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Monday, July 28, 2008 Betsy Greer, Community Member, asks

Q: Is Arimidex associated with hair loss?

My identical twin was diagnosted with breast cancer and underwent a masectomy. After she completed her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, her hair grew back and looked normal. But since then she has taken Arimidex and Alopecia and she is experiencing significant hair loss. It is important to note that we still look very much alike except for the fact that her hair is now very thin whereas mine is still quite thick and full. Hair loss is not listed as an Arimidax side affect.  

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Answers (36)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/28/08 2:01pm

Hi Betsy - Alopecia is the scientific term for hair loss; they must have told her she has alopecia. And you're right, it isn't listed as a side effect of Arimidex, nor have I ever heard of any Arimidex takers having hair loss. Not to say it couldn't happen to your sister, because we all have our very own "special" side effects with whatever treatment we undergo! Maybe it's an unusual, late side effect of the chemo? Because usually, after chemo, your hair grows in very different - grayer, thinner, curly if it was straight, etc. Maybe since hers grew back exactly the same, it's a delayed reaction? Sorry I can't be more help - PJH

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SH, Community Member
7/14/09 3:52pm

I have had hair loss too, from Arimidex. After my chemo and radiation for breast cancer, my hair started growing in curly and thick like it always had been. Then after about 6-8 months it started thinning, but only on the top like male pattern baldness. I want to know if more will fall out, or if hair will grow back in once I am off Arimidex.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/14/09 6:45pm

Arimidex is still so new, no one knows the answer to that question for sure. We're pretty much giong through an experiment right now. Hopefully, your hair will slow its thinning, and then get thicker once you're done with the Arimidex; but only time will tell. PJH

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Linda S, Community Member
3/21/10 11:24am

I am experiencing the exact same thing. I have been on Arimidex for 1 year, my hair seemed to be growing in but now it is very apparent that the sides and back are growing in but the top is VERY thin! Just like male pattern baldness.

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AudJayKay, Community Member
3/27/10 12:08pm

My mother had stage one breast cancer, she was able to treat with radiation, no chemo, she is in her 5th year ,to the month of taking Arimidex and she has been complaining of hair loss and thinning within the last year or so. She has no hair on her legs or arms, she has eyebrows and eyelashes. Her doctor thought it was from the Arimidex. She will be stopping the pill at the end of March and her Doc thinks she will start growing hair again, but we are on a wait and see till her next appointment in 3 months.

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Sandra Armstrong, Community Member
6/24/10 7:13am

I've had two bouts of breast cancer, fortunately, never did chemo but did do radiation. First 5 years I took tamoxifan...went 5 years clear, then developed my second bout of breast cancer, again, only radiation. Put on Arimex...that was 3 years ago.. My hair is so think now, I think I need to buy a wig...it keeps getting bald spots and thinning all over....

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Lissa, Community Member
1/ 8/13 9:18pm

I have just found your post and am wondering how your mother's regrowth has gone? I am going through the same experience now and looking for some idea if the situation could improve when I am off of Arimidex.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/ 9/13 6:03am

Lissa, it's been three years since the post you are wondering about was posted.  You might want to click directly on the name of the person you want to write to and send an email to her directly in case she is no longer reading this thread of comments.  Many people see better hair growth after they get off Arimidex, but there is variation in how individuals react.

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Lissa, Community Member
1/ 8/13 9:19pm

I have just found your post and am wondering how your mother's regrowth has gone? I am going through the same experience now and looking for some idea if the situation could improve when I am off of Arimidex.

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mmcshane, Community Member
11/27/10 8:12pm

same thing is happening too me.  After chemo my hair started growing back.  After starting arimidex my hair started to thin.  I have hair in the back and sides but the crown is very thin- like male pattern baldness.  I always had thick hair before.  This is VERY upsetting.

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survivor in NJ, Community Member
1/30/11 1:23pm

This is exactly what happened to me. I had stage II B cancer, had surgery , chemo and radiation. Lost my hair but 5 or so months after chemo it seemed to be growing back. But now it has been 17 mos. since chemo and my hair is so fine and thin ( especially in front and top), I can't go without a wig STILL. I had fairly thick hair prior to diagnosis. I guess I had accepted the hair loss thing but thought it was temporary so this is really upsetting. I am on Arimidex and will be for 4 more years but saw nothing in the literature about hair loss side effects???

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Guera54, Community Member
5/16/12 1:14am

Hi all;

Know exactly how you feel.  I am now a almost 5 year Breast Cancer survivor yeh!!

I had beautiful thick shoulder length straight hair.  I was a Stage IIa.  Had lumpectomy with nodes removed as well.  I went on Arimidex.. have been on it almost 4 years or so...and yes.. my hair was growing back a bit wavy, then the waves starting straighening out.. then the hair loss started.  It's thin

on top, like when the men start losing their hair.  It is so upsetting to say the least.  I have an identical twin.. Thank God she is okay.. and she has such beautiful thick hair.  I think Arimidex does have a lot to do with this.

The oncologist are saying that people are now staying on Arimidex over the 5 years.  Has anyone been told this?  Please let me know.  

We are all so blessed though to be able to be talking about this.  We are survivors!  Things can be a lot worse.  It's One day at a time.. and we need to count our blessings.  Amen!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/16/12 8:36am

Hold onto that positive outlook - it's important to your continued wellbeing, in my opinion.

 

I think staying on Arimidex over 5 years is a decision doctors make on an individual basis - both the doctor, and the patient s/he's treating. There's simply not enough good data yet to determine whether continuing Arimidex after 5 years helps lower risk of recurrence and increased survival. So, it's a guessing game; a roll of the dice.

 

I'm sorry about your hair; I think mine is somewhat better since I went off Arimidex a couple of years ago, so there IS hope... PJH

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susieq855, Community Member
6/10/12 1:40am

Yes one day at a time, but alot of people I know don't understand this. I hardly have any support at all from family and it hurts so bad. My mother passed with Alzheimers on 02/14/2003, I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and it started in the lobes, not  the milk ducts. So the dr told me it's the 2nd most common form of breast cancer. It was about 9 inches around-like a mass. I had chemo to see if it would shrink it, it did not, so 10 weeks later, I had surgery and then in Nove 2006, I went to New Orleans for breast reconstruction.  They treated me wonderfully. Picked me up in a limo from the airport and was transferred in this car the whole week I was there.  A so-called "friend" was supposed to ride up from Florida to stay and help me get back on the plane, etc....she didn't show up, so I had no one, well the staff let me stay in the hospital room until I flew out to come home. Great docs! I could not have a "flap" done here in Michigan. We had no microsurgeons here to do that. The hospital and drs in NO, La....it's called the Center for Breast reconstruction.  I wear bandanas which are way more comfortable that wgs. 

 

Sue 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/10/12 5:38am

Sue, I'm so glad you had a good experience at the hospital in New Orleans. It must be a very cutting-edge place (no pun intended); back in 2006, as you say, not that many places were doing TRAM reconstructions. I hope you continue to do well... And I agree, never did like wigs; I went with a cap, or just nothing at all. Take care - PJH

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Lynda, Community Member
8/27/12 12:03am

Hi Sue,

I am responding to your imformation concerning your ordeal.  No, I am not a cancer survivor or patient, but when someone hurts, most women can feel your pain. Don't ever think you are alone in this situation, because GOD will always have your back. He sees your pain and he hear your cry. I will never be to quick to say there wasn't anyone there for me or any support. You may not know what is going on in someone elses life, so don't think they don't love you because they couldn't support you at that particular moment, but believe me they are hurting. So if you are upset with them or not speaking to them because of the situation. Find it in your heart to be a better person and let them see how strong you are in God. Take care and I will keep you in my prayer, as all the women that have suffer with this disease.

 

Lynda

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/27/12 5:35am

Lynda, thanks so much for your heartfelt words here - I know they'll be a help for any woman who reads them... thanks for taking the time to post. PJH

 

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survivor in NJ, Community Member
1/30/11 1:23pm

This is exactly what happened to me. I had stage II B cancer, had surgery , chemo and radiation. Lost my hair but 5 or so months after chemo it seemed to be growing back. But now it has been 17 mos. since chemo and my hair is so fine and thin ( especially in front and top), I can't go without a wig STILL. I had fairly thick hair prior to diagnosis. I guess I had accepted the hair loss thing but thought it was temporary so this is really upsetting. I am on Arimidex and will be for 4 more years but saw nothing in the literature about hair loss side effects???

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Donna, Community Member
9/28/11 4:43am

I have the same problem with my hair thinning on top.  My hair started growing in just as straight as it use to be but I am also taking arimdex for one year now and the last month  I have lost a lot of hair on top

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Jasm4ine, Community Member
10/11/11 7:47pm

Same here, I'm wondering if your hair was thick before.  Mine was and now it's just like baby hair and I also have the male baldness pattern.

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june birtwistle, Community Member
1/21/12 1:28pm

iv always had a fringe and now im seeing it go thin, plenty on top and at sides, and back,oh well what can one do at least i dont have cancer anymore,God willing it wont come back,

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/21/12 2:37pm

Yes, June - I'm with you! Although hair loss is a real pain, at least the Arimidex is helping us stay cancer-free, huh? Still, there might be something you can do - check out our post on Arimidex and hair loss for more information. Take care- PJH

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Cat B;lue, Community Member
11/27/10 8:36pm

I was diagnosed with mid stage breast cancer in 2008.  After chemo my hair grew in thick and strong, but after being on Arimidex for two years I have noticed my hair thinning on top.  I have done research on the side effects of Arimidex and a common side effect is hair thinning.  I am wondering if anyone here has been off the drug for a while and if their hair started to grow back.  While I'm grateful to be alive, it would be nice to keep the hair I have.  

