zoladex injection - is it hideous or just me??

i recently started tamoxifen last week combined with a monthly injection of zoladex -trying not to worry too much about the SE and heartened to read all the positives about minimal SE of tamoxifen - but is it a recently acquired low pain tolerance or is the zoladex injection the most painful thing ever??? thought I’d be able to self-administer (fantasized it was like an insulin jab), the BCN injected me and I rapidly changed my mind! Does it get better or is it always so uncomfortable? Don’t want to have to anticipate that pain for the next 2 years, although I know that it’s a small price to pay, etc. think my rads will be a walk in the park after that…

Did she give you the injection without giving you a local anaesthetic before? I had my 1st injection of Zoladex last week and was dreading it, but was given a local anaesthetic with a fine dental needle first and it was OK even though I’m a bit of a wimp about needles, especially large ones. As for the rads, I’m halfway through those, if you want to discuss…?

No!! No local just the jab! going to ask my GP’s practice nurse if she can administer a local first - didn’t think that was an option- thanks for the heads-up… Are the rads tiring you out? from what I gather, it builds up as the treatment goes on, is that true? Are you able to work?


Ask them to prescribe Emla cream - it’s an anaesthetic cream you apply to the area where they will give you the jab about an hour before. Put plenty on and you won’t feel a thing. Honest - I’ve been having Zoladex for 2 years now and never feel it.

I found zoladex bad too, I had the injections for 2 years and didn’t find it got easier,often felt quite faint when they did it, but that passed after a few seconds, I was never offered emla cream.

I took a day off work every month to have it done, people asked me why i couldn’t just give it myself (I’m a nurse), have they seen the needle?
Have recently had an oophrectomy so don’t need the injections any more, I am glad to say… Is that an option with you?
Good luck x

Hi there

I’ve had 2 zoladex injections so far. The first was done about an hour after I’d had a general anaesthetic, so I didn’t feel it much at all, but for the second one I have been given a different preparation (sorry, can’t remember the name) which has the drug in smaller pellets which are mixed using 2 syringes prior to injection, so they don’t have to insert the large pellet that is the other zoladex and which is the reason for the needle being so big. It hurt! But not massively, and only for a few seconds. Then I had a bruise around the area for a few days.

I have also found that I have felt completely out of it after the injection, feeling drugged and a bit dopey - the first time I put this down to having had the GA, but this time I realise it must be the zoladex. It wears off after about we week. Does anyone else ahve this?

I’m going to have an oophorectomy - have you noticed any different side effects of this compared to zoladex? I am getting more hot flushes but have also changed from tamoxifen (as it was causing thickening to my womb lining)to letrozole this month so they may be down to that. Am also feeling v tired, have you had this?

Didn’t mean to hijack your thread, just had questions on zoladex too, hope you don’t mind me joining in. Rads was easy for me compared to chemo, except that I had to live away from home, and my children then aged 4 and 2, for 6wks during the week as I live on an Island that doesn’t have it’s own nuclear medicine dept. Obviously I couldn’t work being off Island, but lots of people do. Hope you find it easy.


I have had zoladex injections for a long time and have to admit they are not that bad. May be its just the way my gp administers them. We had initially discussed having a local, but why have two needles when you only need one. I only had one bad experience of bleeding and that was earlier in the year when the snow was bad and my own gp couldn’t get to the surgery and another gp did the injection, although walking home through the snow afterwards probably had more to do with it! I guess I have just got used to them, still do a sharp intake of breath when the needles goes in, but there are many worse treatments out there.

Take care all,


Am on zoladex for the forseable future, and do them my self ( I was a nurse) Although I don’t look forward to it, it’s not too bad- probably because I have a lot of cushioning! I also find if i cough as the needle goes in it helps.

