What is Anastrozole?
Anastrozole is a prescription-only medicine, which is used for treating breast cancer in women who have attained menopause. It is classified under the group of aromatase inhibitors. The medicine is generally used in combination with other treatments such as radiation therapy and surgery. After menopause, a hormone known as estrogen can stimulate faster growth of breast cancer. The effects of Anastrozole medicine suppress the release of estrogen hormone and slow down the growth and development of breast cancer.
Estrogen is a female sex hormone, and its high concentration in the body can contribute to the faster growth of cancerous cells in the breast. Cells in the breast can grow unusually due to estrogen exposure. The function of aromatase inhibitors is to interfere with the production of estrogen and decrease its levels in the body to reverse breast cancer.
Anastrozole medicines are available in the form of tablets for oral consumption. The tablet must be taken as per the doctor’s direction. It must be taken at the same time every day. The use of this medicine is not recommended among pregnant or breastfeeding females, it must be used only by the women who have attained postmenopausal.
Moreover, lack of estrogen leads to osteoporosis, and the medicine Anastrozole reduces the levels of estrogen which can potentiate the risk of developing osteoporosis. Those diagnosed with osteoporosis or who have a risk of developing it must talk to their doctor regarding the risk factors linked to the use of these medicines.
Anastrozole side effects
Some common side effects of this medicine are as follows:
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- Weakness, dizziness
- Sweating, hot flashes
- Muscle, joint, or bone pain
- Breast pain
- Weight gain
- Mood changes, nervousness
- Depression, insomnia
- Dry mouth
- Buring sensation, pain, and tingling in hands and feet
- Vaginal dryness, irritation
- Vgainal bleeding
- Hair thinning
These side effects do not last for long. If they stick around for long and cause discomfort, then you should see your doctor.
Some side effects that are classified under the serious category might also arise in some people. They include:
- Painful and urgent urination
- High fever, sore throat, cough, chills
- Swelling, redness, and warmth in hands and arms
- Chest pain
- Yellowing of eyes and skin
- Vision changes or blurred vision
- Severe stomach pain
- Skin rash, hives, itching
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the face, lips, tongue, hands, arms, feet, and ankles.
In case you develop any of these serious symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Early consultation will reduce the worsening of the symptoms.
Anastrozole and erectile dysfunction
Although Anastrozole medications are primarily used by postmenopausal women to negate their risk of developing breast cancer due to estrogen overload, some bodybuilder enthusiast men might also use these medications as anabolic steroids. As the medications reduce the levels of estrogen hormone in the body, this will boost their manliness. A drop in estrogen might cause an increase in the size of testicles, improvement in the sex drive, deepen their voice, and prevent breast enlargement.
It is not evident whether erectile dysfunction is a side effect of Anastrozole. It might cause some changes in their sex drive but there is a lack of research done in this regard which can confirm that the medicine can contribute to erectile dysfunction. One must talk to the doctor to gain awareness regarding its effects on sexual function.