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loretta buie, Community Member
7/ 2/11 12:52pm

i was diagonosed with stage 2 cancer 5 years ago and i will finally get off arimedx end of august.  i too have thin hair in the crown of my head.  i am anxious too see if my hair will start to fill in after i stop taking arimedex!!! so glad to know i am not the only one with this problem... i am excited of the possiblity of arimedex being the culprit of my thinning hair, after never reading that it is a possible side effect.

 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
7/ 2/11 2:26pm

I hope you see thicker, fuller hair in September!  Let us know what happens.  If you see a reversal of your hair thinning, you will encourage many other people.

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Sandy5, Community Member
1/22/12 9:28am

though my hair has thinned quite a bit all over but mostly top front (2/3 loss according to my hairdresser), my hairdresser gives me hope.  I have these fine whispy 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces... So, my hairdresser thinks that when i finish the arimidex that maybe these tiny pieces of hair (they don't ever seem to grow) will eventually get healthy enough to grow again.  I hope so.

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Sandy5, Community Member
1/22/12 9:28am

though my hair has thinned quite a bit all over but mostly top front (2/3 loss according to my hairdresser), my hairdresser gives me hope.  I have these fine whispy 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces... So, my hairdresser thinks that when i finish the arimidex that maybe these tiny pieces of hair (they don't ever seem to grow) will eventually get healthy enough to grow again.  I hope so.

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Sandy5, Community Member
1/22/12 9:28am

though my hair has thinned quite a bit all over but mostly top front (2/3 loss according to my hairdresser), my hairdresser gives me hope.  I have these fine whispy 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces... So, my hairdresser thinks that when i finish the arimidex that maybe these tiny pieces of hair (they don't ever seem to grow) will eventually get healthy enough to grow again.  I hope so.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/22/12 4:16pm

I also hope those wisps grow up and fill out when you are done with Arimidex.  Our hair is constantly responding to changes in our hormones and nutrition levels, so it seems reasonable they would.

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LisaP, Community Member
10/10/11 7:27am
My experience with arimidex is like yours. Even to the sides starting to come back in but not the top. I also experienced hair loss with Femara. The top of my hair is so thin that you can see my scalp all the time. It looks similar to my 78 year old mother but I am only 52. Reply
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/10/11 2:17pm

I'm sorry, Lisa. Ask your doctor about a form of Vitamin B called biotin - some women report that this helps... PJH

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barbara villaruz, Community Member
6/ 9/10 7:38am

I lost my hair through chemo too & grew back same as before. I switched to Arimidex about 6 months ago & my hair's texture changed & started thinning out. My eyebrows are thinning out too. I never lost my eyebrows or even thinned out while on chemo. So maybe thinning & loosing your hair is a side effect of Arimidex.

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june, Community Member
10/22/10 10:52pm

I also lost my hair after chemo and radiation I was stag three and it went into my lymph nods.It grew back like most a differant color and very curly and over time it became straight again. I was on Temoxifin for 5 years and then Femara but the Femara cased my bones to be very painfull I couldn't even open a bottol of water. So I was switched to Arimidex and that's when the hair loss begain. At first it was just alittle in the shower but know I have a brush full every time I brush it. I didn't think like a lot of women that it had any thing to do with the Arimidex because it isn't listed as a side affect. But know that I have found this sight I know I'am not alone.So I guess I have to diside weather to continue to take Arimidex for 3 more year's?? If my hair get's any thinner then I my go of the Arimidex. I will talk to my oncologist more about it. I just saw my DR But never thought the Arimidex was the cause so I see her in a few month's . I just hope I can hold out that long.

                              June

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Lori, Community Member
6/17/10 1:26pm

I just starting taking Arimidex and have noticed hair falling out during my showers. I sure wish doctors had been more clear about what I was going to face in terms of side effects with Arimidex.  

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K, Community Member
6/22/10 11:12am

I had been trouble with itchy and falling out eyebrowns after starting Arimidex. Because it is not necessary for my non-hormone fed breast cancer, I went off it for 6 weeks as a trial. Now that I'm back on it, the side effects have returned. Just had an eyebrow fall out, large follicle with it. My head hair is also thinning.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/22/10 12:42pm

Wondering why you're taking Arimidex for a non-hormone-receptive breast cancer? PJH

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K, Community Member
6/22/10 1:01pm

Told it couldn't hurt. Tested estrogen negative and very slightly receptive to progesteron.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/22/10 3:31pm

I disagree with "it couldn't hurt." Did they tell you Arimidex can send you into osteoporosis? Be sure you get a DEXA scan, and keep close track of how your bones are doing as long as you continue to take it. PJH

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K, Community Member
6/22/10 3:44pm

I already have osteoporosis for which i take actenol. I'm seriously thinking Arimidex isn't for me.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/22/10 4:01pm

Oh my gosh! Arimidex is NOT for you, if you already have osteo - at least, that's my personal, non-medical opinion. I had to take Acotnel for a year because of what Arimidex did to my previously healthy bones... PJH

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NancyInNYC, Community Member
11/ 3/10 8:24am

Wow.  I'm so glad I found this site - it makes me feel better.  I was wondering why my hair was getting even thinner.  I've been on Arimidex for 1 1/2 years now, and the front of my hair is fine, but when I take a mirror and look at the top towards the back, it's very upsetting.  I have short hair anyway, so my solution will be to have my hairdresser cut it even shorter, I guess.  But at least I can mention this to my oncologist the next time I see her.  They always ask me about specific side effects (of which I've had none) and I will definitely bring this up....as they need to know.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 3/10 10:31am

Definitely bring it up. Probably not much they can do (I use volumizing shampoo), but at least, if enough of us talk about it, they might take it more seriously as a side effect... Thanks for connecting here, Nancy. PJH

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Alice, Community Member
1/17/11 12:09pm

Hi - I am also experiencing hair loss due to the Arimidex. I spoke to the doctor about it and he said, that this is known as a side effect, but that the hair loss should stop by itself. Just hope I don't go completely bald before it stops. He said however, that there is nothing to do about it.

 

If anybody has any other information, I will be happy hear it (would think there should be something to prevent the hair loss).

 

 

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NancyInNYC, Community Member
1/17/11 3:11pm

I did speak to my oncologist and her nurse practitioner about this, and they both said "yes, some women have mentioned this, but it's a 'minor' side effect".  Hmmmm.  I felt like saying that after I've already experienced baldness from chemo, and my hair grew back, it's distressing to see it thinning, and I wouldn't call it "minor".  But, I didn't, because I really like my doctor and I didn't want it to come out sounding nasty. 

 

Anyway, they recommended B-Complex, (which also contains "biotin" - good for hair), and also to take fish oil suplements....which I've been doing for about a month.  They both said that patients have noticed an improvement in their hair, so that's encouraging.

 

Also, what your doctor said is also encouraging.  I guess I'd rather deal with this than get cancer again, so I'll continue with the Arimidex until I'm done with the 5 years.

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Alice, Community Member
1/17/11 3:28pm

Thank you Nancy - I agree - it's better than to have to do the kemo etc. However, it's quite frustrating when you are almost afraid to wash your hair and see all that is coming out. I am actually taking the Biotin and the B-complex (recommended by my hair stylist), but maybe I also need the fish oil supplements. I believe that I am supposed to take the Arimidex for the rest of my life though.

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Lucia, Community Member
1/21/11 6:32pm

Hi Alice,

I too have to take Arimidex for the rest of my life also, and like you hate to wash my hair and watch it come out in clumps and the rest of the day shedding on everything I put on.

I have asked my oncologists office and they said nothing will help although someone on this page said their doctor said it will stop on its own, but when and how long are the questions.  We are all different but I would just like a straight answer from a reliable source what to expect (only on Arimidex 4 months).  Can't seem to get a simple answer.

I am taking the Biotin and I guess I will get a B-Complex and fish oil pill also.  My niece is my hair dresser and she suggests the vitamins and see what happens.  I guess it can't hurt.

 

Lucia

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Alice, Community Member
1/24/11 8:44am

Hi Lucy,

 

I would really like a atraight answer as well, but that seems to be impossible to get, so I guess, that they simply just don't know. It was my doctor, that said it would stop by itself, but gave no time frame. I am going to see him again in March and I will bring him the e-mail I received about the Spironolactone since it seems to make sense, that when the Arimidex is supressing the Estrogen the Tetosterone get stronger - and the Spironolactone is helping to supress the Tetosterone which is the male hormone making you lose the hair (that is my understanding).

 

I am using Nioxin and I think I will also try the fish oil pills together with the B-Complex and the Biotin.

 

I wish they would do some more research into this since apparently it is affecting a lot of people.

 

Alice

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jane, Community Member
2/ 7/11 10:57pm

Hi,

i've been on arimidex for about 6 months and in the last 4 -6 weeks have been noticing hair loss causing my once quite thick hair to be obviously getting thinner. My scalp is actually quite tender on the top and crown of my head.

What is the email you are speaking of  regarding Spironactone. I guess I'll try the fish oil, B-Complex and biotin as well.

 

jane

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Alice, Community Member
2/ 9/11 4:10pm

Hi Jane,

 

I actually did ask my doctor about the Spironactone and he did give me a prescription for a low dose. However, I went home and did some research on it, and it seems to have terrible side effects, so I think I will reconsider. Maybe there is something natural that can balance the hormones.

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jane, Community Member
2/11/11 3:53am

thanks for your information Alice, i think i will steer clear of it as well

 

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Sandy5, Community Member
1/22/12 9:48am

Alice...

