Switch from Arimidex to fix insomnia?

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Question from Silvergirl: I have been switched from Arimidex to Femara due to side effects such as joint pain and insomnia. How long does it take to determine if the new medication is effective in reducing these side effects or if there is no difference?
Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. The two medications you mention are very similar from a chemical point of view. But for each individual person you may be able to tolerate one better than the other. I would give the new medication about 2 months at least, before deciding its associated side effects are more acceptable to you. Helena, how much does anxiety about staying awake and being unable to go to sleep contribute to insomnia?
Helena Schotland Anxiety plays an enormous role, for exactly that reason. I see that in a good 40-50% of my insomnia patients. And once you start thinking in that manner, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So a lot of times I tell my patients not to put sleep on a pedestal, don't spend a lot of time chasing sleep. Sleep will happen. You're probably sleeping more than you actually think you are. For patients who have anxiety about their lack of sleep, that's where cognitive-behavioral therapy can be essential, along with sleep hygiene.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. I often get anxious about possibly oversleeping, and I handle that by setting at least 2 alarms. Relieving myself of that anxiety has been very helpful to me.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Sleep Well: Healthy Habits for Good Rest featured Helena Schotland, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about ways to improve your sleep.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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