Anastrozole: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings & Dosing


Anastrozole is a type of medication known as an aromatase inhibitor. It is primarily used in the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the uses, side effects, interactions, warnings, and dosing of anastrozole.


Breast Cancer Treatment:

  • Anastrozole is commonly prescribed to postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It works by reducing the amount of estrogen in the body, which can help slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • It is typically used as an adjuvant treatment, meaning it is given after surgery or other primary treatments to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Prevention:

  • Anastrozole has also shown promise in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women with an increased risk of the disease. This is known as chemoprevention and is often considered for women with certain risk factors.

Side Effects

Like any medication, anastrozole can cause side effects. The most common ones include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

In rarer cases, anastrozole can cause more serious side effects, such as:

  • Heart problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of fractures
  • Allergic reaction
  • Liver problems
  • Mood changes or depression

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to notify your healthcare provider immediately.


Anastrozole may interact with other medications, supplements, and herbal products, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. Some examples of medications that can interact with anastrozole include:

  • Tamoxifen
  • Estrogen-containing products
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Warfarin
  • Some antidepressants and anticonvulsants

It is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you are taking before starting anastrozole treatment.


Before taking anastrozole, it’s important to consider the following warnings:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Anastrozole should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as it may harm the fetus or infant.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or osteoporosis, may make anastrozole treatment unsuitable or require dosage adjustments.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Anastrozole may cause dizziness or fatigue, which can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
  • Allergy: Individuals with a known allergy to anastrozole or any of its ingredients should not take this medication.


Anastrozole is available as an oral tablet and is typically taken once daily. The recommended dose for breast cancer treatment is 1 mg per day, while for breast cancer prevention, a lower dose of 0.5 mg per day may be used. Dosage adjustments may be necessary based on individual factors and the response to treatment.

The duration of anastrozole treatment can vary depending on the specific situation and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


Anastrozole is an effective medication used in the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is also utilized for breast cancer prevention in high-risk individuals. While it may cause side effects, such as hot flashes and joint pain, they are generally manageable. Anastrozole can interact with other medications, and individuals with certain medical conditions should exercise caution. Proper dosing, under medical supervision, is essential for optimal treatment outcomes. It’s important to have open and regular communication with a healthcare professional to ensure that anastrozole treatment is safe and effective for each individual case.

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