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Arimidex (Anastrozole) - Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

 
 



ADVERSE REACTIONS

Serious adverse reactions with ARIMIDEX occurring in less than 1 in 10,000 patients, are: 1) skin reactions such as lesions, ulcers, or blisters; 2) allergic reactions with swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat. This may cause difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing; and 3) changes in blood tests of the liver function, including inflammation of the liver with symptoms that may include a general feeling of not being well, with or without jaundice, liver pain or liver swelling [see Adverse Reactions ].

Common adverse reactions (occurring with an incidence of ≥10%) in women taking ARIMIDEX included: hot flashes, asthenia, arthritis, pain, arthralgia, hypertension, depression, nausea and vomiting, rash, osteoporosis, fractures, back pain, insomnia, headache, bone pain, peripheral edema, increased cough, dyspnea, pharyngitis and lymphedema.

In the ATAC trial, the most common reported adverse reaction (>0.1%) leading to discontinuation of therapy for both treatment groups was hot flashes, although there were fewer patients who discontinued therapy as a result of hot flashes in the ARIMIDEX group.

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Clinical Trials Experience

Adjuvant Therapy

Adverse reaction data for adjuvant therapy are based on the ATAC trial [see Clinical Studies ]. The median duration of adjuvant treatment for safety evaluation was 59.8 months and 59.6 months for patients receiving ARIMIDEX 1 mg and tamoxifen 20 mg, respectively.

Adverse reactions occurring with an incidence of at least 5% in either treatment group during treatment or within 14 days of the end of treatment are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 — Adverse reactions occurring with an incidence of at least 5% in either treatment group during treatment, or within 14 days of the end of treatment in the ATAC trial 1
Body system and adverse reactions by
COSTART 2 preferred term 3
ARIMIDEX 1 mg
(N 4 = 3092)
Tamoxifen 20 mg
(N = 3094)

Body as a whole

Asthenia

  •  575 (19)
  •  544 (18)

Pain

  •  533 (17)
  •  485 (16)

Back pain

  •  321 (10)
  •  309 (10)

Headache

  •  314 (10)
  •  249    (8)

Abdominal pain

  •  271    (9)
  •  276    (9)

Infection

  •  285    (9)
  •  276    (9)

Accidental injury

  •  311 (10)
  •  303 (10)

Flu syndrome

  •  175    (6)
  •  195    (6)

Chest pain

  •  200    (7)
  •  150    (5)

Neoplasm

  •  162    (5)
  •  144    (5)

Cyst

  •  138    (5)
  •  162    (5)

Cardiovascular

Vasodilatation

  •  1104 (36)
  •  1264 (41)

Hypertension

  •  402 (13)
  •  349 (11)

Digestive

Nausea

  •  343 (11)
  •  335 (11)

Constipation

  •  249 (8)
  •  252 (8)

Diarrhea

  •  265    (9)
  •  216    (7)

Dyspepsia

  •  206    (7)
  •  169    (6)

Gastrointestinal disorder

  •  210    (7)
  •  158    (5)

Hemic and lymphatic

Lymphedema

  •  304 (10)
  •  341 (11)

Anemia

  •  113    (4)
  •  159    (5)

Metabolic and nutritional

Peripheral edema

  •  311 (10)
  •  343 (11)

Weight gain

  •  285    (9)
  •  274    (9)

Hypercholesterolemia

  •  278    (9)
  •  108 (3.5)

Musculoskeletal

Arthritis

  •  512 (17)
  •  445 (14)

Arthralgia

  •  467 (15)
  •  344 (11)

Osteoporosis

  •  325 (11)
  •  226    (7)

Fracture

  •  315 (10)
  •  209    (7)

Bone pain

  •  201    (7)
  •  185    (6)

Arthrosis

  •  207    (7)
  •  156    (5)

Joint Disorder

  •  184    (6)
  •  160    (5)

Myalgia

  •  179    (6)
  •  160    (5)

Nervous system

Depression

  •  413 (13)
  •  382 (12)

Insomnia

  •  309 (10)
  •  281    (9)

Dizziness

  •  236    (8)
  •  234    (8)

Anxiety

  •  195    (6)
  •  180    (6)

Paresthesia

  •  215    (7)
  •  145    (5)

Respiratory

Pharyngitis

  •  443 (14)
  •  422 (14)

Cough increased

  •  261    (8)
  •  287    (9)

Dyspnea

  •  234    (8)
  •  237    (8)

Sinusitis

  •  184    (6)
  •  159    (5)

Bronchitis

  •  167    (5)
  •  153    (5)

