Additionally, as anastrozole is a cancer preventative, there will be no proof for a woman taking the drug that it has stopped them from developing breast cancer. The study followed 4,000 post-menopausal women for 10 years and found that the reduced risk of breast cancer remains, even when women stopped taking the drug. Women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer are set to be offered a pill that cuts their risk of developing the disease in half. In a news story published on 7 November 2023, NHS England said that around 289,000 women at moderate or high risk of breast cancer could benefit from anastrozole.

Tens of thousands more women at increased risk of breast cancer could now benefit from a proven risk-reducing drug on the NHS, after it was licensed in a new use to help prevent the disease. Women who have a medium or high risk of developing breast cancer because of a family history might have anastrozole. Anastrozole belongs to a group of medicines called ‘aromatase inhibitors’. Basically, what this means is that it works to prevent the production of estrogen in the body.

How long does anastrozole last?

Most people can eat and drink normally when taking anastrozole. Although some people may get hot flushes or redness when they drink alcohol. If you are bothered by side effects from taking anastrozole, talk to your doctor. Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

  • A follow up study, published in 2020, showed that the benefits of the drug extended beyond the 5-year treatment period.
  • It is important not to become pregnant or get someone pregnant while you are having treatment.
  • However, plasma anastrozole concentrations in the volunteers with hepatic cirrhosis were within the range of concentrations seen in normal subjects in other trials.
  • Anastrozole was already authorised for use in the treatment of breast cancer in post-menopausal women and has been used off-label for prevention.
  • The same study mentioned by Dr Irwin above, known as the HOPE study (Hormones and Physical Exercise) [10], found that more intense strength based training helped to reduce the eventual pain scores even further.
  • They can also give you advice on exercise and diet to help keep your bones strong.

The decision was based on results from the international, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled IBIS-II trial, which showed that fewer women developed breast cancer when taking compared to a placebo group. And while it’s difficult, there are treatments available that can help. Health officials in Scotland said they would be looking at the effectiveness of giving the drug to more people to help prevent cancer. While anastrozole has been used as breast cancer medication for years, doctors can now easily prescribe it as a cancer preventative. Anastrozole is a hormone therapy medication that has been used for years in treating breast cancer.

Polygenic risk scores do still have a place in breast cancer screening and prevention strategies

Arimidex should not be used in boys with growth hormone deficiency in addition to growth hormone treatment. In the pivotal clinical trial, efficacy was not demonstrated and safety was not established (see section 5.1). Since anastrozole reduces estradiol levels, Arimidex must not be used in girls with growth hormone deficiency in addition to growth hormone treatment. Long-term safety data in children and adolescents are not available. Some 289,000 post-menopausal women in England who are deemed to have a moderate or high risk of breast cancer will be offered anastrozole in a bid to prevent them from developing the disease.

  • The Medicines Repurposing Programme welcomes new proposals from healthcare professionals, charities and companies.
  • Also called metastases, advanced breast cancer, secondaries or stage 4 breast cancer.
  • However, women who had the lowest 25% of oestradiol levels showed a much reduced risk.
  • To help us improve GOV.UK, we’d like to know more about your visit today.
  • Women with a mutation in one of the BRCA genes are at risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England, with more than 47,000 people diagnosed each year.

Officials have estimated that if 25 per cent of eligible women in England take up the offer – and half of those take the drug for the recommended five years – then 2,000 cases would be prevented. The BNF lists hepatotoxicity of Anastrozole as an uncommon adverse reaction i.e. a frequency of 1 in 1000. The mechanism is variable (Table 1) [1-8] and almost all the reported cases had reversible effect with prompt clinical and laboratory improvement. However liver failure worsened in our patient despite its withdrawal. “This is the first drug to be repurposed through a world-leading new programme to help us realise the full potential of existing medicines in new uses to save and improve more lives on the NHS.

Coping with side effects

Anastrozole works by stopping “aromatase”, a chemical that the body uses as part of this process. As anastrozole can have a number of side effects, in the UK GnRH agonists are usually used to stop the production of oestrogen instead. The effects will stop in days if you stop taking the medication. Under the current system, when drugs come off patent and become generic – meaning they can be sold by any manufacturer- there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to drive new licensing applications. Trials found that high-risk women who took anastrozole for five years saw their risk fall by 49 per cent for more than a decade. This fabulously fun mug is designed with breasts of all shapes and sizes in mind and includes a subtle reminder to always ‘check yours’.


Exposure to anastrozole can be increased in subjects with hepatic impairment (see section 5.2); administration of Arimidex in patients with moderate and severe hepatic impairment should be performed with caution (see section 4.2). Treatment should be based on a benefit-risk evaluation for the individual patient. There hasn’t been enough evidence to find consistent variables that can predict the incidence of AI-induced joint pain. However, some studies point to previous treatments as predictors for the increased likelihood of this symptom.

Anastrozole improves height outcomes in growing children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia

A review of the clinical trial safety database did not reveal evidence of clinically significant interaction in patients treated with Arimidex who also received other commonly prescribed medicinal products. There were no clinically significant interactions with bisphosphonates (see section 5.1). • Treatment of hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women. NHS England estimates that this work on anastrozole could enable up to 79,000 people in England to receive the drug for preventative purposes, which would prevent around 2,257 cases of breast cancer. Using anastrozole in this way would save the NHS in England £14.7 million by avoiding the costs of cancer treatment.

review for Anastrozole 1mg Tablets, 28 Tablets

She did not consume any alcohol and a thorough review by pharmacists revealed no other offending drugs. A gastroenterology consultation was undertaken however a liver biopsy was not considered due to frailty and worsening general condition. Viral hepatitis and autoimmune screen were not performed in view of normal transaminases throughout the illness. Unfortunately, no clinical or biochemical improvement was observed, and she succumbed to liver failure which lead to death 3 weeks after drug withdrawal.

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