Femara more effective than Arimidex?

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Question from JennyP: Following chemotherapy and radiation, my doctor prescribed Arimidex. Now we are hearing more about Femara and I am wondering if that might be even more effective. My doctor feels more comfortable with Arimidex because it has been studied longer.
Answers - Sandra F. Schnall, M.D. There's probably not that much difference between the two drugs. They are both in the same category of drugs, called aromatase inhibitors. Arimidex is the original agent to be used in that category and is usually first-line therapy. Femara has usually been used after the patient has been treated with tamoxifen for 5 years.

In general, there's probably not that much difference between the two. There are some side-effect differences between Femara and Arimidex. On Arimidex, patients seem to have more difficulties with achiness and muscle pain. Both are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis. Usually the achiness would be a reason to switch agents, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend switching from one to the other.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Hormonal Therapy Updates featured Sandra Schnall, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about hormonal therapies and answered questions about which ones work best in different situations, how they might fit into your treatment sequence, how to deal with side effects, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2004.

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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