Skin and appendages

Rash

  •  333 (11)
  •  387 (13)

Sweating

  •  145    (5)
  •  177    (6)

Special Senses

Cataract Specified

  •  182    (6)
  •  213    (7)

Urogenital

Leukorrhea

  •  86    (3)
  •  286   (9)

Urinary tract infection

  •  244   (8)
  •  313 (10)

Breast pain

  •  251    (8)
  •  169    (6)

Breast Neoplasm

  •  164    (5)
  •  139    (5)

Vulvovaginitis

  •  194   (6)
  •  150    (5)

Vaginal Hemorrhage 5

  •  122    (4)
  •  180    (6)

Vaginitis

  •  125    (4)
  •  158    (5)

1 The combination arm was discontinued due to lack of efficacy benefit at 33 months of follow-up.
2 COSTART Coding Symbols for Thesaurus of Adverse Reaction Terms.
3 A patient may have had more than 1 adverse reaction, including more than 1 adverse reaction in the same body system.
4 N=Number of patients receiving the treatment.
5 Vaginal Hemorrhage without further diagnosis.

Certain adverse reactions and combinations of adverse reactions were prospectively specified for analysis, based on the known pharmacologic properties and side effect profiles of the two drugs (see Table 2).

Table 2 — Number of Patients with Pre-specified Adverse Reactions in ATAC Trial 1
ARIMIDEX
N=3092
(%)
Tamoxifen
N=3094
(%)
Odds-ratio 95% CI

Hot Flashes

  •   1104 (36)
  •   1264 (41)

0.80

0.73 − 0.89

Musculoskeletal Events 2

  •   1100 (36)
  •   911 (29)

1.32

1.19 − 1.47

Fatigue/Asthenia

  •   575 (19)
  •   544 (18)

1.07

0.94 − 1.22

Mood Disturbances

  •   597 (19)
  •   554 (18)

1.10

0.97 − 1.25

Nausea and Vomiting

  •   393 (13)
  •   384 (12)

1.03

0.88 − 1.19

All Fractures

  •   315 (10)
  •   209   (7)

1.57

1.30 − 1.88

Fractures of Spine, Hip, or Wrist

  •   133   (4)
  •   91   (3)

1.48

1.13 − 1.95

  •   Wrist/Colles’ fractures
  •   67   (2)
  •   50   (2)
  •   Spine fractures
  •   43   (1)
  •   22   (1)
  •   Hip fractures
  •   28   (1)
  •   26   (1)

Cataracts

  •   182   (6)
  •   213   (7)

0.85

0.69 − 1.04

Vaginal Bleeding

  •   167   (5)
  •   317 (10)

0.50

0.41 − 0.61

Ischemic Cardiovascular Disease

  •   127   (4)
  •   104   (3)

1.23

0.95 − 1.60

Vaginal Discharge

  •   109   (4)
  •   408 (13)

0.24

0.19 − 0.30

Venous Thromboembolic events

  •   87   (3)
  •   140   (5)

0.61

0.47 − 0.80

Deep Venous Thromboembolic Events

  •   48   (2)
  •   74   (2)

0.64

0.45 − 0.93

Ischemic Cerebrovascular Event

  •   62   (2)
  •   88   (3)

0.70

0.50 − 0.97

Endometrial Cancer 3

  •   4 (0.2)
  •   13 (0.6)

0.31

0.10 − 0.94

1 Patients with multiple events in the same category are counted only once in that category.
2 Refers to joint symptoms, including joint disorder, arthritis, arthrosis and arthralgia.
3 Percentages calculated based upon the numbers of patients with an intact uterus at baseline

Ischemic Cardiovascular Events

Between treatment arms in the overall population of 6186 patients, there was no statistical difference in ischemic cardiovascular events (4% ARIMIDEX vs. 3% tamoxifen). In the overall population, angina pectoris was reported in 71/3092 (2.3%) patients in the ARIMIDEX arm and 51/3094 (1.6%) patients in the tamoxifen arm; myocardial infarction was reported in 37/3092 (1.2%) patients in the ARIMIDEX arm and 34/3094 (1.1%) patients in the tamoxifen arm.

In women with pre-existing ischemic heart disease 465/6186 (7.5%), the incidence of ischemic cardiovascular events was 17% in patients on ARIMIDEX and 10% in patients on tamoxifen. In this patient population, angina pectoris was reported in 25/216 (11.6%) patients receiving ARIMIDEX and 13/249 (5.2%) patients receiving tamoxifen; myocardial infarction was reported in 2/216 (0.9%) patients receiving ARIMIDEX and 8/249 (3.2%) patients receiving tamoxifen.

