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What is this medication?

Anastrozole, Arimidex
Aromatase Inhibitor; Antineoplastic Agent

Anastrozole/Arimidex is officially indicated for use in estrogen dependant breast cancer and is also prescribed off-label for endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and for hyperestrogenism.

How does this medication work? 

Anastrozole/Arimidex is a reversible (Type II), nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor which prevents the conversion of androgens to estrogens in peripheral tissues.  Aromatase is particularly active in the adipose tissue.  This essentially lowers the amount estrogen in the body.

How should I take this medication? 

Refer to protocol by which patient is being treated.

How to Take Anastrozole/Arimidex: Can be taken with or without food.  

How to Manage Common Side Effects of Anastrozole/Arimidex: Majority of side effects are mild and transient and disappear over time.  Nausea can occur when you first taking Arimidex/Anastrozole if it persists you can take it with food.  Hot flashes usually improve as your body adjusts but if they become problematic.  Take Anastrozole/Arimidex at bedtime, if night sweats interfere with sleep, try taking in the morning.  Swelling of the hands and feet can occur if your body retains extra fluid.  If swelling becomes problematic, elevate your feet while sitting.

Contact Your Doctor if You Ever Experience: Stop taking this medication and contact your doctor if you experience signs of a blood clot such as tenderness or hardness over a vein, calf swelling and tenderness, sudden onset of cough, chest pain or shortness of breath.  

What should I watch for while using this medication? 

Can cause a reduction in bone mineral density (BMD) because of a decrease in circulating estrogen levels.  

Use with caution in patients with hyperlipidemia.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication? 

Well tolerated, most side effects are transient and mild to moderate in nature.  The most common side effects include:


Cardiovascular: Vasodilation (25% to 36%), ischemic heart disease (4%; 17% in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease), hypertension (5% to 13%), angina pectoris (2%; 12% in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease)

Dermatologic: Skin rash (6% to 11%)

Endocrine and Metabolic: Hot flash (12% to 36%)

Gastrointestinal: Gastrointestinal distress (29% to 34%), nausea (11% to 19%), vomiting (<13%)

Nervous system: Mood disorder (19%), fatigue (<19%), pain (11% to 17%), headache (9% to 13%), depression (5% to 13%)

Neuromuscular and Skeletal: Asthenia (<19%), arthritis (17%), arthralgia (15%), back pain (10% to 12%), osteoporosis (11%), ostealgia (6% to 11%)

Respiratory: Pharyngitis (6% to 14%), increased cough (8% to 11%)