I too have lots of hairloss (top front is the worst but it is all over too).  I remember my doctor advising me to only take a daily vitamin (not any  vitiamin supplements) and the U.S. government handbook they gave out at the beginning of my chemo advised NOT to take vitamin supplements as they promote cell growth and we don't want to promote cell growth of cancer cells...  So, though I've been on Arimidex for 3 years and 1 month, my hairloss didn't happen until  a year or so after beginning Arimidex, I am just trying to deal with the hairloss (some days i can handle it other days i absolutely hate the way it makes me look).  Also, did your doc say you'd be on Arimidex for life?  I've never heard that (not that i'm an expert by any means) but i don't believe there are any studies to support being on it for life.  I hope your hair (and all of us with the hairloss) grows our hair back.  Wishing you all the best in your recovery. Smile

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Boshy, Community Member
1/12/13 12:58am

Hi Lucia

 

Has your hair become thicker after taking the biotin, b complex and fish oi?

I am experiencing hair loss and wondered if the supplements helped.

 

thanks :)

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/12/13 6:37am

Boshy, it can't hurt. Just remember, though, you always want to mention to your oncologist any supplements you take while still under treatment, OK? And once you stop the Arimidex, your hair loss should ease, too - so there's that to look forward to. Good luck - PJH

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/15/13 5:07pm

Boshy, you might want to send a personal message to Lucia by clicking on her name (in blue), and writing directly to her; this thread is quite old, and she might not be checking it anymore. Good luck with your hair! PJH

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/15/13 5:07pm

Boshy, you might want to send a personal message to Lucia by clicking on her name (in blue), and writing directly to her; this thread is quite old, and she might not be checking it anymore. Good luck with your hair! PJH

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Sandy, Community Member
3/26/11 11:41am

How much biotin and fish oil supplements did they recommend you take?  Looking for anything that will help my thin hair.

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survivor blessed, Community Member
11/20/11 8:28pm

I'm 4 years into taking arimidex.  I also have very thinning hair just on top.  I don't like it at all.  I've been taking B-complex and Fish Oil supplements faithfully for 4 years and my hair has not improved.  I wish someone who has been off of arimidex for a few years could let us know if our hair will come back someday.  

 

In the grand scheme of things, I'm thankful I'm alive and have the hair I've got.

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Alyce, Community Member
12/ 4/12 8:51pm

I finally went on line tonight because of total frustration regarding hair loss and arimidex.  I was on Arimidex for 5 years and got off this past July.  All of us who have experienced breast cancer and the various treatments are truly grateful for our lives; however, I seem to handle things better when I know what I am facing. No one, until my hairdresser, ever suggested my thin hair might be caused by arimidex.  My hairdresser, unfortunately, through the years has had countless clients who have been on arimidex and experienced the exact pattern of thinning hair.  I had extremely thick hair prior to lossing it during chemo.  It seemed to grow back fine and then when I started on arimidex it thinned more and more on the top and even though I have been off since July it is not coming back.  I hope everyone else has better luck.  In the grand scheme of things I guess it is minor but it is sure depressing some days.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/ 4/12 10:38pm

I actually found that using some good-quality hair products (conditioner especially) seems to have thickened my hair, or at least made it appear thicker. Other than that, I haven't found anything to counteract Arimidex's hair-thinning effect. And yes, I agree, someone should at least mention it before you start. It's difficult, with everything else we've been through, to take yet another blow - even a cosmetic one! PJH 

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survivor blessed, Community Member
12/ 4/12 10:29pm

Wow, I posted my comment 1 year ago.  I am now past my 5 year mark and have been off Arimidex for 1 month.  So far I have not seen any change to my hair.   I will keep you posted if I notice it starting to thicken up!  I do notice a wonderful change in how I'm feeling.  No more joint or muscle aches, more energy.  I can't believe I feel this good again.  Hang in there for those still on this drug, one day you will be feeling good again too!  Even though I'm off this drug, I now worry I don't have it to protect me anylonger, but then I put my Trust in God and a wonderful calmness comes over me.    Take care survivor friends!

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/ 4/12 10:39pm

Good to see your name here again! And I'm so glad you feel better since going off the Arimidex. Best of luck to you as you continue to heal - PJH

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Maria, Community Member
3/11/14 9:24am

I was wondering if you have any updates on your hair loss and regrowth.  I was switched to arimidex in July 2013 and by December was completely bald again.  Was switched back to tamoxifen in December, but it's now mid-March and still no regrowth.  How long after you stopped taking arimidex did you see any improvements to your hair?

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survivor blessed, Community Member
3/14/14 11:18am

Hi Maria,

I've been off Arimidex for 1 year 4 months now.  My hair has come back very slightly but not enough to make any huge difference.  It seemed to have leveled off now and not get any better. I think this is the best it will get.  My hairdresser recommended a natural Aveda product called Invati.  It doesn't make your hair grow (like it says), but it thickens it and helps protect and save the hair that you have.  I used it for several months and noticed it was looking thicker. I then stop using it to test if it would go back to being thin again and yep, it was back to being thin.  I now try to continue to use this faithfully every day and have noticed a nice improvement.  It's expensive and I may not be able to continue to use this once I retire.   Blessings!

 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
3/14/14 5:38pm

Thank you for your regular updates on the progress with your hair.  I'm glad that you found something that has helped it look thicker.  Maybe there is a less expensive product with similar active ingredients that you could try if continuing with the Aveda product is a budget-breaker.  Stay healthy!

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EW, Community Member
12/29/11 4:31pm

I've been on Arimidex for a year now after going through chemo and radiation for 3rd stage HER2 breast cancer. I lost my hair mostly on top and now the hair that came back if finer when it used to be thick and my eyebrows are not completely back, probably because of the Arimadex.

 

I had a few tips that I thought I would share, hopefully they will help a bit. I was told that if you dye your hair you should only use hair dye with no amonia. Also, do not wash your hair with hot hot water and only blow dry on warm or cold, not hot. They told me to treat my hair very carefully because it is so delicate. I have been losing less hair, even though it's still fine, I have more of it now.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/29/11 8:37pm

Thanks for your feedback here - it's so useful to hear from others who are going through the same thing. You're right, it's good to remember that your hair is delicate now, and has to be treated with special care. I hope your hair continues to grow back... Take care - PJH

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chemomom, Community Member
11/15/10 1:17am

SurprisedI'm an ex hair model of the big hair 80's... I'm so bald even after 4.75 years of  NO CANCER . I was on the tamoxifen for 3 months and my hair was coming back in. Then after my hysterectomy I was put on arimidex... I'm now fat and BALD. On the top /back, and in front temples. I asked point blank, and was told a small rare group of Chemo patients that that happens to...I did notice that since taking the generic recently available, some new hair. Its small -thin - baby like. Undecided I think I'll ask to be on a different med. at my 5 year anniversary ... something to look forward toWink 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/15/10 3:29pm

It's all due to lack of estrogen - SEVERE lack of estrogen. Maybe you can quit the aromatase inhibitors after 5 years? I think my hair is getting a bit thicker, since I quit Arimidex 4 months ago, so there IS hope! Wink PJH

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NancyInNYC, Community Member
3/26/11 12:22pm

The last time I saw my hairdresser (a few weeks ago), she said she noticed a difference.  I'm looking and looking -and not seeing much of a difference, but if she's seeing some, I'll trust her opinion. Cool

 

I've been taking the B-complex and fish oil for about 4 months now.  I just follow the dosage on the bottles.  I take B-Complex 100, and Omega-3 Fish Oil, 1000mg.  For the fish oil it says 2 a day (at separate times, with a meal) and I sometimes forget the 2nd dose, but I always take at least 1.

 

Interesting comment about the generic for Arimidex.  As soon as I told my nurse practitioner about the hair loss, she switched me to the generic - didn't tell me, but I noticed it when I put in the prescription.  Hmmmm.....interesting.

 

Well, 3 more years, and then I'll see what happens.  It is encouraging to hear about hair coming back after finishing the stuff.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/26/11 7:46pm

Hang in there, Nancy - hope the generic does the trick to alleviate any hair loss. That would definitely be a bonus... Thanks for sharing your experience here. PJH

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cher, Community Member
2/12/12 5:25pm

5 months after I started Armidex I had a total hysterectomy because of repeated irregular cell changes in my pap smear. I started noticing my hair getting thinner 2 months later. I started with Armidex then was put on the generic brand and still losing hair. It will be 3 years in June when I started on it it, 2 more years to go. I have asked all of my Dr. and no one has an answer because they just don't know.

I am so glad I found this site!

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NancyInNYC, Community Member
2/12/12 5:34pm

I know!  It is comforting to find out you're not the only one.  I also will be starting two more years at the end of June.  Biotin, B-complex, and fish oil seem to be making my hair healthier.  Can't tell if it's any thicker, but at least it's healthier.  I'll be anxious to see what happens when I'm off the Arimidex (or Anastrazole, now - the generic one).

 

Good luck!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
2/12/12 8:35pm

Nancy and Cher, good luck to both of you. Two years after finishing Arimidex, don't know if my hair is really any better - but at least it's no worse! We're all different, so there's always hope. Take care - PJH

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Sandi, Community Member
7/19/11 1:43pm

I'm having the same problem, after being on Arimidex for three years, I noticed my hair getting thinner. I mentioned it to my doctor and he says it's not a side effect of Arimidex. However, it is listed as a side effect on the arimidex.com website under full prescribing information. I'm supposed to take Arimidex for six more months, hopefully, my hair will quit falling out after I stop taking it.

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elyseny, Community Member
8/14/11 10:43am

I have been on Arimidex for nearly 5 years.  My hair thinned out a lot when I was on chemo but grew back afterward.  Then I was put on Arimidex, it has gotten thinner and thinner, mostly in the front. I do suspect the Arimidex. Perhaps since it blocks estrogen production this actually is male pattern baldness. I will be stopping the Arimides soon and I'll find out if this is permanent.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/14/11 7:22pm

I found my hair thinned out a lot on Arimidex, too; thankfully, it was pretty thick to begin with. I hope you find some of the thickness returns once you're done with the Arimidex... PJH

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normitas, Community Member
8/20/11 10:50am

I have been taking Arimidex for 7 months and my hair is definitely thinner and very brittle. 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/20/11 3:58pm

Sorry to hear that - it happens to a lot of us, so you're definitely not alone... Here's hoping that when you're done, your hair will reverse course and start to thicken up again. Take care - PJH

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Carol, Community Member
8/21/11 1:07pm

I realize this is an old post. But I just finished my 5 yrs on Arimidex and my hair also has thinned since starting on it. I'm hoping it will soon start growing back.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/21/11 3:31pm

I hope so too, Carol. Best of luck to you - PJH

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Carol, Community Member
8/21/11 3:44pm

Thank You!