Bone Mineral Density Findings

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.

Because ARIMIDEX lowers circulating estrogen levels it may cause a reduction in bone mineral density.

A post-marketing trial assessed the combined effects of ARIMIDEX and the bisphosphonate risedronate on changes from baseline in BMD and markers of bone resorption and formation in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer. All patients received calcium and vitamin D supplementation. At 12 months, small reductions in lumbar spine bone mineral density were noted in patients not receiving bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonate treatment preserved bone density in most patients at risk of fracture.

Postmenopausal women with early breast cancer scheduled to be treated with ARIMIDEX should have their bone status managed according to treatment guidelines already available for postmenopausal women at similar risk of fragility fracture.

Cholesterol

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

A post-marketing trial also evaluated any potential effects of ARIMIDEX on lipid profile. In the primary analysis population for lipids (ARIMIDEX alone), there was no clinically significant change in LDL-C from baseline to 12 months and HDL-C from baseline to 12 months.

In secondary population for lipids (ARIMIDEX+risedronate), there also was no clinically significant change in LDL-C and HDL-C from baseline to 12 months.

In both populations for lipids, there was no clinically significant difference in total cholesterol (TC) or serum triglycerides (TG) at 12 months compared with baseline.

In this trial, treatment for 12 months with ARIMIDEX alone had a neutral effect on lipid profile. Combination treatment with ARIMIDEX and risedronate also had a neutral effect on lipid profile.

The trial provides evidence that postmenopausal women with early breast cancer scheduled to be treated with ARIMIDEX should be managed using the current National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines for cardiovascular risk-based management of individual patients with LDL elevations.

Other Adverse Reactions

Patients receiving ARIMIDEX had an increase in joint disorders (including arthritis, arthrosis and arthralgia) compared with patients receiving tamoxifen. Patients receiving ARIMIDEX had an increase in the incidence of all fractures (specifically fractures of spine, hip and wrist) [315 (10%)] compared with patients receiving tamoxifen [209 (7%)].

Patients receiving ARIMIDEX had a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome [78 (2.5%)] compared with patients receiving tamoxifen [22 (0.7%)].

Vaginal bleeding occurred more frequently in the tamoxifen-treated patients versus the ARIMIDEX-treated patients 317 (10%) versus 167 (5%), respectively.

Patients receiving ARIMIDEX had a lower incidence of hot flashes, vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, endometrial cancer, venous thromboembolic events and ischemic cerebrovascular events compared with patients receiving tamoxifen.

10-year median follow-up Safety Results from the ATAC Trial

Results are consistent with the previous analyses.

Serious adverse reactions were similar between ARIMIDEX (50%) and tamoxifen (51%).

  • •Cardiovascular events were consistent with the known safety profiles of ARIMIDEX and tamoxifen.
  • •The cumulative incidences of all first fractures (both serious and non-serious, occurring either during or after treatment) was higher in the ARIMIDEX group (15%) compared to the tamoxifen group (11%). This increased first fracture rate during treatment did not continue in the post-treatment follow-up period.
  • •The cumulative incidence of new primary cancers was similar in the ARIMIDEX group (13.7%) compared to the tamoxifen group (13.9%). Consistent with the previous analyses, endometrial cancer was higher in the tamoxifen group (0.8%) compared to the ARIMIDEX group (0.2%).
  • •The overall number of deaths (during or off-trial treatment) was similar between the treatment groups. There were more deaths related to breast cancer in the tamoxifen than in the ARIMIDEX treatment group.

First-Line Therapy

Adverse reactions occurring with an incidence of at least 5% in either treatment group of trials 0030 and 0027 during or within 2 weeks of the end of treatment are shown in Table 3.

Table 3 – Adverse Reactions Occurring with an Incidence of at Least 5% in Trials 0030 and 0027
Body system
Adverse Reaction 1
Number (%) of subjects
ARIMIDEX
(N=506)
Tamoxifen
(N=511)

Whole body

Asthenia

  •   83 (16)
  •   81 (16)

Pain

  •   70 (14)
  •   73 (14)

Back pain

  •   60 (12)
  •   68 (13)

Headache

  •   47   (9)
  •   40   (8)

Abdominal pain

  •   40   (8)
  •   38   (7)

Chest pain

  •   37   (7)
  •   37   (7)

Flu syndrome

  •   35   (7)
  •   30   (6)

Pelvic pain

  •   23   (5)
  •   30   (6)

