Generic Anastrozole

I have seen the posting for Tamoxifen and wondered if anyone had their Arimidex changed? I have been on the branded meds for 6 years and just had one month of Wockhardt Anastrozole and have noticed big changes. I hadnt any pre-conceived ideas about the change so wasnt too woried about it at first as I was assured by my GP and chemist that it was the same.

I have even rang up Astra Zenica to ask them they suggested that I mention it to my GP and request that he perscribes Arimidex again?

Anyway I have been on it one month and have noticed, severe joint- hip - back pain to the point when I was out walking the other day I developed a pronounced limp! I am feeling more like 110 years old at times and have started to get sickly hot sweats and headaches.

I am going to ask to see my GP this week just to discuss it further.

I feel that I am pretty sensible and have understood that by taking these meds over the past few years that there are side effects which I have tolerated, but I am really not sure about these generics, after looking at forums over the world this is pretty much a concern everywhere.

Why dont Arimidex just lower their prices as they are never going to be able to charge full cost again and surely some monies is better than nothing?

That’s very interesting, I’ve just started my second packet of generic anastrazole, after 3 1/2 years on Tamoxifen. I am 55, haven’t had a period since the week after my first (of 7 months) chemo, in April 2008, so safe to assume I definitely am post-menopausal.

I did have acute back pain last summer, had a CT scan to exclude secondaries and it showed a bulging disc. The discomfort from this was much better by November but I have been taking Tramadol again this week. Since Christmas Eve I have been having hot flushes during the day, and severe hip/lower back pain which I had not connected with the anastrazole. I’ll be interested to know what your GP says - good luck.

LancsLass - there is a long thread about anastrazole rather than arimidex being prescribed, altho most people seem to have already been on arimidex when it came off the list about a year ago. I’ll try and bump it up but it’s title is something like anastrazole by teva or arimidex by teva.

All down to cost and can be a bit of a fight to get the original back.


Thanks Liz for bumping up that thread for me, I hadnt seen it x

Well, I rang the company that produces my Anastrazole and was put through to their technical dept. A very nice gentleman asked me my symptoms then told me that he thought that I was having an adverse reaction to the drug and that I should contact my GP. I had already made an appt to see him that afternoon. My GP left me a message a couple of mins later to say that he had received a fax from the company asking for feed back on my probs…quick or what?

After talking to my GP he explained to me why generic drugs were now being prescribed and I totally accept that financial issues are a part of everyday life now, but these drugs are not just to help with a cold, these do a very big job, and if some people seem to be having serious side effects then the pharmacutical companies need to be told so that they can rectify the problems caused and it must be with the filling agents?

I was grateful that my GP had know me for many years and knows that I am not someone who would ask for a change in my meds if I wasnt having serious problems and without me prompting him at all he changed my medication straight away.

I have been back on Arimidex for 3 days and apart from the ususal aches and pains which I can and will tolerate the other problems have gone away.

My cousin was also diagnosed with BC over a year ago and has been put on the generic anastroazole (Tiezer?) and is also having the most terrible side effects but has been told by her GP that there is no chance of her getting Arimidex, surely this cant be right. There seem to be so many people saying that they are having similar side effects.

I also noted that one of the postings mentioned problems with their bi-phosphates which I also take. I have also had this changed and have recently noticed that I am having stomach pains and aches so I will keep my eye on this one as well!! :))

Hi Girls

As I mentioned before my cousin is having a reaction to the generic version of Arimidex she saw her GP today who at first told her that there was no chance she would get Arimidex which she accepted, but she felt so bad on it that now her GP had given her 2 months of Arimidex which she is going to try, her Doctor also mentioned that she had other patients who also could not tolerate the fillers! What do they add to the inhibitor to have such a bad reaction?