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marjorie, Community Member
2/15/12 9:48am

Yes, Arimidex is associated with hair loss and thinning.  I asked my doctor and he said yes.  Also the food & drug administration has an extensive list of side effects of taking arimidex and hair loss is one of the side effects.  Hope this helps.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
2/15/12 10:19am

Thanks, Marjorie - appreciate you connecting here. PJH

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susieq855, Community Member
6/10/12 1:28am

Hello....I do believe Arimidex causes hair loss and is a side effect. Ever since I've been on it, I am losing my hair badly. I'm trying to let it all grow out the gray that it is, due to the Arimidex. My cancer has spread to my bones in 2006. I was originally diagnosed in Oct 2004. I haven't read up on Arimidex, but all I'm seeing is comments that everyone is losing their hair. I stopped coloring my hair because evry time I did, my MRI's and Bone scans would get worse. Same thing with getting acrylic nails on! I don't do that anymore either. My eyebrows never grew back in  and it took over a year for my eyelashes to grow back. My body is aching at the present time. When cancer spreads to the bones, it's very painful, deep and throbs unless I'm controlling the pain with 80mg of Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, and also 40mg of Oxycontin as well. But the pain is getting worse. 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/10/12 5:43am

Sue, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Stage IV is so difficult, both emotionally, and physically. Do they have you on anything other than Arimidex? Oftentimes chemo is continued on a regular basis when there's metastasis to the bones, to slow its growth. I hope you're in touch with your oncologist about the pain, too; no one wants you to hurt, and they should be working to adjust your meds to provide you with as much relief as possible... Sending you positive energy and strength as you continue down this path. Take care - PJH

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Angi, Community Member
7/28/08 8:05pm

I'm wondering if maybe you meant another drug, cause as PJ  said Alopecia is the actual term for hair loss.  If she is on something else perhaps that is the culprit, because Arimidex does not have any known hair loss effects.  But also as PJ said, chemo has strange effects on your hair.  It never grows back quite the same....and this is true for just about everyone.

When I had cancer the first time I was warned by a gentleman that had had testicular cancer to let my hair grow in, then shave it all off again and when it grows back you will have hair that is more simular to your original hair.  I did this and it worked for me.  I was one of the ones who has curly hair and hoped for straight, but I wasn't lucky enough and ended up with the same curly, thick, textured hair I had before.....in fact I think my hair is thicker than before!

I would take a look at any other meds she is taking or have her consult her doctor and she way they say.

If all else fails she can always try Rogaine to grow more/thicken it up.

Best of luck to her!

Angi

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Linda, Community Member
2/28/10 7:39pm

I am new to this Arimidex also.  I told them I didn't want to know side effects, then I started having them so I read them.  I did get an insert with my pills and it definetly says hair thinning and hair loss.  Along with a bunch of other stuff.  My hair is thick and I hope I don't lose it.  I didn't have to have chemo. to lose my hair and radiation didn't take it.  So I sure hope these pills don't take it. 

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cecibee, Community Member
3/ 5/10 3:20pm

This is very interesting to me.   I've been through chemo for breast cancer and experienced the loss of my hair last year.  I have been on Arimidex since Oct 2009 but just in the last couple of months I have noticed that my scalp has been hurting, just like it did when my hair began to fall out because of the chemo.   I have also noticed the feeling of hair falling on my cheeks, I think from my eyebrows.   It's all too a familiar feeling, the same as last year when I was going through chemo.  I am not interested in losing my hair again or developing weak bones which of course is another side effect.   I'm going to call my oncologist, if I can get thru to him because his office is sometimes very busy, but I have talked to a naturopath about arimidex and she recommended a product made by Nature's Sunshine that is natural and that can help with combating the "bad" estrogens.

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Connie, Community Member
7/22/12 5:15pm

Your post was in 2010.  What product by Nature's Sunshine did you try, and did it work?  What was it, a supplement?  How is your hair now.  I've been on Arimidex for 28 days now.  I didn't know hair loss was a side effect but noticed my hair falling out starting during week 3.  My oncologist confirmed that is what is happening to me and said, "Some women have used Rogaine with success, and some haven't had success with it."  When I read about Rogaine and the side effects it indicated Rogaine can sometimes cause permanent hair loss. So I'm afraid to try that.  Cancer just keeps adding new challenges for us to overcome.  We have to reach down deep inside to find the strength to rise above each one.  I keep thinking I'm past the worst of this and then whammy!  Something else.  They have aptly named us "The Pink Warriors," because we couldn't do this if we were not warriors of the strongest kind.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/22/12 10:15pm

Connie, not only are we warriors - we're NOT cancer "survivors," we're CONQUERORS. Keep that in mind as you face one challenge after another - and deal with them all. My best advice is to treat your hair gently - no perms, no coloring, good-quality hairbrush, good hair products. Best of luck to you - I can say that since I stopped the Arimidex, my hair loss has abated... PJH

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Nanadt, Community Member
9/ 3/12 2:49pm

I started on the generic for Arimidex in July 2012.  I've already noticed some thinning on top right in the front.  I've also noticed some pimple-like places in the hair root in front.  I'm not sure if it is related, but I also color my hair every 4 weeks.  My hair has always been pretty thick and I'm afraid to think how much hair I am going to lose in the next 5 years!  I guess I will consider buying a wig.  I think I'm too vain to do anything else.

 

My breast cancer was found at stage 1 (9mm), no lymph node involvement and no chemo, just radiation.  When I see the oncologist next month, I will definitely have a discussion about this.  I saw that it was a side effect, but had hoped it wouldn't happen.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/ 3/12 3:48pm

If you're very worried about your hair, you might consider tamoxifen instead of Arimidex. While it's not quite as effective, it does't negatively affect your hair as much as Arimidex does. Ask your doctor what your risk of recurrence would be with tamoxifen, as opposed to Arimidex; if it's only a percentage point or so difference (and I'm guessing your survival rate is already up in the high 90% area), you might just be willing to take the very small chance in exchange for not losing your hair. Good luck - PJH

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AudJayKay, Community Member
3/27/10 12:12pm

My mother had stage one breast cancer, she was able to treat with radiation, no chemo, she is in her 5th year ,to the month of taking Arimidex and she has been complaining of hair loss and thinning within the last year or so. She has no hair on her legs or arms, she has eyebrows and eyelashes. Her doctor thought it was from the Arimidex. She will be stopping the pill at the end of March and her Doc thinks she will start growing hair again, but we are on a wait and see till her next appointment in 3 months.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/27/10 2:00pm

Good luck to her - I'm experiencing somewhat the same, and will be off Arimidex in June. Anxious to see if my hair situation improves! PJH

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barbara villaruz, Community Member
6/ 9/10 7:45am

I am not on any other medication except Arimidex. I never lost my eyebrows while on chemo but they are thinning now along with my hair.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/ 9/10 5:04pm

Probably the Arimidex then, Barbara - sorry to say... PJH

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by faith, Community Member
12/ 2/11 5:13pm

Hi,

I know you guys will probably think im weird, but I took Arimidex for 5 years, I did not have Chemo though, and I had hair down to my waist. full and thick. Is it possible that the chemo did this? I unfortunately will have to go back on some form of drug, I want to do Arimidex, I had NO side effects and My Dr. told me it would not make my hair come out, and it didn't, now I am confused, because I am near finished chemo now. I am grateful to GOD, 1 yr after stopping Arimidex, a small spot, on my spine, and no where else. I am fortunate. God bless all of you and keep you in his presence.

 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/ 2/11 7:39pm

Most women do not have hair loss on Arimidex, but some women do.  I'm so glad that you have been able to keep your long hair.  Most chemotherapy drugs do cause hair loss, but not all of them, so maybe the drug you are on now is one of the ones that doesn't cause hair loss.  Keep in mind that side effects for any drug will vary from person to person.  How well a drug is working is not related to the side effects a person experiences.  I hope your current treatment plan takes care of that little spot on your spine.  Thank you for writing about your experience.  I'm sure knowing that not everyone has hair loss will encourage other people.

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maplemarm, Community Member
9/29/08 9:40pm

I have been on Arimidex without prior chemotherapy for 9 months now, and my formerly thick hair is beginning to thin. A friend has had the same experience after taking it for 4 years. As a physician myself, I have learned that just because a particular side effect isn't listed in the product insert for a medication doesn't mean it can't happen to a few people taking that medication. I would like to know if the hair will grow back once we stop taking Arimidex.

