Question about Arimidex

I changed from Tamoxifen in November 07 to Arimidex. I did have mild PMTish side effects for the first few months which has now settled down, however,I have had colds and minor viruses + a nasty infection after dental work over the past year ~ much more than usual. Apart from the Cancer treatment I am rarely off sick ~ past year its been 6 times ~ just recovered from flu (not Swine!) with a bacterial eye infection in both eyes. I’m now worrying about becoming unwell again and work asking questions (although they are understanding I do worry).
So my question is ~ Does the effects of Arimidex ~ the lowering of oestrogen, reduce the protection against minor infections? sorry I may sound confusing but I’m sure I read that oestrogen protects against colds etc? I go to see my Oncologist in July but would really like to be armed with the facts.
Please any answers? or at least point me in the right direction!
Thank you all very much


PS…or is this just a coincidence and I’m having one of those years?

Hi Rosemary,

While you’re waiting for your fellow forum users to reply to you question, Please do also remember that BCC’s confidential helpline is here for you, offering support and information. Calls to the helpline are free, lines open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturday 9am - 2pm, telephone 0808 800 6000.

We also have an online service called Ask the nurse which might be useful, here is the link:

Hope this is helpful.
Kind regards,
Kate, BCC Facilitator

Oooh, interesting question as I’ve wondered this as I still have my 3rd stinking cold since last Oct and I swopped from Tamoxifen to Zoladex and Arimidex at the end of Sept due to horrendous side effects (it seems to be the virus loads of people have had that keeps re-appearing).This one has really exhausted me and I’m still getting horrid side effects from Arimidex but slightly less than on Tamoxifen so lesser of 2 evils !!! Had been on Tamoxifen from Jan-Oct 08 and never had a single cold.

I’m now medically retired from work partly due to bone mets as well as bc so at least that’s somewhere else I can’t pick up germs from. When they did my mx, I had a full anc on left side so know that my immune system is compromised.

I’m just finishing my 2nd lot of anti-biotics for this time and am still full of cold and last week I even went to bed for a couple of hours during the day which I never did during chemo !! Having a bone scan tomorrow and going to oncology to get them to stick needle in first (rubbish veins) so will run the query by them and then ask my onc when I see her on June 11th. The GP I saw last week told me to go back this week if I still wasn’t right - think he wants to rule anything else out - so I may take him up on that. Never seen him before but he was very nice and I felt he was understanding.

Sorry this is a bit garbled but think you’ll get the drift ! I’ll report back on any theories…

Hi Rosemary,

I asked the web nurses for some information for you on this, and below is their reply. Hope it helps.

Jo, Facilitator

"Sorry to read you have been having a difficult time with infections and more recently the flu, and I can understand that you are wondering whether Arimidex may reduce protection against minor infections. It may interest you to know that currently there is no evidence to suggest that Arimidex may affect a person’s immunity.

Kind regards,
BCC Web Nurse"

Thaks for that Jo ~ so why?!

Hi Rosemary

It may be worthwhile you giving the helpline a ring and having a chat with one of the nurses here, they may be able to explain things a little more clearly. Calls to the helpline are free, 0808 800 6000 open Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm and Sat 9am - 2pm

Hope this helps. Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator


good of you to get back to me and I’m sorry to hear about your coughs and colds, may be we get one thing which runs us down making us more susceptible to further infections ~ who knows! the BC nurses have said there is no connection and they are pretty clued up. Somewhere in the dusty depths of my brain I’m sure I read an article about eostregen leading to tumour growth and as a byline it said ‘it has long been known that oestrogen guards against minor infections’ could I have dreamed it?!I do hope all your scans go well [I too have shocking veins] and it will be interesting to hear what your oncologist has to say on the 11th ~ I go early July and will ask him. I wonder if its all a build up, I had chemo/mast/rads 05 then in 06 2nd mast + tissue expanders, pumping up with saline over the summer! then exchange surgery followed by a polyp removed from my womb 07. I didn’t have any problems on Tomoxifen!![except for spotting] I work 12hr shifts days and nights in a dirty environment indoors and out at 55 maybe by body is saying ENOUGH! trouble is I’m the main breadwinner at the moment… hey ho! there are many much worse off than me so I must NOT moan. Apart from the colds etc I am well and grateful for that. Please let me know how you get on.
Many thanks


just seen your response ~ thank you ~ I may well give them a ring because its odd how over the past year Ive taken time off work on 6 occasions ~ between times I’m well so maybe Ive just had an unlucky run. Actually I feel pretty bad asking as there are so many out there very poorly and my concern must seem so very petty indeed ~ I’m sorry if Ive offended anyone.
Thanks again