Arimidex targets cancer by lowering estrogen levels

Arimidex is a front-line treatment for postmenopausal breast cancer in women, slowing its growth in advanced stages and treating the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.

Arimidex is also able to increase testosterone levels in men, by reducing excess estrogen in the body.

Arimidex breast cancer treatment combats the kind of breast cancer that thrives on estrogen. It is an adjuvant therapy, in other words it is used in addition to primary treatment to reduce the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer returning.

It can be prescribed along with other drugs to treat the early stages of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. As an adjuvant therapy, it is in the same company as chemotherapy drugs, radiation and targeted therapy.

The whole purpose of adjuvant therapies is to help destroy cancer cells that were not removed during surgery and, by so doing, reduce the chances of the disease returning.

Arimidex is used to lower estrogen levels and is particularly helpful in treating breast cancer in postmenopausal women, either in the early stages of the disease or after it has spread to other parts of the body.

How does Arimidex work?

High estrogen levels in the body – either caused by toxins, environmental factors or aging – are believed to contribute towards the formation of cancers in both men and women, in particular prostate cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer.

Arimidex is a hormonal treatment which helps fight cancer by lowering the levels of certain estrogens. This is particularly important in patients with early breast cancer because the tumour cells use estrogen to grow.

Arimidex uses a process called aromatase inhibition to lower estrogen levels. After menopause a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and her adrenal gland takes over, converting androgens into estrogens.

This conversion is called aromatization and it relies on the action of the enzyme aromatase. Arimidex prevents aromatization by binding to the aromatase.

In clinical trials, postmenopausal women with early breast cancer were treated with Arimidex or Tamoxifen, the standard adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal breast cancer. The study followed the women over a 5-year period and Arimidex was shown to be significantly more effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer returning.

Arimidex and men

Although it is primarily used to treat breast cancer, Arimidex is also approved to increase testosterone levels in men. There are estrogen levels in men, just as there are testosterone levels in women, so aromatization can occur in both sexes.

It may seem unusual to associate Arimidex and men, but it is equally important to keep levels of estrogen in the male body in balance. Excessive levels of estrogen, in particular estradiol, in men can cause benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), gynecomastia (the development of male breasts), and symptoms of hypogoadism (lack of function in the testes).

Men can benefit from using Arimidex to increase testosterone levels in their body. This will reduce the amount of testosterone and adrenal hormones that are converted into estrogens.

A number of factors can have an influence on testosterone levels. Men experience decreasing testosterone levels by age. A number of changes occur that can alter the balance between testosterone and estrogen. In fact, it is not unusual for a 59-year old man to have more estrogen circulating in his body than a 54-year old woman.

So, men wanting to reduce their conversion of testosterone and adrenal hormones into estrogens may well benefit from taking a regular dose of Arimidex.

Arimidex dosages

The recommended dosages of Arimidex depend on the condition is being taken for. In postmenopausal women, the dose is usually 1mg, daily by mouth.

An average of 0.25mg to 0.50mg Arimidex per week is recommended for men who want to lower their estrogen levels. As with any course of medicine, it’s always advisable to consult your doctor first.

Arimidex has proven its worth as a front-line, non steroidal treatment for combating breast cancer in postmenopausal women and reducing estrogen levels in men.

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Label

WHAT ANASTROZOLE SANDOZ IS USED FOR

The name of your medicine is Anastrozole Sandoz. It contains the active ingredient anastrozole.

Anastrozole Sandoz is used to treat breast cancer in women who are postmenopausal (i.e. women who no longer have their menstrual periods).

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Anastrozole Sandoz was prescribed for you.

Your doctor may have prescribed Anastrozole Sandoz for another reason.

How Anastrozole Sandoz works

Anastrozole Sandoz belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors.

Anastrozole Sandoz is a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor, which reduces the amount of oestrogen (female sex hormone) made by the body in postmenopausal women. In some types of breast cancer, oestrogen can help the cancer cells grow. By blocking oestrogen, Anastrozole Sandoz may slow or stop the growth of cancer.

Anastrozole Sandoz should only be taken by postmenopausal women.

Anastrozole Sandoz is not recommended for use in men, children or women who are not postmenopausal.

There is no evidence that Anastrozole Sandoz is addictive.

BEFORE YOU TAKE ANASTROZOLE SANDOZ

When you must not take it

Do not take Anastrozole Sandoz if:

you are allergic to the active ingredient or any of the inactive ingredients mentioned at the end of this leaflet under Product Description

you have an allergy to other anti-oestrogen medicines

it is past its expiry date or the packaging appears to have been tampered with

you are pregnant or breastfeeding

you are still having menstrual periods (i.e. you have not yet reached menopause)

you are a man.

Anastrozole is not recommended for use in children or in premenopausal women as safety and efficacy have not been established in these groups of patients.

If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to:

any other medicines, especially if they are in the same drug class as anastrozole

any other substances, including foods, preservatives or dyes.