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Ricki, Community Member
10/ 9/09 9:27pm

I'm the new kid on the block.  I've been taking Arimidex for almost two months.  My hair is coming back slowly...after four months of chemo...which ended on May 14th 2009.  And it is not only thinner on the top of my head...it is not the same type of hair as on the back of my head.  The top of my head is more like that of a newborn baby....way soft...downy.  My eyelashes and brows were the first to grow back...and they were thick and long.  However...since using Arimidex...both my lashes and brows...are falling out daily.  Needless to say...but I shall say it anyway....I am not a happy girl.  Actually that is not true...I am a happy girl...but not very pleased about the hair loss.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/ 9/09 10:02pm

Well, Ricki, I'm glad you're a happy girl - but I'm with you. The side effects rage on, and they ain't pretty! Hopefully your body will get used to the Arimidex, and your eyelashes and brows will come back... PJH

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Georgia Burnett, Community Member
3/ 1/10 2:04pm

You have described my hair.  I have taken Arimidex for 3 months now.  Had chemo and radi for a yr along with the drug Hercipton.  I was not happy about my hair, but at least we have hair.  I have a wonderful hairdresser that has styled my hair, of course it is rather short (as the crown seems not to grow at all) but the style is so cut.  It has made me feel better about myself and my outlook is at its best when i feel good about myself.Kiss

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Suzi, Community Member
1/ 3/09 11:22pm

Hi Betsy, I had breast cancer in 2005.  I also had surgery, chemo and radiation. I have been taking Arimidex for 3 years now and my hair is getting much thinner.  The chemo pushed me into menopause which lowers the production of estrogen from the overies.  The function of Arimidex is to stop the conversion of androstenedione to estrogen (which is the main source of estrogen for post menopausel women.)  So, although Arimidex doesn't list hair loss (and aging skin for that matter) as a side effect,  the fact is that it lowers one's estrogen to a level below that of  "normal" menopausal women, causing hair loss and any other  effects of super low estrogen. I really feel like I have aged about 15 years in the last 3 but I am happy to be alive!

Suzi

 

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mmcshane, Community Member
11/27/10 8:21pm

I am upset about my hair and skin.   I am happy to be alive and hopeful that taking this medication will help save my life.  However it is very upsetting to have very thin hair and old looking skin.  I have aged 10-15 years in the last year and a half after chemo and starting arimidex.  No one mentioned any of these side effects.  It's hard to deal with having breast cancer and then having to deal with looking like a bald old lady for years after that.  I hope my hair grows back after stopping arimidex but I have another 3 1/2 years.

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rtgann, Community Member
1/15/09 1:55pm

In 2007 I had breast cancer and was put on Arimidex after treatment.  It has been a year and my hair, well, is very thin, very fine, and I have bald spots!  I am going to see my oncologist about it next week.  Prior to all of this, I used to have very thick, very curly hair.  Now it is fine and straight like a baby's hair, and you can see the shine from the scalp.  If I can't fix this, I will soon be wearing my wigs and caps again.  This upsets me very much!  I went through all of the treatment just fine, didn't even mind being bald because I thought it would be temporary.  Now it doesn't appear to be the case.  I know it must be the arimidex.  I stopped taking it for a few weeks, and my hair started to grow back in bald spots.  But I didn't want to take a chance of reoccuring cancer so I started taking Arimidex again.  If anyone knows of a good hair thickening product, I would be interested.

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june, Community Member
10/22/10 10:06pm

I have been on Arimidex for three years after being on Temoxifin for five. But in the last year have noticed it getting thinner and falling out . I have tried several produtes and have yet to find one to help.But we are all differant and I hope you will find something to help

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LJ, Community Member
1/20/11 7:53pm

I did read about a product sold at health food stores on the net a few months ago, went in and bought some, AND IT WORKED. I finished my 2 month supply about a month ago and have started to notice my short hair looking and feeling thinner. I went to the health food store today, I forgot the name of the pill, but was sure someone could help me find this as all I did was mention it was for hair loss the last time and the salesgirl walked right up and picked up the bottle. No such luck today, only the typical stuff like bioten, etc. AS I recall, it had only 3 or 4 letters in the name that it not spell anything, like dhea but that was not it. If anyone knows, let us all know. I do remember I was on a site to find the side affects of Arimidex and someone had submitted this hint. I do not think it was this site, but I will keep looking. DANG!

LJ

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jonathantimey, Community Member
1/25/09 2:03pm

My mother had breast cancer in 2005, did chemo/radiation/surgery and is now on Arimidex. She immediately started taking Arimidex after completing chemotherapy and her hair has been growing back very slowly and different than before. It is now very fine, gray and thin. 

 

I guess I want to ask: Are there any women out there who have finished taking Arimidex, and had their hair grow back thicker and fuller?! My mother holds her head up high (although bald)- always smiling, always laughing. But you can still tell that behind her smile, she just wants her hair back. What has your experience been? Thank you in advance for sharing your stories. 

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Marie, Community Member
4/ 7/09 10:33am

I was diagnosed with breast cancer and have gone through chemo and radiation.  My oncologist put me on Arimidex and after taking it for 18 months, I am experiencing hair loss.  It was bad enough to lose my hair to chemo, but now to have to deal with this as well, when does it stop.  Hair loss/thinning, unfortunately, is a side effect of arimidex.

 

Hopefully someone out there has some answers.

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Jady, Community Member
12/21/10 12:01am

Following radiation I was put on Arimidex for 5 years.  My hair is thinning and what I have done is get a hairpiece from my hairdresser.  In fact, I am on my 2nd hairpiece.  Most everyone says they had no idea I am wearing a "piece" when I let them in on my little secret.  My hair is so thin and wispy I am getting to the point where I may need a wig before long.  I recently started taking the generic version of Arimidex and my hair seems to be thinning at a faster rate.  I realize it is not the medication, but it is the lower estrogen level that is the actual culprit.  I don't know if I will hang on for another 2 1/2 years or not.  Ask your hairdresser about a hairpiece - mine matches my dyed blondish hair and is highlighted and I feel much happier when I wear it.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/21/10 8:02am

Thanks for your input here, Jady - and here's hoping that thinning slows down and stops, so you can stay the course with your treatment. Be well - PJH

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Kris, Community Member
3/20/11 10:19am

Have been on Arimidex for 4 1/2 yrs. using the generic version since it became available late last year.  I have just recently noticed a male baldness pattern forming on the very top front of my head.  I actually have a bald spot.  My hair has always been extremely thick and coarse.  I wear it very short and my hairdresser usually has to thin it out everytime she cuts it.  Since I never experienced any of this until recently, I'm thinking that it has to be caused by the generic Rx or that I've been on it for so long that the lack of estrogen is causing it.  I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks and am seriously thinking it's time to stop taking Arimidex.  The PA told me at my last visit that I would probably be stopping it since I was almost at my five year mark.  Does anyone know if this hair loss will reverse itself if I stop taking this medication? 

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Kris, Community Member
6/26/11 7:13am

This is an update....Since posting I saw my oncologist who told me to stop the Arimidex and see what happens.  It's been almost 5 years.  She still claims she's never heard of any hair loss.  HOWEVER, my primary doctor looked this drug up in the PDR and it clearly states that alopecia is a side-effect.  I also mentioned it to my pharamacist who said that hair loss is indeed a side-effect of Arimidex.  He didn't seem the least bit surprised.  Another side-effect of Arimidex is cataracts which I now have.  I find it hard to believe that these side-effects are clearly stated in the Physican's Desk Reference but the oncologists are unaware of this. 

I've been off of the Arimidex for about 3 months now.  I am still not growing any new hair that I can see, but it seems to have stopped falling out. 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
6/26/11 7:44am

Kris, I think sometimes oncologists are so focused on the studies about how drugs work for cancer treatment that they miss the info on the side effects.  In the days when doctors had to remember all kinds of detailed treatment information that made sense.  However, in the last year, I've had more than one doctor answer my question or double check a drug interaction by pulling up the data on the computer right in the office, so it seems to me that these days your oncologist should be able to easily check out ALL of Arimidex's side effects.  I'm sorry that your oncologist has dismissed your concerns about hair loss.  At least the rest of your medical team has been able to confirm your suspicion about the connection.

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Cindy, Community Member
8/ 4/09 9:43am

I too have experienced a major change in my hair.  Once thick and curly it is now very fine, straightening and thinning.   Im just hoping that it will stop at some point soon.  I have been on Arimidex for over 1 year now and I don't think that I am at a point where my thinning has stopped. 

 

Just hoping that when I discontinue the Arimidex that my hair will thicken.  

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Tina., Community Member
9/ 1/09 1:02am

I was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. I had a mastectomy, then  chemotherapy followed by Tamoxifen for one year. Through all this, I felt very strong and positive, also my hair never fell out.

Now I have been taking Arimidex for six months and have lost aprox. half of all my hair the last six weeks. (It used to be long thick and wavy). I'm in shock. Could it be Arimidex or delayed reaction from chemo???  I know it's vain but this makes me very sad. I'm ready to quit... don't know what to do.    

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Linda, Community Member
10/10/09 12:56pm

Hi

 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 I had a mastectomy and chemo and then started to take tamoxifen for 18 months. I then changed to Arimidex I know that hair loss is not listed as a side effect but since taking this drug my hair has thinned considerably on top and I find it very distressing. I believe that too many ladies are reporting thinning hair and they can't all be wrong.  It is so sad that we have all experienced cancer and if that was not enough, we now have hair loss. If there is any consoliation I believe hair grows back to it's normal density when you stop taking Arimidex.

 

 

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Barbara Thames Ditton, Community Member
10/10/09 3:36pm

Hi. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and have been on Arimidex for 4 years now.  I have coped with the muscle pain, blurred vision and horrendous hot flushes but about a year ago I noticed ny once thick dark curly hair was thinning badly.  It is now soft very straight and rapidly disappearing - like male pattern baldness.  I'm going to contact my oncologist - going bald is just too much for me and I'd rather be on another drug. Are you sure it grows back again.  Has anyone been on this drug long enough to know for sure?

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Linda, Community Member
10/11/09 6:45am

Hi

 

I run a breast cancer support group and a friend of mine who has been taking Arimidex for 5 years has stopped taking it three months ago. Her hair looks healthier and all of the joint aches and pains she suffered have gone. But I think it will take at least six months for the real results to show in your hair. I have also asked my doctor and have looked on reputable breast cancer sites and they all state that your hair reverts back to its normal thickness after stopping the drug.