Cardiovascular

Vasodilation

  •   128 (25)
  •   106 (21)

Hypertension

  •   25   (5)
  •   36   (7)

Digestive

Nausea

  •   94 (19)
  •   106 (21)

Constipation

  •   47   (9)
  •   66 (13)

Diarrhea

  •   40   (8)
  •   33   (6)

Vomiting

  •   38   (8)
  •   36   (7)

Anorexia

  •   26   (5)
  •   46   (9)

Metabolic and Nutritional

Peripheral edema

  •   51 (10)
  •   41   (8)

Musculoskeletal

Bone pain

  •   54  (11)
  •   52 (10)

Nervous

Dizziness

  •   30   (6)
  •   22   (4)

Insomnia

  •   30   (6)
  •   38   (7)

Depression

  •   23   (5)
  •   32   (6)

Hypertonia

  •   16   (3)
  •   26   (5)

Respiratory

Cough increased

  •   55 (11)
  •   52 (10)

Dyspnea

  •   51 (10)
  •   47   (9)

Pharyngitis

  •   49 (10)
  •   68 (13)

Skin and appendages

Rash

  •   38   (8)
  •   34   (8)

Urogenital

Leukorrhea

  •   9   (2)
  •   31   (6)

1 A patient may have had more than 1 adverse event.

Less frequent adverse experiences reported in patients receiving ARIMIDEX 1 mg in either Trial 0030 or Trial 0027 were similar to those reported for second-line therapy.

Based on results from second-line therapy and the established safety profile of tamoxifen, the incidences of 9 pre-specified adverse event categories potentially causally related to one or both of the therapies because of their pharmacology were statistically analyzed. No significant differences were seen between treatment groups.

Table 4 – Number of Patients with Pre-specified Adverse Reactions in Trials 0030 and 0027
Number (n) and Percentage of Patients
Adverse Reaction 1 ARIMIDEX
1 mg
(N=506)
n (%)
NOLVADEX
20 mg
(N=511)
n (%)

Depression

  •  23   (5)
  •  32   (6)

Tumor Flare

  •  15   (3)
  •  18   (4)

Thromboembolic Disease 2

  •  18   (4)
  •  33   (6)

Venous

  •  5
  •  15

Coronary and Cerebral 3

  •  13
  •  19

Gastrointestinal Disturbance

  •  170 (34)
  •  196 (38)

Hot Flushes

  •  134 (26)
  •  118 (23)

Vaginal Dryness

  •  9   (2)
  •  3   (1)

Lethargy

  •  6   (1)
  •  15   (3)

Vaginal Bleeding

  •  5   (1)
  •  11   (2)

Weight Gain

  •  11   (2)
  •  8   (2)

1 A patient may have had more than 1 adverse reaction.
2 Includes pulmonary embolus, thrombophlebitis, retinal vein thrombosis.
3 Includes myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, angina pectoris, cerebrovascular accident, cerebral ischemia and cerebral infarct.

Second-Line Therapy

ARIMIDEX was tolerated in two controlled clinical trials (i.e., Trials 0004 and 0005), with less than 3.3% of the ARIMIDEX-treated patients and 4.0% of the megestrol acetate-treated patients withdrawing due to an adverse reaction.

The principal adverse reaction more common with ARIMIDEX than megestrol acetate was diarrhea. Adverse reactions reported in greater than 5% of the patients in any of the treatment groups in these two controlled clinical trials, regardless of causality, are presented below:

Table 5 – Number (N) and Percentage of Patients with Adverse Reactions in Trials 0004 and 0005
Adverse Reaction 1 ARIMIDEX ARIMIDEX Megestrol Acetate
1 mg 10 mg 160 mg
(N=262) (N=246) (N=253)
n % n % n %

Asthenia

42

(16)

33

(13)

47

(19)

Nausea

41

(16)

48

(20)

28

(11)

Headache

34

(13)

44

(18)

24

(9)

Hot Flashes

32

(12)

29

(11)

21

(8)

Pain

28

(11)

38

(15)

29

(11)

Back Pain

28

(11)

26

(11)

19

(8)

Dyspnea

24

(9)

27

(11)

53

(21)

Vomiting

24

(9)

26

(11)

16

(6)

Cough Increased

22

(8)

18

(7)

19

(8)

Diarrhea

22

(8)

18

(7)

7

(3)

Constipation

18

(7)

18

(7)

21

(8)

Abdominal Pain

18

(7)

14

(6)

18

(7)

Anorexia

18

(7)

19

(8)

11

(4)

Bone Pain

17

(6)

