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Arimidex vs. Nolvadex

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Arimidex and Nolvadex the Same Thing?

Arimidex (anastrozole) and Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) are used to treat breast cancer.

Arimidex is used in postmenopausal women and is often given to women whose cancer has progressed even after taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox).

Nolvadex is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancer), to treat breast cancer in certain patients after surgery and radiation therapy, and to reduce the chances of breast cancer in high-risk patients.

Arimidex and Nolvadex belong to different drug classes. Arimidex is a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor and Nolvadexis a nonsteroidal antiestrogen.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Arimidex?

Common side effects of Arimidex include:

  • stomach upset,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling),
  • constipation,
  • headache,
  • confusion,
  • memory problems,
  • loss of balance or coordination,
  • blurred vision,
  • double vision,
  • eye redness,
  • lightheadedness,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation,
  • drowsiness,
  • sleep problems (insomnia),
  • stuffy nose,
  • itching, or
  • rash, especially during the first few days as your body adjusts to this medication.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of Arimidex including:

  • fever,
  • chills,
  • flu symptoms,
  • slow heart rate,
  • feeling like you might pass out,
  • seizures (convulsions), or
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).

What Are Possible Side Effects of Nolvadex?

Common side effects of Nolvadex include:

  • hot flashes,
  • flushing,
  • changes in menstrual periods,
  • nausea,
  • leg cramps,
  • abdominal cramps,
  • bone pain,
  • muscle pain,
  • cough,
  • swelling,
  • fatigue,
  • hair thinning,
  • headache,
  • depression, and
  • loss of sexual ability/interest (in men).

Tell your doctor if you have unlikely but serious side effects of Nolvadex including:

  • vision changes (e.g., blurred vision),
  • eye pain,
  • easy bruising or bleeding,
  • mental/mood changes,
  • swelling of ankles or feet, or
  • unusual tiredness.

What is Arimidex?

Arimidex (anastrozole) is a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Arimidex is often given to women whose cancer has progressed even after taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox). Arimidex is available in generic form.

What is Nolvadex?

Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) is a nonsteroidal antiestrogen used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancer), to treat breast cancer in certain patients after surgery and radiation therapy, and to reduce the chances of breast cancer in high-risk patients.

What Drugs Interact With Arimidex?

Arimidex may interact with tamoxifen or an estrogen medication (such as hormone replacement therapy, estrogen creams, or birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings)..

What Drugs Interact With Nolvadex?

Nolvadex may interact with coumarin-type anticoagulants, anastrozole, letrozole, rifampin, aminoglutethimide, phenobarbital, rifampin, bromocriptine, SSRI antidepressants, and cimeditdine.

How Should Arimidex Be Taken?

The dose of Arimidex is one 1 mg tablet taken once a day. For patients with advanced breast cancer, the medication should be continued until tumor progression.

How Should Nolvadex Be Taken?

The recommended daily dose of Nolvadex for patients with breast cancer is 20-40 mg per day, in tablet form.

Reviewed on 6/11/2018

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