 

Linda

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Barbara Thames Ditton, Community Member
10/11/09 3:40pm

Thanks for your very helpful comments.  I am going to see what my oncologist says and I'll report back with the 'official' answer.  It'll be interesting to see if he says 'yes, they are linked' or spins me a line.  I think it'll be the former but one never knows!

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Linda, Community Member
10/12/09 10:46am

I went to see my consultant today and asked about my hair thinning she said that this was a common problem (thank goodness she did not deny it) she suggested I try another drug exemerstane to see if things improved.   Because the drugs are so good at preventing reccurrance I might just have to live with thinning har, but if it becomes unbearable and affects my quality of life then you could stop taking the drugs.  Somehow I don't think this drup is going to solve my problems as it is very similar to Arimidex.  Has anyone taken Exemestane and seen any improvements? 

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june, Community Member
10/22/10 10:16pm

Hi Linda

           so in your findings thier is still hope that my hair will be back to normal I do hope so. I have only been on Arimidex for a short time and it is getting worse by the day. I was going to cut it before i did some reseach so maybe just a trim for know

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Tina., Community Member
10/10/09 3:39pm

I stopped taking Arimidex 5 weeks ago. One week later I noticed Much less hair loss while washing it. It's now back to normal, but drier. Another problem I think is linked to Arimidex is dental problems. I had a check up in June, no cavities (at that time only six weeks on Arimidex). Three months later I had to have a root canal and a new crown done. Very! costly!

I'm not going to take any more medications. It's very personal, but to me the side effects, and who knows what other ones may pop up, are not worth it.  

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/13/09 9:59am

Actually, thinning hair is listed as a "minor" side effect for Arimidex. Since estrogen helps keep our hair from thinning, lack of estrogen, promoted by Arimidex, does the opposite - unfortunately. Hopefully, as you say, your hair will grow back to its former fullness once you quit the Arimidex. PJH

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Pamela S., Community Member
10/18/09 11:28pm

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, had mastectomy, 6 mths of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation followed by 18 months on Tamoxifen before switching to Arimidex nearly a year ago. At first, it seemed like magic - no side effects, then slowly I started to notice the hip joint pain when standing up after sitting and also started to see that my hairline on my forehead is receding and one can see the shiny scalp through my hair at the top and front of my head.  My head is itchy but only in that area.  I would say that my hairline has receded at least 1 centimetre and probably a bit more. I asked my oncologist about it and he said that it happens to some people on Arimidex. I asked if there was any treatment, and he said that the solution would be to switch back to Tamoxifen.  Now it seems I have the choice of trading off a slight survival benefit against quality of life. It's a hard choice. If only we knew conclusively that our hair would regrow when we stop taking it!  But men don't grow back the hair they lose when they go bald so how do we know if we will???? Anyway, it's good to know I'm not alone.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/19/09 4:40am

Indeed, it's a roll of the dice; and a tough decision. FYI, the literature for aromatase inhibitors says that hair loss IS reversed once you stop taking the drug. No guarantees, I'd guess - but that's what they say, anyway. Good luck - PJH

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Survivor, Community Member
2/23/10 2:58pm

I was put on Arimidex after surgery, chemo and radiation.  When my hair came back thinner, fine and curly (that part I liked) I asked my oncologist about this being the side effect of the arimidex.   I was put on tamoxifen and within 3 months discovered a new set of bangs growing under my longer thinner bangs.  I want to look into using Rogaine, I always have to carry a cap in case it's windy outside because then I am really self-concious.

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mmcshane, Community Member
11/27/10 8:30pm

I was wondering if Rogaine would help.  I can live with the muscle stiffness, bone pain and weight gain.  I can even deal with the bad skin, but the hair loss is very upsetting for me.  Has anyone used something that helped with the hair loss.  I have been using nioxin, and it does help my hair appear a little thicker.  Also a product called Full, helps it appear thicker.  I have been letting it grow longer to try to cover up my balding spots.

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Survivor, Community Member
11/29/10 1:18am

I haven't tried Rogaine yet, just hoping time will be on my side and the hair will continue to grow thicker.  I could deal with the other side effects of the medication

but hair loss is THE worst.  I will look up FULL.  Thanks for the tip.  Good luck to you, hang in there, we're getting better!!

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Survivor, Community Member
2/11/10 7:38pm

I was diagnosed in March 2008, underwent mastectomy, 16 chemo treatments and 6 weeks of radiation.  I was put on Arimidex immediately after radiation and 6 months later as I waited anxiously for my hair to come back like before I noticed it was much finer and thinner in the crown.  The upside was I now had curly hair instead of straight but seeing my scalp was depressing.  I switched to Tamoxifen but I wanted to take a break from all the chemicals being put into my body so I decided to take a couple months off medication and I noticed within the first month new hair coming in like a second set of bangs!  The texture of the new bangs feels more coarser like my original hair .  I think your original comes back after these medications.

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OHM, Community Member
2/21/10 2:45am

I was diagnosed in Feb.'07, had a lumpectomy and 6 weeks of Radiation. I've been on Arimidex for 2 years, 3 months. My once thick, curly hair has become thin, fine and getting straight. My hair has no body, my hairline has receded and I'm seeing a lot more scalp. If this keeps up, I'll cut my hair off and start wearing wigs since I still have almost 3 years to go. Although my oncologist wanted to switch me to Tamoxifen, it has a potential side effect of clotting and that's too dangerous for me. So, here I am.

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Survivor, Community Member
2/23/10 2:52pm

Thank you for taking the time to reply.  I've heard from several survivors that have passed their 5 yr mark and their hair has come back the way it used to be.  I can still see through my top and see my scalp so I use a lot of product and go for the messy look and try to cover up the obvious parts.  I hope for the best for you and believe you will be back to your old self except healthy and cancer free!

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Everlena, Community Member
3/ 3/10 9:33pm

I have been on Arimidex for 4 1/2 years.  The first year my hair grew back - now my hair is so short an like wire.  I am Africa American.  I noticed another lady had the same problem.  My hair keep falling out.  I have used Miracle Grow, Carol's Daughter, Curl Moisture. condition and a little of everything.  Thd best thing so far - WIGS.  Embarassed  The trouble with wigs - my these horrible headaches every day.  God Blessings to one and all.  EFD - White Plains, NY

 

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/ 4/10 7:40am

Everlena, I hope your Arimidex is coming to an end soon. I've been on nearly 5 years - that'll be in June, and then I'm done. Maybe you can be done soon, too? Hopefully your hair will grow back the way you like it once you stop Arimidex, and you can ditch the headache-causing wigs! Wink PJH

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Anne, Community Member
10/10/10 1:32am

PJ, I'm very interested to know the outcome of the thinning hair, now that you have had 3-4 months off Arimidex.

Anne

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/10/10 4:55pm

No change yet - but I'm patient, it's still early. And I've noticed other positive changes... PJH

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lovely12no, Community Member
3/20/10 1:59pm

Hi all.  I had 3 lumpectomies and 6 weeks of radiation in 2005-2006 and have been on arimidex for just 4 years this month.  I try very hard to ignore the obvious side effects which as everyone has noted includes joint pain, blurred vision, dry skin, dying libido, hot flashes and sadly hair loss.  My hair has progressively thinned out, and as others, the scalp in areas is becoming noticeable.  I have incorporated biotin (I saw it recommended on-line as a helpful hair vitamin) into my daily dose of vitamins and have has yet not seen any significant improvement.  I was told to drink a glass of fresh carrot juice daily which I have not done....but sounds healthy ;o).  Good luck to all of us who must take this harsh med with unverifiable side effects.  Where else can our faith be placed at this point in medical history?  If carrot juice helps with the hair loss I'll be back to share.  God bless all!!!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/20/10 10:26pm

Carrot juice - I hadn't heard that one. Wish I like carrots, I'm not sure I could stomach that. My hair has thinnned, but not too badly - and I'm done with Arimidex in a few months, so soon I'll be able to report back here as to whether your hair comes back once you go off it - let's hope so! Good luck - PJH

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Lou Nell, Community Member
4/22/10 10:26pm

I had radiation, but no chemo, in 2005.  Was put on Arimidex, and one of the side effects listed was hair thinning.  I certainly have that now!  I asked when I was last seen, if hair would grow back after I stop the medication, and was told "probably not".  I'm due to stop it in July, so I can just hope for the best.  However....I feel like the Arimidex has saved my life, and I see hair loss as a small price to pay. 

    I tried a generic Rogaine, and it didn't work.  :(

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
4/23/10 5:34am

Lou, I'm going off Arimidex in June - I'm hoping my hair will regain its thickness, too. No one can predict for any of us, with certainty, whether or not this will happen; so let's just hope for the best! PJH

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Becca, Community Member
5/20/10 8:25am

Yes it can and does cause hair loss in a very small percentage of the population.  I am one of them - femara does the same.  I pulled literature which now says it affects less than 1% on one of the drugs and less than 5% on the other.

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Becca, Community Member
5/20/10 8:26am

Yes - I am a survivor and was put on the drugs for a short period.  It does cause hair loss in a very small percentage of the population.  Pull the literature - I was on Arimidex and Femara - one says less than 1% of the population and the other says less than 5%.

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Melinda, Community Member
10/22/10 1:58pm

It's not a small percentage - it's almost everybody after being on it for a couple of years.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/23/10 7:35am

Keep in mind, askapatient.com isn't a source where you'd view data gathered by reseaarchers or even by drug companies; it's patient-generated opinions. And, while valuable, they can't tell the entire story. Bottom line, yes, some women - many women - do experience Arimidex-associated hair loss. What should we do with that information? Anger is self-defeating; take that energy and start a grassroots campaign to educate women to this potential side effect, because I'd be quite sure Astra Zeneca wouldn't withdraw Arimidex from the market due to a single non-fatal side effect - so there's no use heading in that direction, right?

