• Which AI?

    Asked by Peggie on Friday, June 6, 2014

    Which AI?

    I just finished round#6 chemo (Taxotere/Cytoxan) - big yay! But... In 2 weeks' time, my oncologist will start me on an AI - Femara he suggests. I now understand that since I am post-meno, I will have to take one of the 3 options of AI now a available. Reading about the potential side effects has been a downer, especially just coming thru chemo. So many mixed reactions to Femara. I am at a loss.

    16 Answers from the Community

    16 answers
    • ld_105's Avatar

      I was on Femara for nine months before being switched to Arimidex. The joint pain increased over time and I was lethargic. The SEs did not lesson over time which is what I was told. Just keep track of any changes and discuss with your oncologist. Good luck.

      over 6 years ago
    • Sherber's Avatar

      Congratulations!!! I am on tamoxifen so can't help with Femara.....the internet is a curse and a blessing! All those meds have insane side effects!! I discussed with my doc. Document your questions and have your arsenal ready to discuss with doc. What can we do to lessen the s.e. could be some questions to ask. I was told to eat right, exercise and do weight bearing exercises to keep bones strong. Good luck!!!

      over 6 years ago
    • Samcharlie's Avatar

      Woo Hoo! You finished chemo! I started with Arimidex - had problems. (I documented all the side effects)I then tried Aromasin - had problems; then tried femara. I had problems with femara also but decided to stick with it because I was tired of changing meds. I was offered more meds to help with side effects of femara but decided against because I do not like taking pills. I will be off the femara in 9 more months. I can't wait to stop the AI. My oncologist has been wonderful at trying to find an AI with the least side effects. It really helped to let the onco know exactly how I was feeling. Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

      over 6 years ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      Like Sherber, I am on Tamoxifen, so I don't know the difference. The Internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to keeping informed. I upset myself so much over some of the stuff I read my mother actually said in the same tone she said if my sisters and I ever got wrong information from TV, "You've been watching too much Internet!" She meant to say reading, but I thought it was hilarious th eway she said it. Because t heInternet is so full of information that might not pertain to you, it's best to talk to your oncologist. I h ave been offered pills to combat the hot flashes, but I didn't want to be on another medication that had its own SE. I have personally found popsicles and cold drinks help a lot with them as well. The one side effect I seem to be experiencing that I can't seem to control is I've been tooting far more since starting Tamoxifen; any advice in that department? HUGS and God bless!

      over 6 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar

      Congratulations, you are finished with chemo! I was on Femara for about eight months. Side effects were joint pain, headaches, hot flashes, and heartburn. My onc switched me to Arimidex. I've been on that for almost a year. Same side effects, so I figure they are all pretty much the same. He has offered other drugs to deal with the side effects, but I don't want to take anything else! Good luck with everything. God bless:)

      over 6 years ago
    • MelanieIIB's Avatar

      I am also on Tamoxifen. I did not want to take it because of all the side effects and the fact that you have to be on it for years. Chemo was more doable because you are on it for months, not years. It was a very hard decision for me. I talked with several people and one wise person told me that if I did not give it a try to see how my body reacts and I later develop metastatic breast cancer, I would always regret it and wish I had taken it. As others have said, keep a record of side effects so you can tell your oncologist. I have kept a notebook of side effects through all of my treatments. I did have some side effects when I first started taking Tamoxifen that went away after about 3 or 4 weeks. The hot flashes are miserable and probably more intense than they would be naturally but I do not want to take more medication to combat them.

      over 6 years ago
    • amyw's Avatar

      Peggie, I had the same chemo combo as you T&C, I finished last year just before the 4th of july. I was on tamoxifen for 6 months until I had my ovaries removed (I am BRCA 2 positive) My oncologist then switched me to femara as it is suppose to be slightly more effective (at preventing cancer) I was not happy about it at first as I felt I was doing well with tamoxifen (just hot flashes). But I agreed to try the femara as the number one importance is avoiding future cancers!! The hot flashes maybe got alittle worse at first but still tolerable. (I always wear cardigan sweaters I can quickly take off!) I do feel the joint pain, but it is nothing like what I got on the taxotere. Often a restless pain in bed at night. I am a runner and I have found what you hear a lot of exercise, movement helps a lot. In fact, the biggest problem I have is sitting for too long! I just had my first three month with my oncologist since starting femara three months ago and I am staying with it. Yes I am achy but I don't feel it is bad enough to switch off. Again, the primary goal is lowering my risk of a cancer reoccurance, I very much trust my oncologist and unless it starts to really effect me, I will stay on it. My advise would be try it and see how you react to it. If you don't already do some exercise, try walking and stretching. Don't know how you were with the taxotere, I was so wiped out with strange body pains, and this is nothing like that. Best of luck to you!!

      over 6 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      The side effects (SEs)I have from anastrozole are doable. I have 4 more years to go. It side effects worsen, then I can try another.My oncologist is telling me 5 years for the AI treatment - she has not increased it to 10 yrs, as I understand other docs may be doing. At least with tamoxifen. But AIs are a different drug. The 5 year recommendation in my case may possibly be due to my already advanced age.

