• Does anyone know if Femara joint pain will get worse? I am in my second year after mastectomy.

    Asked by lugarcia14 on Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Does anyone know if Femara joint pain will get worse? I am in my second year after mastectomy.

    It is difficult to close my hands, and I am taking it only for a couple of months, I first had tamoxifen but caused polyps. Thanks for your information.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Hi. I don't take Femara, I take Arimidex. I have joint pain in my back, feet, and hands and stiffness all over. It was what it was from the very beginning and hasn't changed significantly. My docs tell me that people can respond differently to the different AIs and have suggested I switch, but I prefer to stick with what I know (it's been almost 4 years). So if the Femara is unbearable, you may tolerate Arimidex better.

      about 8 years ago
    • LiveLoveLaff's Avatar

      Hey there- I took Femara first. My joint pain started after several months. I actually came to this site to find others with this problem! My elbows, shoulders, one knee, and lower back were involved. Sitting to drive made my knee so unbearable that I thought I'd lose my mind. When I got to my stop, it was so hard to walk until I took about 20 steps. My back would be aching too.
      I had switched to Aromasin 6 months ago and find the knee is back to aching when driving, though not intense yet. I have a bit of arthritis in the back so that bothers me if standing long. I have to lie down to relieve that.
      My oncologist gave me a moderate pain med to deal with it but that is all he is going to do.
      I assume all these meds have this side effect; and if you're prone, it's going to get you.
      I was hoping one of the drug companies would study this and try to help us alleviate the intensity, at least. Hang in there. Make sure it's recorded that you have this, and ask you famiky phys for advice. Mine ran all tests. That's how I know I have the arthritis.

      about 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Hi Neighbor, I'm just down the road in Pflugerville. The joint pain and stiffness is common with all aromatase inhibitors. I've been on anastrozole for about 2 months and it does cause me to get stiff and sore, especially when I first get up in the morning. Movement is what has worked best for me. Weight bearing exercise like walking and lifting weights or using resistance bands helps a lot, so does any kind of flexibility and range of motion exercise like yogo, pilates, tai chi, etc. I have heard others on AIs say that it does get better, but not sure if it actually gets better or you just get use to it and learn what to do to make it better.

      about 8 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear Lugarcia14:
      Any of the AI drugs can have joint pain and stiffness. I started on Arimidex and the pains started almost immediately. I was sore and stiff in every joint, I could barely open or close my hands in the morning and evening, and I developed trigger fingers in both hands. Although it was unbearable, I was wiling to bear to prevent a recurrence of cancer. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was almost always in a level 2, often rose to level 4-5 at some times during the day, and occasionally rose to 7 or 8 if I exerted myself. After only 3 months of being on this drug, it was my oncologist who told me it didn't have to be like this. She took me off Arimidex to see if the side effects would subside (they did) and then she started me on Aromasin. I have been taking that for a month and so far do not have ANY of the horrible side effects of Arimidex. I have some slight pain in one knee and my hands are almost back to normal.
      Ask your oncologist is another AI may be better for you to try. Although they all do basically the same thing in blocking estrogen production, they work in different ways (Aromasin is steroid based; Arimidex is not; don't know about Femara). One of the others may work better for you and you have the right to find out.
      Fight On,

      about 8 years ago
    • lugarcia14's Avatar

      Thank you all very much for your answers. This is my first time in this site. I was desperate!. Attypatty: I have same problems in my hands! Tamoxifen caused polyps, switched to Arimidex and was depressed, and then to Femara and have this join problem really bad. Dear nieghboor Nancyjac, I do exercise 3 times/week, but I guess I will do it more often. Thanks all for your help. I will take notes for my doctor.

      about 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      It doesn't have to be formal or strenuous exercise, just frequent movement to prevent or relieve the joint pain/stiffness. I make sure I move at least every hour. Just walking up and down the hall way a couple of times for a couple of minutes helps more than exercising for an hour 3 times/week.

      about 8 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar

      I started to get joint pain after a couple of months taking Femara. When I started walking on the treadmill for exercise, to try to lose some of the weight I gained since I was diagnosed 7 years ago, the joint pain went away. I asked my doctor about this, and she said that the more you exercise the joints, the less you will have pain there. It worked for me, although I hate to exercise:)

      about 8 years ago
    • artist's Avatar

      I have been taking Femara for about 1 and a half years. I still have weakness in my legs and pain in my ankles when standing or walking for very long. It has gotten a little better, so I'm hoping that it will eventually improve. I do wear support stockings and I'm not sure if they help or not. Also have joint pain in my hips and back.

      almost 8 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      Thank you for your question. I hope all is well.

      Your comments reminded me of some content we have on the site about mastectomy and double mastectomy.


      One more thing, I wanted to let other WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, which includes a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      about 7 years ago

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