Tell your doctor if you plan on becoming pregnant or will be breastfeeding while you are using Anastrozole Sandoz.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following medical conditions:

liver problems

kidney problems

osteoporosis, a family history of osteoporosis or risk factors for developing osteoporosis (such as smoking, a diet low in calcium, poor mobility, a slight build or treatment with steroid medicines).

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

In particular, tell your doctor if you take any of the following:

tamoxifen or any medicine that contains oestrogen (e.g. medicines used in Hormone Replacement Therapy - HRT). These medicines may reduce the effect of Anastrozole Sandoz

medicines from a class called Luteinising Hormone Releasing Hormone (LHRH) agonists, such as goserelin or leuprorelin.

These medicines may be affected by Anastrozole Sandoz, or may affect how well it works. You may need to use different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.

HOW TO TAKE ANASTROZOLE SANDOZ

How much to take

The usual dose is one tablet every day.

When to take it

Take Anastrozole Sandoz at about the same time each day.

Taking it at the same time each day will have the best effect. It will also help you remember when to take it.

Swallow Anastrozole Sandoz tablets whole, with a glass of water.

It does not matter if you take Anastrozole Sandoz before, with or after food.

How long to take it

Continue taking Anastrozole Sandoz for as long as your doctor or pharmacist tells you.

Anastrozole Sandoz helps to control your condition, but does not cure it. Therefore you must take Anastrozole Sandoz every day. Do not stop taking it unless your doctor tells you to - even if you feel better.

If you forget to take your dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember, and continue to take it as you would normally.

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.

Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose you missed.

If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have trouble remembering when to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.

If you take too much

Immediately telephone your doctor, or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone Australia 13 11 26 or New Zealand 0800 POISON or 0800 764766) or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital, if you think you or anyone else has taken too much Anastrozole Sandoz. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

WHILE YOU ARE TAKING ANASTROZOLE SANDOZ

Things you must do

Always follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Anastrozole Sandoz.

Be sure to keep all your appointments with your doctor so your progress can be checked.

Tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking Anastrozole Sandoz.

If you are about to be started on any new medicine, tell your doctor, dentist or pharmacist that you are taking Anastrozole Sandoz.

If you go into hospital, please let the medical staff know that you are taking Anastrozole Sandoz.

Things you must not do

Do not stop taking Anastrozole Sandoz without your doctor's permission.

Do not use Anastrozole Sandoz to treat any other complaint unless your doctor says so.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if their symptoms seem similar to yours.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how Anastrozole Sandoz affects you.

This medicine may occasionally cause some people to feel weak or sleepy.

SIDE EFFECTS

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Anastrozole Sandoz.

This medicine helps most postmenopausal women with breast cancer, but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people.

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. Side effects may happen at the start of treatment or they may happen after you have been taking your medicine for some time. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.

If you get any side effects do not stop taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any of them.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

hot flushes

lack of energy

joint pain or stiffness

vaginal dryness

thinning of hair

mild skin rash

feeling sick (nausea)

diarrhoea

These are the more common side effects of the medicine. Mostly, these are mild to moderate in nature.

Uncommon side effects can include vaginal bleeding, loss of appetite, vomiting, feeling sleepy and an increase in cholesterol levels or changes in blood tests of liver function. These side effects are generally mild to moderate and often resolve themselves over time.

If any of the following happen, tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital:

sudden signs of allergy such as shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty in breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or any other parts of the body; rash, itching or hives on the skin extremely severe skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) with lesions, ulcers or blisters liver pain or swelling and/or a general feeling of unwell with or without jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. These side effects are rare.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.

AFTER USING ANASTROZOLE SANDOZ

Storage

Keep Anastrozole Sandoz in the original packaging until you need to take it.

Store below 30°C. Keep out of the reach of children.

Disposal

Return any unused or out of date medicine to your pharmacist.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

What Anastrozole Sandoz looks like

Anastrozole Sandoz 1mg: white, round, biconvex film coated tablet without breaking notch and embossment 'A1' on one side. Available in PVC/Al blisters of 30 tablets.

Ingredients

Active Ingredient

Each Anastrozole Sandoz 1mg tablet contains 1mg anastrozole.

Inactive Ingredients

Each Anastrozole Sandoz 1mg tablet also contains: lactose, cellulose - microcrystalline, sodium starch glycollate type A, magnesium stearate, silica - colloidal anhydrous, hydroxypropylcellulose and opadry II white [lactose, hypromellose, titanium dioxide and macrogol 4000].

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    Arimidex targets cancer by lowering oestrogen levels. Arimidex is a front-line treatment for postmenopausal breast cancer in women, slowing its growth in advanced stages and treating the spread of the disease to other parts of the body. Arimidex is also able to increase testosterone levels in men, by reducing excess estrogen in the body. Arimidex targets cancer by lowering...

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