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Prescribed for the Treatment of Oestrogen Receptor-positive Primary Breast Cancer

Anastrozole is an anti-cancer prescription medication. It is prescribed for the treatment of oestrogen receptor-positive primary breast cancer among post-menopausal women. Specifically, it is used for:

  • Treatment of early breast cancer
  • Initial treatment of breast cancer that has spread to the other breast or other parts of the body (metastasized).
  • Treatment of advanced breast cancer even after taking Tamoxifen

It helps reduce the chance of cancer cells from returning and from spreading to other parts of the body. It also reduces the chances of new breast cancer from developing.

Anastrozole is classified as a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen in the body. Estrogen is the key simulator of breast cancer. Breast cancer tumor grows when there is estrogen present. Anastrozole is used with other treatment such as radiation and surgery.

How to use Anastrozole?

Anastrozole comes in a tablet form that you need to take orally. Take this medication once a day with or without food. The usual recommended dose is one 1 mg per day. Take it at around the same time each day. Take it exactly as directed. An abrupt stop may increase the risk of your cancer from coming back.

The duration of your treatment is determined by your physician. For the primary breast cancer, take this drug for five years if it serves as hormone therapy. For locally advanced breast cancer, take this drug as long as it is keeping your cancer under control.

What are the side effects of Anastrozole?

Some of the side effects are:

  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Sore throat
  • Thinning of the bone
  • Anxiety
  • Swelling of the lymph node

Serious side effects are:

  • Skin reaction like abnormal skin growth, blisters, open sores, pain, tingling and burning sensation
  • High cholesterol level
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe vomiting (more than 5 times in 24 hours)
  • Liver problems with signs like jaundice and pain in the upper right side of the stomach.
  • Severe allergic reaction with symptoms such as hives, trouble breathing and swelling of throat and tongue.

In case of serious side effects, contact your health care provider right away.

Important Information

  • Children 0 to 17 years of age must not take this medication.
  • Do not take other drugs containing oestrogen while taking Anastrozole.
  • Do not take this medication together with Tamoxifen.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.