Generic name: AnastrozoleBrand names: Arimidex
Arimidex is a first-line treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It slows the growth of advanced cancer within the breast and cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Arimidex is also used to treat advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women whose disease has spread to other parts of the body following treatment with tamoxifen, another anticancer drug. Arimidex can also be prescribed along with other drugs to treat the early stages of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Arimidex combats the kind of breast cancer that thrives on estrogen. One of the hormones produced by the adrenal gland is converted to a form of estrogen by an enzyme called aromatase. Arimidex suppresses this enzyme and thereby reduces the level of estrogen circulating in the body.
Arimidex, like many other anticancer medications, may prolong survival and improve quality of life. To keep Arimidex working properly, it's important to continue taking it even when you don't feel well. If you develop bothersome side effects, call your doctor. He or she can recommend ways to reduce your discomfort.
Take Arimidex exactly as directed.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Arimidex.
Do not take Arimidex if you are pregnant or if you have an allergic reaction to the drug.
Because Arimidex may raise the level of cholesterol in your blood, your doctor may periodically do blood tests to check.
Certain drugs may decrease the effectiveness of Arimidex, including tamoxifen and estrogen-containing drugs. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medication you are taking.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, do not take Arimidex. In animal studies, Arimidex has caused severe birth defects, including incomplete bone formation and low birth weight; it could be poisonous to your unborn child. Arimidex also increases your chances of having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. If you should accidentally become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.
It is not known whether Arimidex passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding while using Arimidex is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
The usual dose is a 1-milligram tablet taken once a day. If Arimidex is being used as an initial treatment for advanced breast cancer, you will continue taking the medication until it no longer works against the tumor. The optimal duration of therapy for early breast cancer has not been determined.
Although there have been no reports of Arimidex overdose, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.