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Anastrozole Side Effects Female

Anastrozole Side Effects Female

Anastrozole (Arimidex)

Find out what anastrozole is, how you have it and other important information about having anastrozole.

Anastrozole is a cancer treatment drug and is also known by its brand name, Arimidex.

It is a treatment for post menopausal women with breast cancer that is hormone sensitive.

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.

Important information

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Pregnancy and contraception

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.


Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this drug if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Possible side effects of long-term anastrozole treatment

Bone thinning (osteoporosis)

Taking anastrozole for a few years increases your risk of bone thinning. This is called osteoporosis. This can increase your risk of a broken bone (fracture). You will usually have bone density scans to check your bone health before and during treatment.

If you are at risk of osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe drugs called bisphosphonates to help protect your bones. They will also usually advise you to take calcium and vitamin D supplements.

You can also help strengthen your bones by:

  • going for regular walks
  • eating a healthy diet
  • trying to cut down on smoking
  • sticking to sensible drinking guidelines

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