April 26, 2017
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Ischemic Cardiovascular Events

In women with pre-existing ischemic heart disease, an increased incidence of ischemic cardiovascular events was observed with ARIMIDEX in the ATAC trial (17% of patients on ARIMIDEX and 10% of patients on tamoxifen). Consider risk and benefits of ARIMIDEX therapy in patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]

Bone Effects

Results from the ATAC trial bone substudy at 12 and 24 months demonstrated that patients receiving ARIMIDEX had a mean decrease in both lumbar spine and total hip bone mineral density (BMD) compared to baseline. Patients receiving tamoxifen had a mean increase in both lumbar spine and total hip BMD compared to baseline. Consider bone mineral density monitoring in patients treated with ARIMIDEX [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].


During the ATAC trial, more patients receiving ARIMIDEX were reported to have elevated serum cholesterol compared to patients receiving tamoxifen (9% versus 3.5%, respectively) [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).


Patients should be advised that ARIMIDEX may cause fetal harm. They should also be advised that ARIMIDEX is not for use in premenopausal women; therefore, if they become pregnant, they should stop taking ARIMIDEX and immediately contact their doctor.

Allergic (Hypersensitivity) Reactions

Patients should be informed of the possibility of serious allergic reactions with swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat (angioedema) which may cause difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing and to seek medical attention immediately.

Ischemic Cardiovascular Events

Patients with pre-existing ischemic heart disease should be informed that an increased incidence of cardiovascular events has been observed with ARIMIDEX use compared to tamoxifen use. If patients have new or worsening chest pain or shortness of breath they should seek medical attention immediately.

Bone Effects

Patients should be informed that ARIMIDEX lowers the level of estrogen. This may lead to a loss of the mineral content of bones, which might decrease bone strength. A possible consequence of decreased mineral content of bones is an increase in the risk of fractures.


Patients should be informed that an increased level of cholesterol might be seen while receiving ARIMIDEX.

Tickling, Tingling or Numbness

Patients should be informed that if they experience tickling, tingling, or numbness they should notify their health care provider.


Patients should be advised not to take ARIMIDEX with Tamoxifen.

Missed Doses

Inform patients that if they miss a dose, take it as soon as they remember. If it is almost time for their next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next regularly scheduled dose. Patients should not take two doses at the same time.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

A conventional carcinogenesis study in rats at doses of 1.0 to 25 mg/kg/day (about 10 to 243 times the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis) administered by oral gavage for up to 2 years revealed an increase in the incidence of hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma and uterine stromal polyps in females and thyroid adenoma in males at the high dose. A dose-related increase was observed in the incidence of ovarian and uterine hyperplasia in females. At 25 mg/kg/day, plasma AUC0-24 hr levels in rats were 110 to 125 times higher than the level exhibited in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose. A separate carcinogenicity study in mice at oral doses of 5 to 50 mg/kg/day (about 24 to 243 times the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis) for up to 2 years produced an increase in the incidence of benign ovarian stromal, epithelial and granulosa cell tumors at all dose levels. A dose-related increase in the incidence of ovarian hyperplasia was also observed in female mice. These ovarian changes are considered to be rodent-specific effects of aromatase inhibition and are of questionable significance to humans. The incidence of lymphosarcoma was increased in males and females at the high dose. At 50 mg/kg/day, plasma AUC levels in mice were 35 to 40 times higher than the level exhibited in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose.

ARIMIDEX has not been shown to be mutagenic in in vitro tests (Ames and E. coli bacterial tests, CHO-K1 gene mutation assay) or clastogenic either in vitro (chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes) or in vivo (micronucleus test in rats).

Oral administration of anastrozole to female rats (from 2 weeks before mating to pregnancy day 7) produced significant incidence of infertility and reduced numbers of viable pregnancies at 1 mg/kg/day (about 10 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis and 9 times higher than the AUC0-24 hr found in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose). Pre-implantation loss of ova or fetus was increased at doses equal to or greater than 0.02 mg/kg/day (about one-fifth the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). Recovery of fertility was observed following a 5-week non-dosing period which followed 3 weeks of dosing. It is not known whether these effects observed in female rats are indicative of impaired fertility in humans.

Multiple-dose studies in rats administered anastrozole for 6 months at doses equal to or greater than 1 mg/kg/day (which produced plasma anastrozole Cssmax and AUC 0-24 hr that were 19 and 9 times higher than the respective values found in postmenopausal volunteers at the recommended dose) resulted in hypertrophy of the ovaries and the presence of follicular cysts. In addition, hyperplastic uteri were observed in 6-month studies in female dogs administered doses equal to or greater than 1 mg/kg/day (which produced plasma anastrozole Cssmax and AUC0-24 hr that were 22 times and 16 times higher than the respective values found in postmenopausal women at the recommended dose). It is not known whether these effects on the reproductive organs of animals are associated with impaired fertility in premenopausal women.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category X [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]

ARIMIDEX may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman and offers no clinical benefit to premenopausal women with breast cancer. ARIMIDEX is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant. In animal studies, anastrozole caused pregnancy failure, increased pregnancy loss, and signs of delayed fetal development. There are no studies of ARIMIDEX use in pregnant women. If ARIMIDEX is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus and potential risk for pregnancy loss.

In animal reproduction studies, pregnant rats and rabbits received anastrozole during organogenesis at doses equal to or greater than 1 (rats) and 1/3 (rabbits) the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis. In both species, anastrozole crossed the placenta, and there was increased pregnancy loss (increased pre-and/or post-implantation loss, increased resorption, and decreased numbers of live fetuses). In rats, these effects were dose related, and placental weights were significantly increased. Fetotoxicity, including delayed fetal development (i.e., incomplete ossification and depressed fetal body weights), occurred in rats at anastrozole doses that produced peak plasma levels 19 times higher than serum levels in humans at the therapeutic dose (AUC 0-24hr 9 times higher). In rabbits, anastrozole caused pregnancy failure at doses equal to or greater than 16 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis [see Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology].

