Exemestane, joint pain & carpal tunnel

After being on tamoxifen for 3 years with no major side effects, i was changed to exemestane last september. The past month ive been getting the most terrible finger joint pain. I cant squeeze any bottles or use my thumbs. Now, the past week i am waking in the night with carpal tunnel symptoms.

Has anyone experienced this? Did you stick with it or return to tamox?

Thanks in advance x

Hi Lolly,
so sorry to read you have this horrid side effect which evidently has been shown to affect something like 3% of woman taking aromasin/exemestane (I can find the link for you if you like scientifc papers!). I have similar issues but am on Tamoxifen (<1% evidently) so can’t answer your question directly. The research papers suggest that most people just put up with the effects, though a few do revert to Tamoxifen. For me it’s a no-brainer as I’d rather have sore thumbs/wrists than risk the reurn of my cancer; but we are all different. Sorry if this is telling you how to suck eggs.

Hopefully you will get a more useful resposne soon, and that you find some relief (a few folk on a similar thread re: Tamoxifen suggested glucasomine tablets, with onc/GP consent of course).

Probablt can’t help but just to symapthise - I was on Aromasin following my secondary dx having had arimidex without too many problems. I had really really bad pain from waist to knee and everything in between - up to 45mg twice daily oxycodone to try to control it. I also had no appetite, horrid taste buds and generally felt foul. Fortunately, my mets spread - IE Aromasin wasn’t working -so I could change to tamoxifen witout worrying.

I understand your mental and physical problems!!



I got trigger thumbs and the beginnings of carpal tunnel on Arimidex - I’ve written about it elsewhere. Was on the list of possible side effects. I changed back to Tamoxifen and it went away. Was also told I couldhave an operation. But I have met one woman and read of another who stuck to the aromatase inhibitor and the problem went away on its own. Whether glucosamine works I don’t know. I think Tamoxifen is OK. I think it may make my lymph problems worse, but I think the Arimidex was worse.


I agree with you. I stopped Arimidex quite quickly after bad carpal tunnel. Had surgery at a GP practice in Birmingham where they allow you to pay and have it done privately at a fraction of the cost of normal private hospitals. Either £250 0r £350 per hand.
On the Tamoxifen the joint pain is better.

Hi I’ve been on tamoxifen for just short of 2 years - the first year was fine ( I was still on Herceptin) since stopping Herceptin I’ve had a lot of grief ! Capel tunnel symptoms, flushes, weight gain etc for the carpel tunnel symptoms I take amiltrypteline which helps - its not brilliant but it helps . I was on morphine but I couldn’t stand the side effects.

As with the other girls I’ll put up with anything but my cancer returning ! Good luck

Iwas on Anastrozole for 14 months and started getting the symtoms of Carpal tunnel, Dr switched to exemestane ive been on this little over a month still no releif! Ive had shots in both wrist it lasted about a2months. , gotta be another way to relieve this , if this is caused by this medicine , any suggestions I had stage 2 her positive