There has/is a very long thread about how many of us have suffered unwanted, and extra, side effects when we have been switched to the generic form of Arimidex. I am also someone who wouldn’t change for the sake of it and would be quite happy with generic anything as long as it does the job without extra discomfort. My Arimidex was changed last year by my GP, for financial reasons only, and it was only after taking this for about 6 weeks that I read the ‘Arimidex’ thread and put 2 and 2 together - certainly I hadn’t imagined the extra SE’s! I went back to my GP to discuss this and luckily had my prescription changed to the branded version and the extra SE’s did go. My Bondronat (bisphosphonate) was also changed a few months after that and, again, I wasn’t happy with the extra SE’s. I went back, again, to my GP and when he was looking at the different drugs on screen it was interesting to see the difference in cost between the branded version and generic version wasn’t that great. Certainly small enough to cover the extra painkillers I might have had to request if I’d stayed on the generic form! It is definitely worth discussing this with your GP and, although we all know money is tight in these PCT’s, it’s also worth mentioning your quality of life and how this is suffering. Certainly for us mets (secondary) ladies we have to sort it out as we’re on these for life!
ps when I mentioned the extra SE’s to my very nice GP he said it’s not necessarily the different binding ingredients that cause the problem but the release rate of the active ingredient.

Hi Ladies I have also been taking Arimidex for the last 6 months. Last week I asked GP for repeat prescription and was given the generic, when I questioned why it had been changed as Onc had prescribed Arimidex it was def to do with cost. GP agreed to give me the Arimidex for further month and then to go onto the generic. I just hope that my SES are not worse once I start to take it. The cost is approx £68 per month extra. I have enough SEs already so hoping that they will not get worse on the Generic version.

I came off Arimidex about 3 months ago and was put on the generic version. I used to get really horrible headaches regularly on Arimidex but assumed this was just something I had to put up with! Now I’m on the generic tablets I rarely get headaches at all. So generic is a real bonus for me!
All I can say is give it a try, I was due to come off anastrozole as my 5 years was up and was looking forward to saying goodbye to the headaches but I am now staying on the generic tablets for a further 5 years assuming my bone density holds up, I have a t-score of -2.3.

That makes sense Niki with regard to the release rate of the drug, if its faster then you are going to get more severe side effects, glad that you got your meds changed hope it eases for you?

My GP informed me that it isnt the actual practice that loses the money but the chemist?

My chemist said they are the ones who lose out if the generic version is prescribed but they issue the branded ones and it is about £80 a month.


That is very interesting about the Chemist footing the bill for the drugs and not the GP.

I used to get my Letrozole from the GP and because Femara still had the licence I didn’t get any generic versions. Since the generic versions came in I have had to get my prescription from a chemist new to the village and it has been always the generic version.

The chemist told me that my GP had to request that I have Femara on the prescription for me to get it but a few weeks ago when I thought the Teva version was best, I told the chemist and they manually input this into their system so that I should get this brand every week.

So the Chemist is putting the blame on the GP which isn’t the case because I could have Femara if the Chemist requests it, it doesn’t have to be the GP.




Not sure if this is relevent but when I asked about having Femara not a generic version I was told by my GP that they are governed by the local prescribing authority and it has to be a generic version financially unless the GP can state a good case to do otherwise. That could of course be my GP trying to pull the wool over my eyes.


hazelmary - the chemist COULD give you Femara but he would still only be paid for the generic preparation. The only way he would get paid for Femara is if the doctor prescribed it as such.

Andie yes I do think you are having the wool pulled over your eyes. My GP told me the same and said her hands were tied. Said that the pharmaceutical advisor for the PCT had told her that under NO circs was A-Z Arimidex to be prescribed ( had been on it for 10mnths or so) with s/es which were manageable.Was completely floored by s/e of anastrozole. After 3 consultations with her to try to persuade her to prescribe Arimidex I resorted to a private prescription for Arimidex, and found that awful s/es were not all in my mind as she had implied.I then contacted the pharmaceutical advisor to find that they can only advise and that the decision is completely down to the GP After a long struggle I managed to get Arimidex again ( due in part to pharmaceutical advisor) but I am a dispensing patient and I collect from the surgery.I had been summoned to the surgery to have a 'medication review’Luckily my Onc appt preceded this review by a few days - complete fluke.
Then when I saw my Onc for 2 yr check his 1st question was how was I getting on with Arimidex? So I told him, he was horrified that I had had to see a GP privately and buy Arimidex. So he wrote to GP, I was copied in to all letters re my consultations.I have seen the instruction in my GP records written in purple caps that I must have Arimidex not generic.I did contribute to the other thread mentioned earlier. I think our Oncs are beginning to hear a lot about the s/e of generic versions and want us to comply with treatment.
I no longer see that GP. J xx

libby 2010,

Glad you are still ok on the ‘proper’ stuff!!