Nursing Mothers

It is not known if anastrozole is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the tumorigenicity shown for anastrozole in animal studies, or the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

Clinical studies in pediatric patients included a placebo-controlled trial in pubertal boys of adolescent age with gynecomastia and a single-arm trial in girls with McCune-Albright Syndrome and progressive precocious puberty. The efficacy of ARIMIDEX in the treatment of pubertal gynecomastia in adolescent boys and in the treatment of precocious puberty in girls with McCune-Albright Syndrome has not been demonstrated.

Gynecomastia Study

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study enrolled 80 boys with pubertal gynecomastia aged 11 to 18 years. Patients were randomized to a daily regimen of either ARIMIDEX 1 mg or placebo. After 6 months of treatment there was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of patients who experienced a ≥ 50% reduction in gynecomastia (primary efficacy analysis). Secondary efficacy analyses (absolute change in breast volume, the percentage of patients who had any reduction in the calculated volume of gynecomastia, breast pain resolution) were consistent with the primary efficacy analysis. Serum estradiol concentrations at Month 6 of treatment were reduced by 15.4% in the ARIMIDEX group and 4.5% in the placebo group.

Adverse reactions that were assessed as treatment-related by the investigators occurred in 16.3% of the ARIMIDEX-treated patients and 8.1% of the placebo-treated patients with the most frequent being acne (7% ARIMIDEX and 2.7% placebo) and headache (7% ARIMIDEX and 0% placebo); all other adverse reactions showed small differences between treatment groups. One patient treated with ARIMIDEX discontinued the trial because of testicular enlargement. The mean baseline-subtracted change in testicular volume after 6 months of treatment was + 6.6 ± 7.9 cm³ in the ARIMIDEX-treated patients and + 5.2 ± 8.0 cm³ in the placebo group.

McCune-Albright Syndrome Study

A multi-center, single-arm, open-label study was conducted in 28 girls with McCune-Albright Syndrome and progressive precocious puberty aged 2 to < 10 years. All patients received a 1 mg daily dose of ARIMIDEX. The trial duration was 12 months. Patients were enrolled on the basis of a diagnosis of typical (27/28) or atypical (1/27) McCune-Albright Syndrome, precocious puberty, history of vaginal bleeding, and/or advanced bone age. Patients' baseline characteristics included the following: a mean chronological age of 5.9 ± 2.0 years, a mean bone age of 8.6 ± 2.6 years, a mean growth rate of 7.9 ± 2.9 cm/year and a mean Tanner stage for breast of 2.7 ± 0.81. Compared to pre-treatment data there were no on-treatment statistically significant reductions in the frequency of vaginal bleeding days, or in the rate of increase of bone age (defined as a ratio between the change in bone age over the change of chronological age). There were no clinically significant changes in Tanner staging, mean ovarian volume, mean uterine volume and mean predicted adult height. A small but statistically significant reduction of growth rate from 7.9 ± 2.9 cm/year to 6.5 ± 2.8 cm/year was observed but the absence of a control group precludes attribution of this effect to treatment or to other confounding factors such as variations in endogenous estrogen levels commonly seen in McCune-Albright Syndrome patients.

Five patients (18%) experienced adverse reactions that were considered possibly related to ARIMIDEX. These were nausea, acne, pain in an extremity, increased alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase, and allergic dermatitis.

Pharmacokinetics in Pediatric Patients

Following 1 mg once daily multiple administration in pediatric patients, the mean time to reach the maximum anastrozole concentration was 1 hr. The mean (range) disposition parameters of anastrozole in pediatric patients were described by a CL/F of 1.54 L/h (0.77-4.53 L/h) and V/F of 98.4 L (50.7-330.0 L). The terminal elimination half-life was 46.8 h, which was similar to that observed in postmenopausal women treated with anastrozole for breast cancer. Based on a population pharmacokinetic analysis, the pharmacokinetics of anastrozole was similar in boys with pubertal gynecomastia and girls with McCune-Albright Syndrome.

Geriatric Use

In studies 0030 and 0027, about 50% of patients were 65 or older. Patients ≥ 65 years of age had moderately better tumor response and time to tumor progression than patients < 65 years of age regardless of randomized treatment. In studies 0004 and 0005, 50% of patients were 65 or older. Response rates and time to progression were similar for the over 65 and younger patients.

In the ATAC study, 45% of patients were 65 years of age or older. The efficacy of ARIMIDEX compared to tamoxifen in patients who were 65 years or older (N=1413 for ARIMIDEX and N=1410 for tamoxifen, the hazard ratio for disease-free survival was 0.93 [95% CI: 0.80, 1.08]) was less than efficacy observed in patients who were less than 65 years of age (N=1712 for ARIMIDEX and N=1706 for tamoxifen, the hazard ratio for disease-free survival was 0.79 [95% CI: 0.67, 0.94]).

The pharmacokinetics of anastrozole are not affected by age.

Renal Impairment

Since only about 10% of anastrozole is excreted unchanged in the urine, the renal impairment does not influence the total body clearance. Dosage adjustment in patients with renal impairment is not necessary [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Hepatic Impairment

The plasma anastrozole concentrations in the subjects with hepatic cirrhosis were within the range of concentrations seen in normal subjects across all clinical trials. Therefore, dosage adjustment is also not necessary in patients with stable hepatic cirrhosis. ARIMIDEX has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/17/2017


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