Patient/caregiver was educated on the side-effects of using Arimidex as follows:
- Estrogen in postmenopausal women help in maintaining the bone mass and preventing development of osteoporosis. Reduced levels of estrogen hormone in the body, secondary to Arimidex use, can predispose postmenopausal women to reduced bone mass, demineralization of bone, osteoporosis, weakened skeletal framework, and episodes of sudden bone pain & pathological fractures.
- Demineralization of bone in postmenopausal women, secondary to Arimidex intake, can result in migration of calcium from bone into the blood, resulting in extreme elevation of calcium levels in the blood. This can result in signs and symptoms of hypercalcemia.
- Arimidex use can result in common general constitutional symptoms such as, nausea and vomiting. Taking dose of Arimidex with a glass of water, after having some food or a snack can help avoid having unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms with the medication.
- Arimidex intake, secondary to increased blood calcium, can result in extreme constipation and reduced appetite. Proper hydration measures and compliance with daily fluid intake & laxative/stool softener recommendations can help with relief from constipation.
- Arimidex intake carries the risk of increasing the blood lipid levels and can contribute to forming atherogenic blocks in the blood vessels. Atherosclerosis can increase the risk for compromised blood supply to the heart muscle and individuals can present with episodes of chest pain or discomfort, exacerbation of shortness of breath, and even heart attack, leading to debility and sudden cardiac death.
- Atherosclerosis, secondary to Arimidex use, can also result in elevated blood pressure and in some individuals can significantly increase the risk for development of stroke. Individuals, secondary to stroke can present with sudden weakness on one side of the body or any extremity, trouble speaking, and sudden deterioration of vision.
- Also, compromised blood supply to the cardiac muscle and elevated serum calcium can result in altered function and development of cardiac arrhythmias. Individuals can present with episodes of chest pain, rapid heart rate, palpitations, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
- Patients taking Arimidex can present with increased thickness of blood and risk for blood clot/thrombus formation. Watch out closely for any sudden onset of signs of clot formation, deep venous thrombosis, such as, pain in the calf muscle, episodes of sudden cough and exacerbated shortness of breath, chest pain, and in severe cases can present with numbness or weakness, especially in one half of the body, poor balance, problems with speech and/or vision, severe headache, and confusion.
Renal system side-effects
- Hypercalcemia, secondary to Arimidex use, can result in formation of calcium stones, Individuals can present with episodes of severe flank or abdominal pain, vomiting, and difficulty passing urine.
General allergic reactions
- Arimidex use can result in general allergic reactions, such as, skin rashes, hives, and itching.
- Some patients can present with symptoms of severe allergic and anaphylactic response with Arimidex, such as, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, throat, and tongue, with consequent difficulty breathing. Seek emergency medical help for such findings, especially with difficulty breathing, for any appropriate measures to be considered.
Central nervous system side-effects
- Optimum serum calcium levels are very important for normal nerve functions, sensory awareness, mood, and behavior. By increasing serum calcium levels and causing hypercalcemia, Arimidex carries the risk of inducing/aggravating mood disorders. Individuals can present with complaints such as, feeling low and depressed, confusion, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and restlessness.