Anastrozole, brand name – Arimidex, is an oral tablet used for treating breast cancer. These are provided to women after their menopause. Estrogen is a natural hormone that makes certain breast cancers grow faster than normal. In such cases, anastrozole tablets are given to women to reverse or control the growth of breast cancers, thereby reducing the estrogen amount in the body.
Women who have not undergone menopause should not be given Anastrozole. Avoid taking this medicine right away if you are or happen to become pregnant.
When to use
Specifically, Anastrozole is used for –
- Treating early breast cancers: It is given to women who have breast cancer or whose hormones are receptor-positive, post-surgery, or along with other therapies.
- First or initial treatment of metastasized breast cancers: It is used to treat women with hormone receptor-positive or unknown breast cancer.
- Treating advanced breast cancers: It is used in women with progressed breast cancer and after their early response to the cancer drug, called tamoxifen.
Worth mentioning, this medicine may not work in case of estrogen receptor-negative or for those women who do not respond well to the drug tamoxifen.
How does it work?
Anastrozole is a member of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors. They prevent estrogen production, a hormone that stimulates breast cancer. Aromatase is an enzyme that changes the androgen hormone into estrogen hormone in post-menopausal women.
Several tumours may grow in the presence of estrogen, which causes breast cancer in women. Anastrozole blocks aromatase, and this reduces the estrogen amount in their bodies and also in cancer tissues.
If you have been prescribed anastrozole, keep the following points in mind –
- It can be taken before or after a meal.
- Do not break, chew, or crush the anastrozole tablets.
- Store it at room temperatures ranging from 68°F to 77°F
- Do not store it in high temperatures, or damp or moist areas.
Adults, ageing 18 years or above may require one 1 mg Anastrozole tablet taken orally, once every day. While children, ageing between 1 to 17 years should not consume this tablet until they turn 18 years.
If you have been given a prescription for Anastrozole tablets, know that it is refillable. You do not need to get a new prescription for a refill. Your doctor may write several refills. So, you are authorized to get more.
If you are travelling with the medication, follow the tips below –
- Carry the medicine with you at all times. If you are flying, keep the tabs in your carry bag.
- X-ray machines at the airport will not hurt medicine.
- Make sure that you always have the original prescription with you. You may be asked to show it to the airport staff.
- Do not leave your medicine in your car or the glove compartment. Avoid leaving it in places with extreme temperatures.
During treatment or before starting your treatment with the Anastrozole tablet, your doctor will most likely monitor the heart functions that include your heart rate and blood pressure, cholesterol levels, bone density, and liver functions.
Your doctor will also check if the growth of breast cancer has reduced or stopped by taking regular breast exams.
To sum up, Anastrozole tablets are given to women in their post-menopausal age to treat their breast cancer by blocking aromatase from producing estrogen hormones in their bodies.