Anastrozole is an oral prescription drug available as the brand name drug called Arimidex. It is used in combination with other drugs to treat breast cancer in women and is suitable for women who have been through menopause and whose breast cancer is estrogen receptor-positive.
Anastrozole belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors that block estrogen production, which contributes to tumor growth in breast cancer.
This drug targets an enzyme called aromatase that changes androgens, a class of hormones, and converts them into estrogen. Anastrozole stops aromatase from working and consequently scales down estrogen levels.
But if you are a woman who has not gone through menopause, then Anastrozole should be avoided. If you get pregnant while taking this drug, you must stop the medicine’s consumption right away.
It is used to treat women who have passed through menopause and have hormone receptor-positive or unknown breast cancer after surgery or in addition to other therapies. It is also used where breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
This drug can also treat advanced breast cancer when the disease has progressed into the final stages.
This hormone-based therapy is not used for women who have estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer. It also doesn’t work well in women whose bodies didn’t respond to treatment with tamoxifen, a drug similar to Anastrozole.
The most common side effects that may occur with the consumption of this drug include:
These effects are usually mild, but if they get severe, then consulting experts is recommended.
Severe side effects include liver problems, skin reactions, higher cholesterol levels, and weaknesses in the bones.
1. Does Anastrozole cause hair loss?
As this drug decreases estrogen levels in the body, it shows side effects similar to estrogen lowering effects, which may include hair thinning. But this condition usually improves after a year of using Anastrozole, although some women might experience it for the entire treatment.
2. Will Anastrozole make you fail a drug test?
Anastrozole will not make you fail a drug test as very little Anastrozole or metabolites are excreted into the urine. If you are taking the drug as a treatment for breast cancer, you shouldn't be worried about a drug test. As these are not the tests screen for drugs, inform the tester or clinic that you are taking it.
3. Does Anastrozole suppress the immune system?
Hormone therapies like Anastrozole, among other hormone-based treatments like tamoxifen, letrozole, Anastrozole, exemestane, and goserelin, do not influence or curb the working of the immune system in any way or increase the risk of incurring virus. Anastrozole will not cause you to become seriously ill if you do contract a virus.
4. Does Anastrozole cause memory loss?
Anastrozole does not cause memory loss, but an initial exposure to the drug can diminish concentration and working memory. There might be a second deterioration after 12-18 months. While tamoxifen contributes to deteriorated verbal and visual learning along with memory, Anastrozole does not cause any such side effects.
5. Does Anastrozole ruin your teeth?
While Anastrozole or any other hormone-based cancer therapies do not ruin your teeth or dental problems are not common side effects of this drug, breast cancer survivors and chemotherapy patients must be aware of the risk of tooth decay and other dental problems. You must take care so that the bone mineral density does not decrease too low.
6. Can Anastrozole cause high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a common side effect that can have severe repercussions if expressed before or while taking Arimidex (Anastrozole). Hormone-based drugs can weaken heart muscles, which can raise your risk of serious heart problems. It is essential to manage high blood pressure conditions by regularly exercising and consuming a healthy diet.
7. Does Anastrozole cause weight gain?
According to studies, Anastrozole does not induce weight gain in women. There has been no difference in the amount of weight increased in a patient who takes Anastrozole and tamoxifen or a placebo. A weight gain due to inhibitors counteracting estrogen effects happens in the first year of active treatment, but the differences are insignificant. Although, weight gain may be observed in women below 60-years who smoke or have had a mastectomy.
8. Is Anastrozole a form of chemotherapy?
Anastrozole is not a form of chemotherapy; it is a hormone-based class of medications, but it is just as efficient for breast and prostate cancers. It is considered a systemic therapy, wherein it travels throughout the body. On the contrary, conventional cancer treatments like surgery or radiation therapy are considered local treatments.
9. Is Anastrozole a hormone?
Anastrozole is not a hormone but a compound used as an anti-breast cancer therapy to target increasing levels of estrogen, a hormone in the body that contributes to the growth of tumors by stopping its production. The medication falls under the classification of nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors.
10. Is Anastrozole worth taking?
Anastrozole is a hormone-based therapy that can decrease the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 7 to 10 percent, but you may witness some significant side effects while going through the therapy. However, a study shows that postmenopausal women who stop taking hormonal therapy early or skip it need to look for breast cancer recurrence.
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