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Why is this medication prescribed?

In combination with other therapies like surgery or radiation, anastrozole is used to treat early breast cancer in postmenopausal women (change of life; end of monthly menstrual periods). As the initial treatment for breast cancer that has spread outside of the breast or to other parts of the body in women who have gone through menopause, this medicine is also used. Women who have breast cancer that has worsened after taking tamoxifen are also treated with this drug (Nolvadex). The drug anastrozole belongs to the group of drugs known as nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. It functions by reducing the body’s production of oestrogen. Many different types of breast cancer cells that depend on oestrogen for growth can be stopped or slowed down by this.

How should this medicine be used?

Anastrozole is available as an oral tablet. Typically, it is taken once day, with or without food. Anastrozole should be taken every day at about the same time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Take anastrozole as prescribed by your doctor. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Anastrozole may be required for several years or even longer. Even if you feel better, keep taking anastrozole. Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking anastrozole.

For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

When a woman is at a high risk of getting breast cancer, anastrozole may also be used to prevent the disease. The dangers of using this medication for your illness should be discussed with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking anastrozole,

  • If you have an allergy to anastrozole, any other drugs, or any of the substances in anastrozole, tell your doctor and pharmacist right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Mention any of the following: raloxifene (Evista), tamoxifen, and any estrogen-containing drugs like hormone replacement treatment (HRT) and hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections) (Nolvadex). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • If you have or have previously had high cholesterol, osteoporosis (a condition where the bones are brittle and easily break), liver, or heart problems, let your doctor know.
  • You should be aware that only women who have had menopause and are unable to become pregnant should take anastrozole. However, before starting this medicine, you should let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The foetus could be harmed by anastrozole.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects are possible with anastrozole. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • A hot flash
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Gaining weight
  • Muscle, bone, or joint discomfort
  • Breast ache
  • Mood shifts
  • Depression
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Uterine bleeding
  • Dryness or irritation of the vagina
  • Having tingling, burning, or pain in your hands or feet
  • Mouth ache
  • Hair falling out

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur to you:

  • Chest pain
  • Infection symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, fever, chills, swollen glands, or other symptoms
  • Hand or arm swelling, redness, or warmth
  • Urination that is difficult, painful, or urgent
  • Eyesight alterations or fuzziness
  • The skin or eyes turning yellow
  • Upper right stomach region discomfort
  • Blisters, ulcers, or skin sores
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the lower legs, hands, feet, ankles, lips, tongue, throat, arms, or other body parts

Osteoporosis may be aggravated or caused by anastrozole. It can lessen the density of your bones and raise your risk of fractures and shattered bones. Consult your doctor to learn more about the dangers associated with using this drug and what you may do to reduce them.

There may be additional negative effects from anastrozole. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor how your body is responding to anastrozole, your doctor may request specific lab tests.

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Arimidex®
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