 

On the other hand, if you just need to vent your anger - this is the perfect place to do it. Thanks for connecting - PJH

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LaneRena, Community Member
6/29/10 1:21pm

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer May 29, 2008.  I was very Blessed as it was discovered when I was in the hospital for something else so it was very early!!  Thank God no lymph node involvement; it was 3mm.  I went through 2 lumpectomies a month apart then 33 radiation treatments.  I started the Arimedex in October 2008.  Of course I had some of the mentioned side effects but 2 things bothered me because I did not see them mention in lists of side effects.  One is jaw pain on both sides & every time I comb my hair, there is always hair in the comb.  My hair is kind of long & thick but it still troubles me to always see hair in the comb.  All my sisters I am going to keep us all up in prayer that we continue to beat this disease until a cure is found!!  I Love you all in Christ!!

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Red, Community Member
10/15/10 11:50pm

How can any advisor, medical or couselor, state Arimidex does not cause hair loass when almost everyone that is taking it states it does!!!!  I started Arimidex May 17, 2010 after over 4 years of no chemo. My hair was growing back nicely until I started Arimidex.  I was done with chemo end of Nov 2006 (high dose chemo inpatient).  I started tamoxifen after radiation on Feb 1, 2007.  Had to stop tamoxifen because it was causing precancerous cells in my uterus.  I was off tamoxifen end of Sep 2007.  Did not take anything and was feeling GREAT my hair looked great and was growing great.  After the first week of Arimidex my hair was falling out in clumps in the shower when shampooing and also when combing.  I started getting severe tightness in my chest at the base of my bra in the middle of my chest.  I experience extreme dryness in my eyes which caused blurred vision and sex was extremely painful.  I emailed my oncologist and he had me stop Arimidex.  I stopped Sep 1, 2010.  Since then I do not have the falling out hair clumps nor the chest pains.  The dryness is going away slowly but my vision is back to normal.  My hair well it's not falling out but the 3 months of taking Arimidex did major damage - lost more than half my hair, my hair is extremely dry like straw.  I am hoping it grows back but at this point I am definitely worried.  I don't believe anyone that says Arimidex does not cause hair loss.  I believe the FDA better look better at these sides affects!!!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/16/10 7:21am

I'm so sorry for all the damage Arimidex caused you. Thankfully, despite the posts you may read here, data suggests this reaction is rare. Some women experience a bit of hair thinning; some exprience hair loss and other symptoms, like you did; but many don't have any hair loss at all. And some women don't have any side effects, though it seems many experience some stiffness and joint pain. I hope, as time goes by, your hair grows back and your dry eyes improve. Best of luck to you - PJH

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Melinda, Community Member
10/22/10 1:56pm

I disagree.  EVERYONE I know who is on Arimidex has experienced hair loss.  I have experienced a serious hair loss in the crown of my head, and after taking Arimidex for two and a half years, I am planning to quit in a few months.  The mental issues (concentration, memory) caused by Arimidex are so severe that I'm in a danger of loosing my job.

 

You can read more comments about Arimidex here:

 

 http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=20541&name=ARIMIDEX

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/22/10 3:10pm

I'm sorry you're having memory issues, too. I've experienced the same; it's a result of estrogen loss, partially due to Arimidex, partially to menopause, partially to age. I know many women have many difficult side effects with Arimidex; and I know many women don't. You might want to ask if tamoxifen is an option - while not as effective as Arimidex, it doesn't come with quite so many common, tough side effects. PJH

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rkb, Community Member
11/24/10 11:32pm

PJH

You are now off the aridimex now. How are things working out? Do you see any changes?

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/25/10 5:55am

Yes, I feel better in general; less bone/joint pain. And I MIGHT be seeing a return of some thickness in my hair, though I've also changed my hairstyle so it's kind of hard to tell. It's been 5 months since I finished Arimidex, and I expect I'll just keep feeling better little by little.... PJH

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mmcshane, Community Member
11/27/10 8:43pm

to pjh- I guess you are not a breast cancer survivor.  The answer I get when I tell people who are not cancer survivors about these side effects it that " gee at least your alive".  This seems to be your attitude.  I think we are all happy and feel blessed to be alive.  However all of these side effects are very distressing.  They affect the quality of your life.  Since starting arimidex I have had bone and muscle pain/stiffness, blurred vision, vaginal dryness, hair loss and thinning, weight gain and bone loss.  I have talked to other friends with breast cancer and most of them have at least some of these side effects.  I think the drug company does not know how frequent these side effect are. I could switch to tamoxifen but it is not as effective and carries it's own set of side effects.  Please don't minimize the peoblems that these side effects cause in our lives.  The way it affects our self esteem.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/27/10 9:50pm

Hi - I'm sorry you've misunderstood my attitude as minimizing the problems you're having. In fact, I'm a 9-year survivor who went through four surgeries, chemo, radiation, and a neutropenic infection during chemo that nearly killed me. Since then, I've been through menopause and ALL its symptoms, weight gain, hair thinning, and bone and joint pain; and still experience burning eyes, sleeplessness, chemo-brain that's severely impacted my work life, and, just to wrap things up in a tidy package, itching that wakes me up nearly every night. So - it hasn't been an easy ride. But through meditation, Reiki, and other mind-body modalities, plus a genetic predilection to happiness inherited from my father, I have to say yes - I'm happy. Happy to be alive, and just... happy. I work hard every day to choose my attitude to whatever happens; I try to see the good in things, and when I experience down times, I validate my feelings - they're real, I'm entitled to them - then try to let them go. One thing I have to say is, cancer has never affected my self-esteem. It's taught me how strong I am; and allowed me to feel love and caring from many diffeeent people. Would I choose to have cancer again? Yes, I would.

 

But that's me. We all have our own experience with this disease. I hope your side effects eventually diminish, and you're able to heal and go on with your life - your new life. Best wishes- PJH

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Sandy5, Community Member
12/ 5/10 10:30pm

Hair loss is listed as a side effect on the prescription info provided by the pharmacy.. Also nih.gov lists it as well.   My hair started to grow back in after chemo right at the same time i started Arimidex.  My hair came grew back similar to what I had prior to treatment (fine textured hair but lots of volume).   I've been on Arimidex for 2 years.  About 3 months ago I began losing lots of hair all over my head but more proiminently on the top front.  The volume of loss has slowed in the past few weeks.  I was very much ok with my bald head during treatment; but, this hair loss worries me as I am hoping it is not permanent.

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TS, Community Member
12/25/10 3:18pm

I have been on Arimidex for 3 years and have noticed hair loss over the past 6 months.  Thinning on top like male baldness.  Encouraging to note that others are experiencing the same.  let's hope we get our healthy, thick hair back when we're done with Arimidex.  TS

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Sunday, Community Member
1/16/11 4:01pm

I took Arimidex for 4 months and could not tolerate the muscle and bone pain, so I stopped.  It has only been 2 months since I stopped.  So far I have not seen any improvement to my thinning hair.  In fact I think it might still be falling.  I used to have very thick hair.  Now I am using Toppik to fill in the thin spaces on my scalp.

 

In 2005 after chemo and radiation my hair came back very full and wavy, very much like my original hair.

 

I was diagnosed again in 2009 and had to go through chemo once again.  This time my hair came back soft and downy, but I had full coverage.  So I liked it and I even had many compliments.  Until I took Arimidex and my hair started thinning.

 

I'll let you know how it goes.  It's only been 2 months since I stopped.

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JO, Community Member
8/23/11 8:56pm

are you taking anything else since you stopped the arimidex? my dr took me off of it for 6 weeks because i was getting RA symptoms i was very nervous being off of it, he did said if the pain came back he was going to try Tamoxafin or femara...my blood wrok is showing signs of RA so i don't believe it was from the Arimidex...Good luck to you...Wink

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Sunday, Community Member
8/24/11 3:19am

Hi Jo,

 

No, I am not taking anything.  My onc suggested tamoxifen, but I declined.  My cancer the second time around was barely er/pr positive.  He then agreed with me and said it probably would not have made a difference. 

 

You take care as well!

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Alice, Community Member
1/17/11 3:43pm

Has anybody heard of treating the hair loss with spironolactone?

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/17/11 5:15pm

Alice, before trying any OTC remedy, be sure to pass it by your oncologist, OK? PJH

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Alice, Community Member
1/18/11 8:12am

I will - thanks:) This is actually not a OTC medication but a prescription is needed, so I would have to ask the oncologist.Wink

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/18/11 10:15am

Well, hope it works for you - too bad we don't take Arimidex during chemo - maybe we wouldn't lose our hair!! PJH

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Alice, Community Member
1/18/11 10:29am

That is a thought - I never did get the chemo though - just a lumpektomy and radiaton. However, they found out, that the cancer spread to the bones, but the cancer markers have been dropping with the Arimidex.

 

The doctor called me back and said, he has never heard of taking spironolactone for hair loss. The only thing he could recommend was Rogaine which is OTC.

 

Regards,
Alice

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/18/11 10:50am

Did he think it would be OK to try it, even if he hadn't heard of it? Or did he recommend against it?

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rtgann, Community Member
1/20/11 10:36pm

As a matter of fact, I asked this very question to my doctors because when I was younger, spironolactone fixed some hormonal issues I had due to excess testosterone.  Spironolactone is a testosterone suppressor, much like Arimidex is an estrogen suppressor.  My endocrinologist told me there shouldn't be harmful effects by suppressing both estrogen and testosterone.  But the bottom line was that she didn't think spirinolactone would help the hair loss.  My hair was growing back well after chemo while on Tamoxifen.  It wasn't until I took Arimidex that I started going bald.  I've been on it 3.5 years.  Thus, she thinks it is connected more to the Arimidex, and adding spironolactone to the mix wasn't going to help.  In fact, the more chemicals we add to the body, the bigger strain it is on us.  So my oncologist put me back on Tamoxifen and my hair seems to be starting to grow in around the receding hairline.  I wish I could see the back better but I can't.  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, I have a fun collection of wigs.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/21/11 6:17am

Hope your hair continues to come back - best of luck to you. Thanks for adding your input here. PJH

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MazR, Community Member
1/31/11 5:01pm

I am also on Arimidex, after having bi-lateral mastectomy, chemo & radiotherapy.

