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    Suggest treatment for side effects of Arimidex

Posted on Mon, 28 Dec 2015 in Cancer
Question: I was one of the early Arimidex users. My surgeon in the UK had done trials on it. I reacted severely within 48hrs of starting to take it ....... and as the bone pain intensified I just stopped taking it as it was clearly cause and effect. We were in Brussels for five days. I could barely walk as my feet were so painful. Saw my surgeon on my return and he put me back onto Tamoxifen, on which I'd spent my first post op mastectomy year.
Nonetheless, the bone pain failed to go away and after eight months of complaining I was sent to a professor who was investigating side effects of the drug. Stangely, he asked me if I skied! I said I did but was having such difficulties holding my turns that I wondered how long I could continue. He immediately told me muscle weakness was a side effect of Arimidex and that it wouldn't go away.
I am fit and active and continued to exercise long after I stopped Skiing. I was referred to a Rheumatologist who gave me steroid injections approx nine monthly for intense bone pain and muscle weakness. Eventually a new GP cottoned on to the fact that it was the annual flu injection which was triggering attacks of bone pain/muscle weakness - so I stopped them years ago. However, now, at 70 I'm struggling with considerable muscle weakness in my legs and arms - and it is getting worse. Disconcerting! If I bend down to pick something up I can only get up again if I push myself off from the floor with my finger tips. Stairs are an increasing problem. And it is all accelerating. Is this connected to the bad old days?
SOS dear doc! Any suggestions please?
Answered by Dr. Prashant Sharma 19 hours later
Brief Answer:
complete assessment is needed.

Detailed Answer:
hi madam,
after reading your history, i am feeling very sympathetic to you.
As you started with the side effects of the drug arimidex very soon, that clearly indicates that these symptoms were due to the drug. it was a wise decision from ur side that you stopped the drug. feeling of weakness and pain in muscles is a known side effect of this drug. but as you stopped the drug soon after starting it, so it should not be the culprit now. it might be the triggering factor.
its really difficult to comment upon the diagnosis without examination.
I think tamoxifen may also cause these problems to little extent as it is also a hormone inhibitor, but not so severe.
your bone pain and muscle pain need to be assessed. i would prefer to know the level of calcium in your bones, which can easily be done by a test named 'bone mineral density'.
the weakness is only due to muscles or nerves are also involved in it, that point should also be addressed.
steroids are good for short term, but on prolonged use they have their own side effects.
so my advise to you is that a complete assessment is needed to know the root of the problem so that we can target it.
hope you will be strong enough to start skiing soon.
feel free to ask further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
Follow up: Dr. Prashant Sharma 32 minutes later
I have no pain now - but considerable muscle weakness in legs and arms.
No other signs or symptoms.
Could this still be related to the Armidex muscle weakness of long ago, returning now with increasing age? The UK professor did say the muscle weakness was permanent but I foolishly didn't ask if it was while I was continuing on Tamoxifen or forever.
I would welcome your thoughts, please.
Answered by Dr. Prashant Sharma 39 hours later
Brief Answer:
complete assessment is needed

Detailed Answer:
hi madam, good morning.
sorry for the delay.

i can not contradict the UK professor or his experience.

i personally do't think that your muscle weakness is due to the drug now. it should be the age related phenomenon. Armidex might be the triggering factor long ago and since then the weakness is continuing and increasing with the age. i can't say how much role the steroids had played in it. armidex is a hormonal drug, its effect doesn't last so long. in my practice i have not seen such muscle weakness due to this drug.
muscle weakness may be related to many factors like age, anaemia, hormonal imbalance, steroid level, physiotherapy, nerve degeneration and so many.
your condition needs complete assessment. so my advise is you should consult a good physician or a good physiotherapist.

wish you a good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
Answered by
Dr. Prashant Sharma

Oncologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 177 Questions


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