issue, then you’ll deal with it then.
It is doing an important job, so just see how go.
As you say, looking at lifestyle helps to deal with it, it’s something most of us do.
ann x

Hi Alison. I’m an Anastrozole lady and have been taking it since Feb this year. Like you I was horrified by the list of potential side-effects on the packet and looked at the packet in dread for a week, and took the first one on  the last day of rads in case I got 2 lots of side-effects.(As it was the rads were fine…)

I can honestly say that I have had NO side effects whatsoever so far- even wondered if it was working…Being already 1 and a half stone overweight at diagnosis, I began a healthy weight-loss programme and more exercise a month before beginning the Anastozole, and have now lost 2 stone since January and am keeping it stable - (don’t want to lose any more else I’ll look scraggy at my wrinkled age!) The upside is that being lighter now, my pre-existing arthritis in hips is better -an unexpected bonus, since i was expecting all the predicted joint pains etc. with the Anastrozole.

I have noticed that it is important to eat healthily on the Anastozole though - if I have a pizza and chips binge with a few glasses of wine I can put on 2 pounds overnight, but a return to the veggies sorts it out in a day or so, but I think I will always have to be a bit more vigilent about calories on this drug than previously. It’s a case of catching the weight gain when it is a few pounds and not a few stones.

Whilst it is still early days - exactly 6 months on it so far -even if a few side effects manifest in the future,  I know i will deal with them, as the alternative to not taking the drug - possible recurrance - would be far worse. Also, if you don’t get on with it there are alternative hormone treatments I think.

I have a theory about the hormone treatments for post-menopausal folk (I’m assuming you are post-menopausal as you have been prescribed it?) that there may be far less oestrogen in our bodies anyway, post-menopause, so the effect of the drug would be less of a shock to the system possibly?.Try not to worry ahead of time - the only way you’ll know is to take the blooming stuff, but as the previous poster pointed out, people who are having problems are more likely to post for advice, and those who are fine on it tend not to post, unless it is to reassure, like now. All the best with the next stage of your treatment and let us know how you go on. xxxxxxx

Hi Alison,

I’m with you on all the worries about the side effects of Anastrozole. I fretted over starting taking it, read all I could and delayed as long as possible, even asking if I could not take it as my ONCdx score showed a low chance or reoccurrence. No one would say that I should not take, everyone official said I should take it.

in the end I bit the bullet or pill and started taking them 2 weeks ago and I have been fine. The first few evenings (I take my pill around 6pm) I felt hyper and full of energy, but that has now worn off and am back to normal. I do get the odd “warm moment” but then I always have, sometimes I feel a bit cold (never used to) . 

In all my reading I discovered that everyone seems to have different issues and I too came to the conclusion that mostly patients with problems will post on forums.

I have started taking some extra vitamins to help stave off any bone density loss and joint pain. 

I have also joined Slimming World to loose weight and get into healthier eating habits.

I wish you all the best with your tablets, it’s not been bad as I’d feared. And remember if for some reason you don’t get on with one brand do ask to be given another one to try. 

Take care and all the best xx

Hi Alison and Susie
I have been on Anastrozole for nearly 5 years and Prior to that did one year on Tamoxifen. I have had very little problem at all with Anastrozole apart from a bit of joint ache which I find exercise helps. I did initially have hot flushes and night sweats but seemed to get passed those ok.
I do think that the side effects do vary from person to person but I know a few people who have been fine as well. Hope all goes well for you both

Thanks ladies


As you say I guess we often only hear the bad side-effects.  I am with you Optimissy, I will sort out the lifestyle and focus on staying fit and healthy.  Like you keeping the weight off helps with my already aching joints so I don’t want to put any on if I can help it.  Well done on losing 2stones!  


Good idea about the vitamins Susie, hope you continue to feel fine on the tablets.

I am more than happy to take the pills just need to know I will deal with any effects they have.  


Thank you for the positive feedback, helps a lot.  I will let you know how it goes, positive as well as negative feedback!



