Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
What type of medication is Arimidex?" My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, had tissue removed from one breast, lymph node biopsy negative, irradiation of impacted breast for @7 weeks, followed by estimated 6 month course of Arimidex. She also has rheumatoid arthritis, which is very painful. Is this one of the treatment courses that may help with the arthritic pain?
Julia Draznin Maltzman, MD, Attending Physician at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:
Arimidex is a hormone given to post menopausal women for the treatment of breast cancer that expresses estrogen and progesterone receptors on its surface. Breast cancers that express these receptors are often treated with hormones as they are effective and much less toxic than chemotherapy. Hormone therapy has become more refined and tailored in the past few years and the class of hormones recommended for post-menopausal women are different from those recommended for those women still menstruating. This is due to the mechanism of action of the drug and the pathophysiology of menopause.
Arimidex is very good and effective hormone therapy for breast cancer, but I am unaware of any benefit for rheumatoid arthritis.