It’s all down to cost. Understandably, the GPs will write a script for generic version if available so it takes less out of their drug budget but they should prescribe the original version if it is better for you. As some of you know from the other thread, I had a struggle to get back to the proper (as my onc calls them) tablets as GP said they couldn’t (wouldn’t???) do Arimidex and the onc would have to specify a brand. Spoke to onc at next checkup, she was horrified that I was getting the worse se from the generic ones and wrote to GP immediately. GPs took 3 weeks to get it sorted but the results were virtually instant. Onc said she knew about potentially worse se from generic tablets and it’s a cost issue.

Makes my blood boil - especially when one GP said to me face-to-face about a certain tamoxifen brand when I was on that, ‘Well, I have budgets to think about you know so we’ll have to do the cheaper one for now and get the pharmacist’s approval for the other brand next time’. Shame I had just had mx and anc and was about to start rads with a secondary diagnosis so didn’t feel up to giving a sharp reply!!

Hi, Everyone,this is my first post, I had surgery for BC in October 11, and finished 15 rounds of Rx last week. I was initially started on letrozole and was constantly nauseous, emestrozole made me feel so labile and terrible joint pains.Started generic anastrozole 2 weeks ago have constant low level headache some nasty hip pain at night,was planning on going back to work in 2weeks but feel absolutely knackered. not sure if this is due to Rx or tablets. Can anybody enlighten me or does it get better with time

Hi jacann

Welcome to the Discussion Forums, I’m sure you’ll find lots of support and information here.

Whilst you’re waiting for replies, I thought I’d just mention our Helpline who are a great source of information and support.

They’re open weekdays 9-5 and Saturday 9-2 so do give them a call if you need to talk anything through or need support.

0808 800 6000.

Best wishes.


Hi Jacann I think if you only finished 15 rads? a week ago you are likely to feel tired after all the treatment. Not sure from your post if you had chemo too? Either way it really is such early days. Be kind to yourself.I think getting through all the treatment is one thing actually recovering from the physical and emotional fall out from it is another.
So basically what I am trying to say is that s/e of meds maybe having an impact but your treatment has only just finished too.
I’ve just been reading a thread where someone was talking about convalescence and re-cuperation something we don’t necessarily get told.
Of course being on meds too may well be taking it’s toll.I found an article by Peter Harvey entitled ‘When treament has finished’ it is on the website which I found really helpful. Also BCC have an Employer’s Charter which might be helpful to draw to the attention of your employers.BCC also have a pack called ‘Moving Forwards’ too that might be helpful.
We all recover and heal at different rates so do not beat yourself up.I found recovery uneven in that I would have good day(s) and then some not so good ones.
Hope you start to feel a bit better soon. Hugs J xx

Hi everyone! I’m new to the forum as I had been sailing through treatment. Was diagnosed in 2008; had lumpectomy, chemo, herceptin & radiotherapy, all of which I coped with. Then atarted Arimidex which gave a few low level side effects but nothing I couldn’t cope with. I was then switched to gereric anastrozole & seemed to get a different brand every time! The last one has given me such severe joint pain particularly in my knees that it’s painful to walk; bit difficult as I’m a dance teacher! I contacted oncologist who says they are getting a lot of women complaining about the increased side effects on generic version & suggested seeing doctor for calcium & vitamin D supplements plus evening primrose oil then see how it went. Saw GP registrar today (couldn’t get appointment with regular doctor) & she was dismissive to say the least but did give me prescription for calcium/vitamin D & wouldn’t prescribe Arimidex. Then spoke to a lovely pharmacist who confirmed problems with generic & gave me another brand to try. He said the firm who made Arimidex also made a generic version which is identical but he can’t get hold of it! Very interesting. Doc also gave sleeping pills for the insomnia (also caused by anastrozole) but will only use if desperate. I fing Benylin sends me off to sleep & pharmacist says this is the anti-histamine in it & won’t do me any harm to keep taking it. My suggestion to all you ladies who are having problems is to keep pestering your oncologist & GP in the hope that they might just take it seriously. I am certainly not going to let it go! Good luck to everyone having treatment; there is light at the end of the tunnel if you can get through it with a sense of humour & take each day as it comes. I will be 4 years clear this June. E xx

This is absolutely ridiculous, dancer!

So doctors are SERIOUSLY saying people have to stuff themselves with all sorts of other drugs to counteract the effects of a drug, which are preventable by simply changing the prescribed brand of the drug?