Alison :cathappy:

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Forgot to mention earlier that my oncologist suggested a product for joint ache called CondroMax which is available on line by HealthSpan.
It is a mixture of Condroitin and Glicosamine. Did help with the early achy days

Hi, I’ve been taking anastrazole for 2 months now so not very long, I also have an injection of zoladex (sub-cut) monthly. I haven’t had a painful period for 2 months so that’s a bonus but I am suffering with insomnia…I wake up 3 or 4 times during the night and can’t get back to sleep after, I can cope with the few sweats/hot flushes that I have, I always felt the cold anyway so in some ways it’s nice to feel warmer ? my only downside at the moment is bone/joint pain in my elbows, wrists and hands which is having an impact on my job as a hairdresser. I’ve been told this does tend to wear off after a few months but I’ve read some of the other comments on here and some are saying they’ve had to come off anastrazole because of the pain in the joints etc. Everybody is different though and you may sail through it. I’m waiting to hear from my bc nurse as to what I can do about the pains in my joints n bones whether they’ll decide to swap tablets or recommend a supplement!
Hope you get on ok.

Hiya love, everything is a bit daunting isnt it? I start my radio therapy tomorrow 31st August and i am bricking it and no mistake. Lol i had a set back after a lumpectomy back in may. I had a build up of infestion that decided there was only one way out and that was through my beautiful scar. By the time it had finished haemoraging thick yellow gunk i was left with a hole just over an inch deep and just over an inch wide. It was horrible. But, after alot of antibiotics and keeping it clean it has almost healed. While all this was going on the doctor decided to start the hormone therapy while waiting for the radio therapy. It hasnt given me any side affects that i cant cope with just a bit of a headache the first week i started taking them and i have really bad facial sweats. When i say bad i mean running down my face and off the end of my chin, down my neck and down my back. It isnt very nice especially when your out and about. I carry a flannel in my bag and face wipes to cool me down. It works for me but ofcourse it depends on the person and no two people have the same symptoms do they. I do hope all goes well for you love. Perhaps you could keep in touch and let me know how you get on. It would be nice to have someone who is going through the same thing to talk to. I wont be offended if you say no love, i know not every one wants to share.
Take care Alison good luck.

Hi Poppy,
Just a thought, is it worth asking if you can go back on tamoxifen, especially in view of the osteoporosis as tamoxifen is better for bone health.
I do have the option of going onto AIs, but prefer to remain on tamoxifen, which the oncologist agreed with.
ann x

Ah I see, Poppy, well good luck with it all & hope the change of brand helps.
ann x

Poppy you can take Tamoxifen post menopause -it is marginally less effective but you can take it if the other meds don’t agree with you .

Poppy it’s because research has shown they are marginally more helpful in stopping a re-occurrence than Tamoxifen when you have gone through the menopause .

Hi, Ive been taking anastrozole for  a month now and ive been really unwell with it. Awful nausea and waking up in the night constantly needing a wee, also very stiff achy joints. Dr has now given me some anti nausea meds which seem  to be helping and my radiotherapy is almost over. 

I keep reminding myself how lucky I am as I didnt need chemo and the cancer has all been taken out of me, but I underestimated the effects these meds, and the Radioth, would have on me. I feel  like an old Crone!

Does anyone know when the nausea stops? Im off work because I felt so unwell and I dont want to take extra tabs (anti nausea) for ever more.?

Hello Ladies 

All your posts have been very helpful and informative.


After having two lumpectomy ops. I have been taking anastrozole for five months. 

Hours of research revealed it is a very powerful drug and very effective at blocking estrogen production.  Also that if a dose is missed, there is sufficient in your system from the day before. This is also stated in a booklet the hospital breast care nurse gave me.

The doctors will simply prescribe 1 mg. a day to one and all, as it would be time consuming to say start slowly and build up the dose gradually. but  I thought it was worth a try.

My very best wishes to you all. 


I have been taking Anastrozole for about 2 months…Having hot flashes and I feel horrible mentally ,fuzzy headed ,thinking all over the place and feeling depressed and  mood swings…this was not me a month ago…I am praying it will ease up…Going to try L-theanine cause someone said could  help with mood swings and depression…this is awful…went through finding out I had cancer and having double mastectomy with a pretty good mental outlook on things and kept the faith…now after starting this med I  feel horrible…

Hi Ali

i have been taking Anastrozole for 5 months. So far the side effects have been weaker pelvic floor muscles to the point of needing tens ladies day and night. I have lung nets so was coughing a lot which didn’t help. My Pilates teacher helped me build up pelvic floor muscles and I no longer need protection but the coughing has stopped too so that has helped. I get hot flushes but debilitating. And at first I got really cold but that doesn’t seem as bad now. The only other side effect is very weak nails. I keep getting hang nails and they have always been weak but now very bad, flaky and my thumb nail looks as though it might split length ways down the middle. I’m keeping it really short otherwise I get a notch out of it at the top which catches on things. I’ve put nail hardening on so hopefully that will work. Good luck with it all. 
love Jac x