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Anastrozole Medication

Anastrozole Medication

Why is this medication prescribed?

Anastrozole is used with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to treat early breast cancer in women who have experienced menopause (change of life; end of monthly menstrual periods). This medication is also used in women, who have experienced menopause, as a first treatment of breast cancer that has spread within the breast or to other areas of the body. This medication is also used to treat breast cancer in women whose breast cancer has worsened after taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Anastrozole is in a class of medications called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen the body makes. This can slow or stop the growth of many types of breast cancer cells that need estrogen to grow.

Before taking anastrozole

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to anastrozole, or any other medications, or any of the ingredients in anastrozole. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: medications that contain estrogen such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections); raloxifene (Evista); and tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, osteoporosis (condition in which the bones are fragile and break easily), liver, or heart disease.

How anastrozole works

Anastozole lowers the amount of oestrogen in the body. The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone stimulate many breast cancers to grow. Lowering the level of oestrogen can stop or slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

Anastrozole blocks a process called aromatisation that changes sex hormones called androgens into oestrogen. This happens mainly in the fatty tissues, muscle and the skin and needs a particular enzyme called aromatase.

Uses

Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer in women after menopause. Some breast cancers are made to grow faster by a natural hormone called estrogen. Anastrozole decreases the amount of estrogen the body makes and helps to slow or reverse the growth of these breast cancers.

Can I take anastrozole with other drugs?

You should not take other drugs containing oestrogen, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), while you are taking anastrozole as this may interfere with its effectiveness.

It’s a good idea to talk to your specialist or pharmacist if you are taking any other prescribed or over the counter medicines in case they interact with anastrozole. You should also discuss any complementary therapies, herbal remedies or supplements you wish to use before you start them.

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