26

(12)

19

(8)

Pharyngitis

16

(6)

23

(9)

15

(6)

Dizziness

16

(6)

12

(5)

15

(6)

Rash

15

(6)

15

(6)

19

(8)

Dry Mouth

15

(6)

11

(4)

13

(5)

Peripheral Edema

14

(5)

21

(9)

28

(11)

Pelvic Pain

14

(5)

17

(7)

13

(5)

Depression

14

(5)

6

(2)

5

(2)

Chest Pain

13

(5)

18

(7)

13

(5)

Paresthesia

12

(5)

15

(6)

9

(4)

Vaginal Hemorrhage

6

(2)

4

(2)

13

(5)

Weight Gain

4

(2)

9

(4)

30

(12)

Sweating

4

(2)

3

(1)

16

(6)

Increased Appetite

0

(0)

1

(0)

13

(5)

1 A patient may have had more than one adverse reaction.

Other less frequent (2% to 5%) adverse reactions reported in patients receiving ARIMIDEX 1 mg in either Trial 0004 or Trial 0005 are listed below. These adverse experiences are listed by body system and are in order of decreasing frequency within each body system regardless of assessed causality.

Body as a Whole: Flu syndrome; fever; neck pain; malaise; accidental injury; infection

Cardiovascular: Hypertension; thrombophlebitis

Hepatic: Gamma GT increased; SGOT increased; SGPT increased

Hematologic: Anemia; leukopenia

Metabolic and Nutritional: Alkaline phosphatase increased; weight loss

Mean serum total cholesterol levels increased by 0.5 mmol/L among patients receiving ARIMIDEX. Increases in LDL cholesterol have been shown to contribute to these changes.

Musculoskeletal: Myalgia; arthralgia; pathological fracture

Nervous: Somnolence; confusion; insomnia; anxiety; nervousness

Respiratory: Sinusitis; bronchitis; rhinitis

Skin and Appendages:  Hair thinning (alopecia); pruritus

Urogenital: Urinary tract infection; breast pain

The incidences of the following adverse reaction groups potentially causally related to one or both of the therapies because of their pharmacology, were statistically analyzed: weight gain, edema, thromboembolic disease, gastrointestinal disturbance, hot flushes, and vaginal dryness. These six groups, and the adverse reactions captured in the groups, were prospectively defined. The results are shown in the table below.

Table 6 — Number (n) and Percentage of Patients with Pre-specified Adverse Reactions in Trials 0004 and 0005
ARIMIDEX ARIMIDEX Megestrol Acetate
1 mg 10 mg 160 mg
(N=262) (N=246) (N=253)
Adverse Reaction Group n (%) n (%) n (%)

Gastrointestinal Disturbance

77

(29)

81

(33)

54

(21)

Hot Flushes

33

(13)

29

(12)

35

(14)

Edema

19

(7)

28

(11)

35

(14)

Thromboembolic Disease

9

(3)

4

(2)

12

(5)

Vaginal Dryness

5

(2)

3

(1)

2

(1)

Weight Gain

4

(2)

10

(4)

30

(12)

Post-Marketing Experience

These adverse reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size. Therefore, it is not always possible to estimate reliably their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. The following have been reported in post-approval use of Arimidex:

  • •Hepatobiliary events including increases in alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-GT, and bilirubin; hepatitis
  • •Rash including cases of mucocutaneous disorders such as erythema multiforme and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • •Cases of allergic reactions including angioedema, urticaria and anaphylaxis [see Contraindications ] Myalgia, trigger finger and hypercalcemia (with or without an increase in parathyroid hormone)


REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ARIMIDEX SIDE EFFECTS / ADVERSE REACTIONS

Below is a sample of reports where side effects / adverse reactions may be related to Arimidex. The information is not vetted and should not be considered as verified clinical evidence.

Possible Arimidex side effects / adverse reactions in 52 year old female

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from Australia on 2011-10-03

Patient: 52 year old female

Reactions: Breast Cancer, Hepatic Failure

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):
Arimidex



Possible Arimidex side effects / adverse reactions in 88 year old female

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from Australia on 2011-10-03

Patient: 88 year old female

Reactions: Pneumonia, Neoplasm Malignant

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):
Arimidex



Possible Arimidex side effects / adverse reactions in 59 year old female

Reported by a consumer/non-health professional from Australia on 2011-10-03

Patient: 59 year old female

Reactions: Neoplasm Malignant

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):
Arimidex



See index of all Arimidex side effect reports >>

Drug label data at the top of this Page last updated: 2014-05-02

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