Mombu 2009-05-14 06:45:20
Are any of you taking Arimidex and can share with me your experiences
with it, good or bad?
I thought it would be the Tamoxifen for me but was recently told it has
to be Arimidex. I can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs due to stomach
problems so will I have a problem with Arimidex? My Onc just pats me
and says I’ll be fine but he also said that about my Chemo treatments
and I was sick as a dog the entire time. So if you have any info
(especially “good” stuff to share
Kaye301 2009-05-14 06:45:23
Hi Bea, I have been on it for almost 2 years and haven't had a problem with the medicine per se other than the effects from what it is supposed to be doing--reducing estrogen. I counteract those effects with exercise, reducing consumption of foods with sugar, and the anti-inflammatory (Celebrex) which you said you can't tolerate. Interestingly, I am also on prophylactic Doxycycline. The first time I had that, soon after that came out it gave me stomach problems--bad enough where I almost had to stop it. Currently, I am on several different medications. There are some occasions where I do start feeling effects--heartburn, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. When that happens I drink Aloe Vera gel (made for oral use) that I buy in a health foods store. The brand I buy is Lily of the Desert (made in Texas). It is certified organic and contains 99.5% aloe vera gel. It also has .5% citric acid as a preservative. I was quite surprised to learn that it was something that was consumable. I had only used gel for the areas of my body that received radiation--the only thing I was allowed and told to use several times/day while undergoing radiation. About a year later I saw fresh aloe vera juice as well as gel at one of our local health foods store in their section of fresh juices. That's when I learned that it was consumable. I figured if it helped with burns externally that it might have similar healing properties internally. I then did some research on it and found that was what it was used for. I recommended it to a friend's mom who was having alot of difficulty pain-wise after having to stop taking an anti-inflammatory for arthritis after she developed an ulcer. Much to my surprise, when I do experience discomfort, I expect that I will have to take it over an extended period of time. However, for me all it takes is about 2 to 4 ounces which I either drink straight or mix with an equivalent amount of grape juice. The next day I am fine and don't need it. I don't know if it would help you but I am guessing it wouldn't hurt to try to see if it might be of assistance.
Janhig 2009-05-14 06:45:27
Hi Bea, I've been taking Arimidex for almost a year now. I had mild joint pain for about the first 6 weeks, but a Dexa-Scan taken just before starting Arimidex, showed osteopenia. I started weekly Fosamax at the same time I started the Arimidex. After that first 6 weeks the joint pain went away completely. I did have hot flashes, several times a day at first (never really bad), and now I just feel very warm about once a day. In reality, I feel great! No stomach problems (or any other problems) at all. Arimidex can be taken on a full stomach, if that helps with your stomach problems. Don't assume that you will have a problem with this drug. Your OB/GYN can suggest a cream to use for the vaginal atrophy, if that bothers you.
Mombu 2009-05-14 06:45:38
These drugs work differently for everyone. You may have no problems with it. If you do have serious problems, then insist that your doctor take this seriously. Repeatedly insist, if they act dumb & keep ignoring you. Susan, Su_Texas my opinions
Mombu 2009-05-14 06:45:44
Thanks ladies for the good helpful advice about the Arimidex. I will certainly get and try your Aloe Vera drink, Kaye. My biggiest concern is stomach problems and joint pain and I appreciate all of the help and suggestions. If I have other problems, I will certainly take Su's advice and bring it to the attention of my Onc. BTW....I cannot take doxycycline. I tried it one time and it set my stomach on fire for weeks! I now have it listed with ALL my doctors that I am not to be given it. Bea
Mosherm 2009-05-14 11:48:38
Hi Bea, I've been taking Arimidex for a year now and haven't had any problems at all, other that a few very weak hot flashes. I don't take any other medication. I asked my doctor for a baseline calcium test this year, because Arimidex apparently depletes calcium and my results were high normal. Good luck with it. Marilyn
Kaye301 2009-05-14 11:48:44
stomach on fire for weeks! I now have it listed with ALL my doctors that I am not to be given it.>>
The first time I took it, it tore up my stomach pretty badly but I made myself
stick it out (fortunately, it did not cause any permanent damage–at least as
far as I know) and, in time, it became tolerable. I am NOT recommending that
anyone do that but just reporting my personal experience with it.
Janhig 2009-05-14 11:49:08
What do you mean when you say a baseline calcium test? Was this a blood
(serum) test? You need a bone density (Dexa Scan) test to determine bone
loss (osteopenia or osteoporosis). Blood (serum) calcium levels are usually
normal in osteoporosis. Serum calcium will increase with bone mets. You
need a Dexa Scan or other bone density tests to determine if the Arimidex is
causing bone loss. A normal serum calcium does not mean that your bones are
Mosherm 2009-05-14 11:49:40
Janet, thanks a lot for that. I didn’t know that a calcium test was
worthless and my doctor didn’t say anything about it, other than my calcium
levels were good. I probably won’t see him until my annual visit next
December, but I’ve made a note on my calendar to start nagging for a
bone-density test at that visit
Debitrc 2009-05-14 18:41:00
Marilyn, why not call your doctor? Why wait a year? This is not an emergency,
but bone loss can be serious and there are things to do about it if Arimidex is
affecting your bone density.
It’s possible that you have to be on the drug awhile before negative things
start happening, but I know I had a baseline text when I started the drug and a
year later I was diagnosed with ostopenia (sp?) and started on Fosamax.
Mosherm 2009-05-14 18:41:21
One good thing about breast cancer is that if you miss something when you
see one doctor there is another one along in a few months. I have to see a
doctor from my local oncology dept in January for a check-up, and then in
June I see my radiology oncologist in another city for a final check-up.
