arimadex and painful joints

ive been on arimadex since last summer and find that im having increasing pain especially in my hip .its so painful that walking is really hard . im taking ibruprofin but find it only just masks the pain and its still there whatever i do .i sit wth a hot water bottle on my hip. is this cause for concern or just a normal side effect of the arimadex. i find my quality of life is severly compromised as cant walk far withoout pain. id be grateful for any tips, and do i need extra bone meds ? thanks lynn x

Hi Aroma
I started with severe hip pain around the tme I was on rads and taking Arimidex. I had a bone scan which showed osteo-arthritis in both hips, feet and hands. I have been on the bisphosphonate Alendronic Acid, plus Calcichew/Vit.D for a year now to build up my bones - severely depleted by 30 yrs of steroids for Crohn’s. Arimidex does not protect the bones in post-menopausal women as tamoxifen does and being ER+ I cannot take HRT. I don’t want to go back onto Tamoxifen (only had it for 2 months then my Onc switched me to Arimidex) as it has a much poorer prognosis for preventing bc recurrence.

A recent DEXA bone density scan (different to an ordinary nuclear bone scan) showed severe reduction in bone density compared to the DEXA I had done before starting Arimidex. I have osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis, and had two fractures in my feet last summer, just by standing up from a chair! Quite frightening that it can happen just like that.

I had my 5 yrly review with my bc surgeon last (Onc long off the radar, haven’t seen him since finishing rads, except for a private HER2 test) and he wants me to continue with Arimidex as I had lymph node spread, He is though, concerned about my bones so has referred me to a Professor Endocrinologist at my hospital for a further opinion, as he has a particular interest in Arimidex side effects/bone fractures/bone loss from Arimidex. My bone problems are compounded by 30+ yrs of steroids for Crohn’s.

The bisphosphonate Alendronic Acid has helped with the hip and groin pain,but not my hands or feet though.Instead of a weekly tablet, there is a new bispho, Zoledronic Acid, given as an infusion in hospital once a year. This has had incredible positive results in preventing all kinds of bone fractures, some 41% of hip fractures. Hopefully this endocrinologist will prescribe this for me - I spent a month in a wheelchair last summer, then 3 weeks on crutches, and I don’t want to end up with osteoporosis, in pain and not being able to walk, if I can prevent it with meds.
Is there any of your doctors you could see about this problem? My bc surgeon has been incredibly helpful, when it is not really his field of expertise. I am sure if you reach out to your doctor(s) you can get some help and relief.
Take care,

Hi Aroma

I also have joint pain but so far only in my fingers.

I have heard of ladies coming off Arimidex due to quality of life issues but I believe that you can poosibly try another Aromatose Inhibitor, Aromasin maybe? Suggest, you raise it with your oncologist before it gets any worse.

I had a DEXA scan just after starting Arimidex in order to get a baseline measurement and then if I have problems then they can measure the deterioration but I’m darned if I know what they’d do about it because I’d still have to take the Arimidex!!! In the end we all have a choice I suppose in that regard.

Definitely contact your onc.

Best wishes

Aroma - I’ve been on Arimiex since May. I didn’t have any joint pains at first just about 10 hot flushes a day which, after Tamoxifen, I felt I could just about live with. However about 3 months ago I started getting aches in my left hip and also muscle pain in my legs. This is worse when I wake up in the morning and after I have been sitting still or standing still. It tends to lessen when I move around and I hardly notice it when I am in the gym but it drives me mad at other times and sometimes wakes me up or stops me falling asleep. I have tried Arthrotec and paracetamol which just seem to mask the pain. I am assuming this must be the Arimidex and arthritis and am seeing my onc next month. The strange thing is my hot flushes have reduced to 2 or 3 a day…you just cannot win. I do think exercise helps the pain and keeps the bones healthy. I take calcium tabs and eat lots of yogurt. My dexa scan was OK for my 69 years. Maybe you should have a dexa scan to find if there is another cause. Whatever, do let me know how you get on. Best wishes XX