      I think all drugs come with SEs. I'd rather ignore the very mild SEs I have with anastrozole than rise switching to something that could be worse. Remember that each regimen effects each individual differently.

      over 6 years ago
    • Peggie's Avatar

      Thank you so much for all your responses... You all make such sense... altho I dread how negatively my body MAY react, I also know that it is a path I have to walk down. Menopause was easy for me, I never had hot flashes and such. Exercise is something I have to commit to - haven't been doing much as I am still battling edema, myalgia and arthralgia. You are all brave women and I want to be in your ranks!

      over 6 years ago
    • Vonda's Avatar

      I had Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer I was on Taxetare / Cytoxen also. Then put on Tamoxifen . I was on it for a year then had a severe reaction to it and was then put on Femara . I had bone pain and eventually it went to Osteoporosis, I had Hot Flashes which lessoned in time , I will be off Femara on July 1,2014 Praise God!! I will be Praying for Complete Healing. I also think being very Positive and having a lot of Faith really helps to get you through. Laughing is also good medicine.

      over 6 years ago
    • Ladykarla's Avatar

      My oncologist told me Arimidex is the best one.

      over 6 years ago
    • Shayla51's Avatar

      I am 62- diagnosed at age 60. Tried arimidex and then switched to aromasin. Side effects are more bearable than arimidex. I only had radiation after a lumpectomy. After two years I am finally feeling more like myself. Fatigue is still there but energy is coming back. Guess my body is adjusting to the aromasin. Hang in there and keep your spirits up.

      over 6 years ago
    • Giraffe's Avatar

      Yesterday, I was one year out after, Chemo and Radiation. I am on Arimidex. I do have some pain, but doable , only four years to go. I am trying to increase my walking and am ready to start riding my bike again. Yes, I get tired. Often after longer days at work, I need a nap. I try to get extra sleep on weekends. It helps me. Good luck to you!

      over 6 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Please remember that some gals have NO side effects....others have side effects that go away within a few months. Give it a try and see how you do....you can always switch AI's if you have side effects....all the best to you

      over 6 years ago
    • baridirects' Avatar

      I was put on Femara back in March when I was diagnosed with bone metastases. I'm also on Faslodex and Xgeva, so it's not always easy to tell what side effects are coming from what medication. My oncologist and I are in agreement that my hot flashes (tolerable) and my low back pain (usually tolerable; when it gets really annoying, I take OTC Advil or something similar which works well) are most likely due to the Femara. He has told me that many of his patients experience a lessening of the side effects over time...he's also said that if the back pain gets to a level where OTC meds don't work well enough, he'll give me something a bit stronger. I'm happy that my tumor marker levels are on the way down with this combination, so I'm certainly willing to put up with some discomfort in return.

      As karen mentioned, not everyone has side effects, and those who do don't always experience them at the same level, so it's definitely worth a try. Remember, an ethical/legal approach to reporting requires that every possible side effect needs to be listed, no matter how unlikely, so it looks more daunting than it's likely to actually be for you. What I can assure you of is that it is definitely worth avoiding developing metastatic disease at any cost - once you cross that bridge, there is no hope of cure, at least with the technology we have available today.


      over 6 years ago
    • Karenhi's Avatar

      I was really worried about taking an AI after my reactions to chemo, but it hasn't been as nasty as I feared. So try to keep an open mind.
      My onc let me choose so I started on Femara because a friend did better on that than arimidex, though I don't know if I would have reacted the way she did.
      I can't take anti-inflammatory meds right now because of back surgery, but I take turmeric (has some similar properties, though probably weaker) as well as glucosamine/chondroitin with MSM, and sit under a bright SAD light (the kind for seasonal affective disorder) which helps me sleep better at night and I think is helping with morning grogginess, stiffness, etc. (some anecdotal research supports this).
      I will be going off the turmeric for a week in anticipation for some minor surgery so I will get a chance to see is it indeed is doing anything. Exercise is also important -- and getting started is the hardest part!

      over 6 years ago

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