I’ll ask them what they think and one of them will probably recommend a
bone marrow test and then I can ask my family doctor for it. I’m not very
assertive on my own. 🙁
Mombu 2009-05-14 18:41:27
I’m assertive but my problem is unless I read about a test on this site,
I don’t know what to ask my Onc for. I was diagnosed 8/03 had surgery,
Chemo, and now radiation and no one has ever recommended any tests I
need. I am hoping that is a “good” sign. When I asked my Onc about
testing my heart before Chemo (got Adriamycin etc.) he said it wasn’t
really necessary because he had a copy of an EKG my cardiologist had
done many months ago.
What are we supposed to do when we mention certain tests and they
“fluff” us off or say “they” don’t think the tests are necessary? We
don’t want to come off looking like hypochondriacs.
Am I supposed to have any type tests before he puts me on Arimidex? I It’s important to have a baseline to monitor. I am guessing that at some pt., Take care, Shaz x As regards Adriamycin, yes it has some long term effect on the heart but One must remember that many tests (bone scans, CAT scans, etc) involve Tim Jackson Read it as “It is common to get the ER status (from the tumour pathology).” Tim Thanks for clarifying, Tim. In the states it is supposed to be done on all
typed out a long sheet with all my medical problems and medications on
it for him to read and put in my file but when I saw him last visit he
said he “thought” he had read it. I think I have the same “old” Onc
another poster mentioned. I sure hope doctors don’t get senile!
Debitrc 2009-05-14 23:34:50
It's not a bone marrow test--it's a bone density test. Deb
Mombu 2009-05-14 23:34:56
I had a bone density test some months before I was diagnosed with bc. Other than showing some spots where I had Osteoarthritis, what good are they with reference to our bc? My doctor knew I could not take Fosamax or even the Miacalcin nosespray due to my stomach problems so he just told me to drink lots of milk. Is another bone density test done before they prescribe Arimidex? Bea
Down 2009-05-14 23:35:11
So many tests and so little time... There are 3 different bone tests (well 4 actually) on the table now: Bone density uses xrays/CT to check for osteoporosis Bone marrow uses cold hard steel to check one's blood-building capacity Bone scan uses injected isotopes to test for bone metastases, active arthritis is also seen. A normal x-ray is the usual way to diagnose arthritis. I think you probably had the bone scan Bea because arthritis is not normally seen in the bone density test. So it would be a good idea to get one before you start Arimidex, as increased osteoporosis is a known side effect of this otherwise very useful drug. -- madiba
Mosherm 2009-05-14 23:35:31
I should probably not do any typing while listening to Clay Aiken. Marilyn
Kaye301 2009-05-15 11:01:51
they with reference to our bc? >>
some bone mets may be hard to distinguish from osteoporosis.
I feel that if what is going on is known at any point in time, that better or
more optimal treatment options will be available
Shaz 2009-05-15 16:09:59
Thanks for raising this issue, regarding whether we should have any tests
before being put on such meds as Arimidex.
I am not on this but am on Tamoxifen instead. This has got me thinking about
whether I should’ve been given some kind of tests before being given this
med. I know it’s a bit late now, coz i’ve been on it for 6mths but at least
in the future, if i’m due to be given anymore meds like these, i’ll know now
to ask for these tests. I only know this from reading info from others posts
about their treatment and the various tests that they were given. Otherwise
I’d be in the dark and ignorant about such tests being available. Also I
think I should’ve been given a heart test before being given A/C chemo. As
i’ve already had a course of this as a child. This was over 30 yrs ago but
surely, it still must of had some affect on my heart? I was aware of some
kind of side effects from A/C chemo, on my heart, as my onc. did mention
this briefly, before starting me on it.
Like many other people on here, I haven’t been told much by my doctors,
unless i’ve asked for information. Doctors, especially here in the UK, don’t
seem to like to volunteer information. Maybe it’s time they changed their
Tim jackson 2009-05-15 16:10:10
I don’t think it is usual to give any particular test before starting
Tamoxifen or Arimidex. It is common to get the ER status from the tumour
pathology, but in my experience in the UK they don’t always even do that for
Tamoxifen, after all it has been shown to be beneficial even to patients
with ER- tumours, so one only really needs that information where the
situation is marginal. The serious side effects are rare enough that unless
there is some pre-existing condition which contra-indicates this treatment,
it is unlikely that any tests will alter the prescribing decision.
within the scope of a standard chemotherapy treatment this is not considered
sufficient to justify testing heart function in advance. In the case of
someone who has had chemotherapy before, then there might be an argument for
some sort of test, I don’t know, that would be something to put to the
exposure to radiation and carry their own risk of causing cancer, so one has
to carefully justify the risk against the potential benefit before ordering
Kaye301 2009-05-15 16:10:19
I had thought that was how it is done? What other way is there?
Tim jackson 2009-05-15 16:10:28
I didn’t mean there was any other way. I meant that this is the only test
done to predict the benefits from hormone therapy, and this test is not,
strictly speaking, done on the patient.
Kaye301 2009-05-15 21:28:14
done to predict the benefits from hormone therapy, and this test is not,
strictly speaking, done on the patient.>>
b.c. patients. They are also supposed to check PR status, I think, although
mine wasn’t done.
Alexk 2009-05-16 02:19:23
Yes checking hormone status is the standard of care in the US.
It’s important to have a baseline to monitor. I am guessing that at some pt.,
As regards Adriamycin, yes it has some long term effect on the heart but
One must remember that many tests (bone scans, CAT scans, etc) involve
Read it as “It is common to get the ER status (from the tumour pathology).”
Thanks for clarifying, Tim. In the states it is supposed to be done on all