Anastrozole is a medication for women that acts by lowering levels of estrogen. This mechanism of action aids in the relief of menopause symptoms as well as the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
Anastrozole is often indicated as the first course of treatment of postmenopausal women who have hormone receptor-positive as well as hormone receptor unknown, locally-advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Women suffering from advanced breast cancer may also benefit from Anastrozole and it also helps postmenopausal women with a disease progression that may be as a result of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) therapy.
It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen the body produces by blocking the enzyme aromatase. This can slow or stop the growth of many types of breast cancer cells that need estrogen to grow. Anastrozole may also be used to prevent breast cancer in women who are high risk for developing the disease.
Anastrozole can also be used in the treatment of excess estrogen production in males and it has been tested for reducing estrogens, including estradiol in men. Excess estradiol can cause benign prostatic hyperplasia, gynecomastia, and symptoms of hypogonadism in males.
Do not take this drug if pregnant or breastfeeding. This medication is used mainly in women after menopause. Women of childbearing age should use reliable forms of birth control. If you become pregnant or think you might be pregnant, notify your doctor immediately.
Letrozole/Tamoxifen should not be taken with anastrozole. Estrogen containing therapies should never be used with anastrozole as they diminish pharmacological action. Herbal supplements that have estrogen-like properties should also not be used in conjunction with anastrozole.