Hi Georgie08
Rads fine so far, done the 8th out of 15 this morning. Started getting quite sore on the surface and very tender inside the breast after the 2nd and 3rd treatments but that seems to have settled down now. I had started panicking that having such an early reaction meant it would be hell later, but not so, or at least not yet. I’m not noticing any tiredness yet, but I’m lucky because my employers have signed me off completely until I’m all sorted out, and then I’ll go back part time to start with.
Sarah x

overwhelmed by all the responses - this forum really is a god-send… will definitely look at the emla option as ovary removal sounds a bit drastic and don’t think I’m ever going to get used to the needle- I sound such a wimp, I know!
CheshireCheese - thanks for the rads feedback - I’m self-employed so minimal days off, but hoping to pace myself if tiredness starts to set in!
Thanks to everyone for feedback- so very appreciated x

P.S. The local anaesthetic they used on me was lidocaine, the same as you get at the dentist, so only took a few minutes to take effect and lasted for several hours. But as others have said, I got a lovely bruise. I wonder if it hurts more if you’re slim? I’ve got so much fat around my abdomen there was plenty to aim at!
Sarah x

I also had two years of Zoladex, and like some others here, chose to have one needle not two, because I hate them so much and seem to have a low pain threshold at the best of times. I tried the cream, but it was a faff having to put it on before the trip to the surgery. Also I wanted to drive home and was worried that the the anaesthetic might wear off and leave me in pain afterwards. With no anaesthetic at all, you know that after that first shout/cough, it doesn’t get any worse.
I was only bruised once, when I had a tentative nurse - the others at the surgery applied the calender (funny name for a needle) with confidence and little pain.
The best bit was when I moved to the three-month injections, which were only licensed for prostate, not breast cancer at the time: fewer injections; less time off work; less pain. The downside was that the calender was even bigger than for the one-month dose.

IssieMuffit - can’t believe you opted for bigger needle -super-brave woman! Will try the cough too -think Cheshirecheese may have something about abdominal fat, as the BCN did say that it’s so unpleasant as there’s not much around my middle - maybe I could include chocolates as part of my treatment??!!

I had 15 months of zoladex, given by my bcn.

I was never offered any cream etc, just told to bend my knees and cough as needle goes in.

Sometimes i had a small bruise and other times it was huge.


I had my first Zoladex injection a couple of days ago. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but maybe I had a good nurse and there was enough fat. (I am also ‘blessed’ with some surplus fat around my tummy.) Hopefully the next will be the same. I’m not sure about the needle size, I would rather not look.


Hi All

Due for my second Zoladex injection tomorrow and was wondering how everyone else was getting on with it - maybe you can provide me with an excuse to wimp out of it tomorrow!



I think it must depend on the person giving it. I have 2 different docs that do it. With one I feel it a little bit and the other I barely feel a thing. They get a good tight pinch of flab and pop it in. Also I inhale and focus on exhaling as the needle goes in, just get the Doc to let me know when they’re putting it in. I get a little bruise but nothing major. Can happily drive/walk/skate home or go to the gym whatever.

Maybe consider getting a dif doc to do it as I’m sure it isn’t worth taking time of work for it, save the days off for fun things!

Em x

Well I psyched myself up and had the injection, which didn’t hurt too much. But last month I had a huge bruise which lasted around two weeks, so looking forward to that again. The reason it took a bit of psyching up was because I’ve started with the dreaded night sweats. I started with those as part of the natural menopause process two years ago, so started on HRT, found I’d got BC, had to stop the HRT… And now here I go again :frowning:

I hadn’t realised, but OH commented on something which made me think. Twice I have reacted really badly after having the implant. Other times have been relatively straightforward. OH commented that the bad reactions were when I had bruised badly or bled badly following the implant. Well, on both of those occasions the implant had been done by someone other than my regular doctor. This person usually implants men. Just a thought, check if your GP or the person administering the implant usually injects men or women and see if that makes a difference? Just a thought!


Thanks snoogle.
The injection itself is fine, but I do bruise easily and of course it goes quite deep, so it ends up all the colours of the rainbow after a few days. It’s my (female) GP who does it and she’s very gentle with me. She prescribed me with Clonidine yesterday for the night sweats and last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages - I feel able to deal with the world again!
Sarah x