Arimidex Side Effects

Arimidex or Anastrazole is used for the treatment of some types of breast cancer in postmenopausal females. It is often used in females who have undergone treatment of cancer with other modalities such as by taking tamoxifen. Many types of breast cancer proliferate in the presence of estrogen. Arimidex interferes with estrogen production in the body thereby reducing the total amount of estrogen.

Despite being effective in treating breast cancer, it can cause some side effects. Proper precautions should be taken to avoid those side effects.

Arimidex Side Effects

image001Since one of the major effects of Arimidex is reducing the amount of estrogen in the body, less estrogen is available for the bone cells leading to thinning and weakening of bones and increasing the risk of bone fracture. In some females this side effect of Arimidex can be extremely troublesome. Females suffering from osteoporosis may be recommended by their physicians to take tamoxifen instead of Arimidex due to this particular side effect.

Some of the other common adverse effects of Arimidex are described as follows:

feeling of nausea


generalized weakness and fatigue

dryness of mouth and skin

hot flashes

dizziness and headache

decreased appetite



unintentional gain in weight

vaginal bleeding and dryness

changes in the growth and texture of hair

loose stools or diarrhea

feeling of heartburn

mood changes

difficulty in sleeping

In some females side effects occur as a result of allergic reaction to Arimidex. You should consult your physician immediately if you develop any of the below mentioned symptoms:

  • Pain in chest
  • Blurring of vision
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Development of rash or hives
  • Swelling of face, eyes, tongue, lips, arms, throat, hands, ankles, feet or lower legs
  • Pain in breast or development of any new or suspicious lumps in breast

How to Prevent and Deal with Arimidex Side Effects

Before taking Arimidex you and your doctor should outweigh the pros and cons of taking the medicine, i.e. the risks associated should be compared with the benefits. You should consider the following points while making a decision to take the medicine:

1. Watch out for Allergies

You should make your physician aware of any allergic reaction that you may be experiencing due to either Arimidex or any other medications. Moreover, you should also tell your physician if you are allergic to any other substances such as foods, preservatives, dyes, animals etc. You should make it a habit to carefully read the labels or package inserts of all non-prescription products you are taking.

2. Be Careful with Interactions

  • Drug Interactions

There are certain medicines that if taken together may produce interactions. Some of these may be advised to be not taken together; however, for some your doctor can advise either a change in the dose or time or may advise you to follow some other precautions. While taking Arimidex, you should tell your doctor about all the other medicines that you are taking such as tamoxifen. Using both arimidex and tamoxifen together may increase the risk of certain side effects. However, it is imperative to use both the medicines in some cases. Hence, your physician may make changes in the dose or the frequency of using one or both the medicines in case both the medicines are to be prescribed simultaneously.

  • Other Interactions

Interactions may also occur with different foods. Hence, you may be advised against taking Arimidex at or around the time you are eating food. Interactions may also occur if you are taking alcohol or tobacco along with certain medicines.

3. Follow Proper Dosing

The dose of Arimidex is different in different patients. You should follow the recommendations made by your physician regarding the dosage or read the directions on the label. Arimidex is prescribed orally for breast cancer in the dose of 1 mg tablets once daily in adults. In children the dose is as prescribed by the physician.

4. Take Precautions

The various precautions that should be taken while taking the medicine are:

  • Your physician should regularly check your progress to ensure that the medicine is working properly.
  • It is highly unlikely for pregnancy to occur in a postmenopausal female. However, Arimidex can harm your unborn baby if you are pregnant. Hence, use effective birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. Tell your physician immediately, in case you have become pregnant while taking the medicine.
  • A serious and life threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur due to Arimidex. You should inform your physician immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms as mentioned before.
  • As already discussed, arimidex use may lead to thinning of bones leading to osteoporosis. Talk to your physician if you have any questions in this regard.
  • One of the side effects of arimidex is an increase in cholesterol or lipid levels in blood. Your doctor may prescribe you cholesterol and lipid lowering drugs if this happens.
  • In case you develop symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breast, you should stop the medicine immediately and call your doctor. Arimidex is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in females with a personal history of ischemic heart disease.
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