Advanced Breast Cancer: Learn about treatment options.

Anastrozole

Pronunciation

Generic Name: anastrozole (an-AS-troe-zole)
Brand Name: Arimidex

Anastrozole is used for:

Treating certain types of breast cancer in women who have been through menopause, including women with disease progression after tamoxifen therapy. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor. It works by lowering blood estradiol concentrations, which may decrease the size and growth of the tumor.

Do NOT use anastrozole if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in anastrozole
  • you have not gone through menopause
  • you are pregnant or may become pregnant
  • the patient is a man or a child
  • you are taking estrogen-containing products (eg, certain birth control pills or hormone replacement therapies) or tamoxifen

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using anastrozole:

Some medical conditions may interact with anastrozole. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of liver problems, osteoporosis (weak or thin bones), heart or blood vessel problems (eg, ischemic heart disease), or high cholesterol or lipid levels

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with anastrozole. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Estrogen-containing products (eg, certain birth control pills or hormone replacement therapies) or tamoxifen because they may decrease anastrozole's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if anastrozole may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use anastrozole:

Use anastrozole as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient information leaflet is available with anastrozole. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take anastrozole by mouth with or without food.
  • Continue to take anastrozole even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of anastrozole, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use anastrozole.

Important safety information:

  • Anastrozole may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use anastrozole with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Anastrozole lowers the amount of estrogen in your body, which may cause your bones to become softer and weaker. This may increase your chance of bone fractures, especially of the spine, hip, and wrist. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Women who have a history of blockage in the heart arteries (ischemic heart disease) may have an increase in symptoms of decreased blood flow to the heart. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening chest pain or shortness of breath while taking anastrozole. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including blood cholesterol, bone mineral density, or liver function, may be performed while you use anastrozole. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Anastrozole should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use anastrozole if you are pregnant. It has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if anastrozole is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking anastrozole.

Possible side effects of anastrozole:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Back, bone, breast, joint, or muscle pain; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; flu-like symptoms (eg, muscle aches, tiredness); hair loss; headache; hot flashes; loss of appetite; mild stomach pain; nausea; sore throat; stomach upset; trouble sleeping; vaginal dryness; vomiting; weakness; weight gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); burning, numbness, or tingling; calf or leg pain, swelling, or tenderness; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; frequent or painful urination; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent bone pain; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; skin lesions, ulcers, or blisters; speech problems; sudden, unusual weight gain; swelling of the arms or legs; swollen lymph nodes; symptoms of high blood calcium levels (eg, change in the amount of urine produced; increased thirst; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle aches or weakness; severe or persistent constipation or vomiting); symptoms of liver problems (eg, yellowing of the skin or eyes; dark urine; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; general feeling of being unwell); tingling, pain, coldness, or weakness in the fingers, wrists, or hands; vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge; vision changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of anastrozole:

Store anastrozole at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep anastrozole out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about anastrozole, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Anastrozole is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take anastrozole or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about anastrozole. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to anastrozole. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using anastrozole.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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