I have been taking Arimidex for about 12 months.  I have recently noticed my hair thinning on the front and it is quickly getting worse.  My scalp is also a little itchy.  I have checked my scalp and it doesn't appear to be dandruff or any other scalp problems.  I have always had fine hair but plenty of it. I lost all the hair on my head and body with chemo and it did all return after chemo.  I'm not particularly happy that I am loosing it again, but I won't stop the Arimidex at this time, I'd rather be bald than have the cancer return, but I would llike to find a solution to the hair loss.

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
1/31/11 5:27pm

Since the doctors don't seem to have any good advice about this issue, maybe you could ask your hairdresser? It's irritating, for sure! PJH

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retmd, Community Member
2/10/11 4:45pm

I started taking Arimidex 3 months ago and I am now experiencing hair loss similar to the  hair loss I had after having my first child, 34 years ago.

 

Five years ago, I had a mastectomy for ER positive breast cancer with no node involvement.  I didn't have radiation or chemo.  Post op, I was started on tamoxifen( Nolvadex).  Within 3 years, I had so much leg and foot pain I could barely walk.  I went off the tamoxifen and the pains went away within 2 weeks.  I was then started on  Femara, which was switched to Arimidex after 2 years because of a slightly lower cost on my health insurance. 

 

I don't know if my hair loss is related to Arimidex, but I am suspicious of the temporal association.  My hair grew back fully 34 years ago, but I'm not so sure it will now at age 64.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
2/10/11 6:45pm

I'm glad to hear the pain has abated; but sorry about your hair... Cancer treatment is tough, no dubt about it. It's a constant balancing act: lowering your risk of recurrence, vs. nasty side effects. Decisions, decisions... Best of luck to you, and I hope your hair recovers once you finish Arimidex. PJH

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Distressed, Community Member
3/29/11 12:51pm

Hello all.

 

Just to add my bit to the Arimidex scenario. I had B cancer in 2006, had chemo and radiation, was initially put on Tamoxifen for a few months, then my oncologist switched me to Arimidex because he said it was a better drug for my type of cancer. So I'm on it 3+ years now. The first 2 years went fine apart from the crippling muscle muscle contractions Arim. gives me. But my hair grew back great - softer, stronger, longer, fuller than before cancer. Then last year, 2010 in my third year of Arim. it all started thinning and fell out. I now have about 4 inches of hair, coming from 12 inches after chemo. I was like a shaggy dog shedding even when I didn't comb my hair. Totally depressing. Spoke to my oncologist about it, and he immediately suggested taking me off the Arim. so clearly he knows about the connection between the two. I think I'll ask him to put me back on Tamoxifen. Hopefully it'll grow back.

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Florida Linda, Community Member
4/ 7/11 11:12pm

I too will add my experience. DX late Aug. 2009, IIb, under 2 cm, grade III, ER+, HER2+, 1 lymph node +. Lumpectomy, chemo (finished in Feb., Herceptin through Sept.). Radiation finished in April. Started Arimidex in May (not quite a year ago). My hair had grown back well from the chemo by Sept. But not long after that I started seeing thinning on the back at the crown, and continues to get worse. It's not falling out in clumps, but definitely getting progressively thinner. I can now see my scalp on the top when looking in the mirror from the front.  I always had very thick hair.  Beauticians always said it was fun to play with because there was so much.

 

I have a couple of cute wigs but they're not an option here in Florida in the summer -- way too hot!  I hate to complain because I haven't had much of the other nasty side effects (yet), but it does make me sad that I still have more than 4 years of this before I see whether it's going to come back at all.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
4/ 8/11 5:46am

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, after everything else you've been through... And thee doesn't seem to be much solution, other than "wait and see." Hopefully, in the meantime, you'll find a hairstyle that's comfortable in the heat, and that you like. Take care- PJH

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Ontopof, Community Member
4/21/11 11:06am

Been off the Arimidex for 1 1/2 years now, after taking it for five years. Noticed hairloss in the 4th year. After growing up with very full, thick hair, I'm totally dismayed to have it still thinning (mostly on top). I don't know if this will end or I'll eventually go bald.... but no sign of cancer! I'll take being bald for being alive! But I hate this side effect! I can see the top of my head is bald in some spots toward the front. I've been taking biotin, B-12 and fish oil - hasn't seemed to help all that much... But each of us is different; better luck to all of you!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
4/21/11 12:05pm

Since hair loss is absolutely related to loss of estrogen, I'd assume the fact that you're no longer taking Arimidex will EVENTUALLY result in slightly higher estrogen levels in your body - which should result in some hair recovery. Here's hoping, anyway - for all of us! PJH

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Sweetie, Community Member
7/22/11 3:03pm

After chemotherapy, surgery and radiation for breast cancer, I began a course of Arimidex about six months ago.  My hair was slow to recover from the chemo, but most of it did return.  The odd thing, which I attribute to the Arimidex, is that my eyelashes keep falling out.  The first time it was due to the chemo, the second time seemed to coincide with beginning the Arimidex, and the third time seemed to coincide with missing a single dose of Arimidex.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
7/22/11 4:31pm

Wow, that's an odd side effect, eh? I hope it tails off soon... PJH

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KarolC, Community Member
8/ 2/11 11:44am

So, you've been off Arimidex for awhile.  Does your hair appear to be getting any thicker. Losing my hair was expected with my chemo, and when it started to grow back after my radiation I was praying just to be somewhat normal again.  Now Arimidex is making it so thin again, specifically on the top and crown of my head.  No one said it would be easy...

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/ 2/11 1:02pm

Nope, my hair doesn't seem to be coming back to what it was. True, no one said it would be easy - but that doesn't mean we can't complain about the whole darned cancer experience!! Undecided PJH

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SHIRL, Community Member
10/ 2/11 6:01pm

I have been on Arimidex for a year and a half and have thinning hair on top. My oncologist said it is like male pattern baldness. Hopefully it will stop before  a wig is necessary. I also have had hughe weight gain, exhausted all the time and a lot of bone pain. I get infusions of Aredia every six months for bone loss. I have a friend who has BC, she thinks I am crazy for taking Arimidex, but I feel I have to give muself the chance.

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Jasm4ine, Community Member
10/11/11 7:43pm

Have them check your thyroid too.  That can cause hair loss, weight gain and tire you out.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
8/ 2/11 7:30pm

One person explained the eyelash issue to me this way.  Normally we lose a few eyelashes every day, but since they come in gradually and fall out gradually, we don't notice.  When our eyelashes come back after chemo all at once, they may all reach their natural falling out time all at once.  Since I haven't had that effect, I don't know if her explanation was accurate, but it does make sense.

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Sweetie, Community Member
8/ 5/11 2:45pm

Thanks so much--that explanation makes good sense to me.  This may mean it'll keep happening until a I have a mixed population of lashes.  Sigh...

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JO, Community Member
8/23/11 11:00am

i have taken arimidex now for almost a year, i haven't had any signs of hair loss or thinning, after all treatments my hair came back alot thicker.Laughing

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
8/23/11 7:49pm

Jo, that's wonderful.  This is another example how side effects vary widely from person to person.  I'm so glad that your hair hasn't been affected.  

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Pat, Community Member
10/ 2/11 1:26pm

One month after my lumpectomy, I had a pulmonary empolish, the er doc said was probably from a combination of both the cancer and having had surgery. I experienced significant hair loss because of the warfarin (I didn't do chemo or radiation). At another health seminary a doctor commented that it is common for people who have lap band surgery to experience hair loss; and when she has such a patient, she has them take a supplement called biotin. Many supplements for hair have biotin in it. I took biotin (still do) and it has very noticably helped. It took 2-3 months to notice a difference (hair NOT falling out, new growth). Worth checking out I think!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/ 2/11 3:42pm

Pat, thank you SO much for this helpful information. Indeed, many dermatologists recommend biotin (a type of vitamin B) for both healthy hair and healthy nails. It's definitely worth a try. Hope your hair continues to thrive! PJH

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liza, Community Member
6/20/12 12:03pm

 how big dose you are taking of biotin and where to buy best,

 same problem with hair loss with taking 8 month arimidex.

thank you

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
6/20/12 12:35pm

Lisa, Pat posted about Biotin in 2011, so she may not be reading this thread anymore.  You could send her a private message by clicking on her name.  You could also ask the pharmacist about Biotin dosages.  The bottle will probably have a suggested dosage, and the pharmacist and/or your doctor could look at your other medications and make sure that it is a safe supplement for you.

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Jasm4ine, Community Member
10/11/11 2:53pm

I'm two years and five months from chemo for breast cancer.  I took arimidex for three months and felt horrible.  Stopped taking it but my hair hasn't ever grown back (have male balding pattern).  I was told I was in the 1% not to get my hair back all the way.  Was told I have Thyroid disease and have started taking meds for that now.  I am going to UCSF in December to see a specialist.  I am glad I found this site and I feel for all of us.  I will repost after I see the doctor in late December.  Since I was on then off of Arimidex then they tried Tamoxifin and I had to stop that too.  I have been off those for six months.  Originally told I was post menopause now found I wasn't but had thyroid disease which can cause hair loss too.  Thanks and bless you all.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/12/11 5:04am

Jasmine, I hope the doctors at UCSF can help you with this. Hair loss is a hard side effect to treat, unfortunately; but hopefully biotin, or thyroid medication, will help. We're glad you found this site, too; please come back and share anything you learn, if you would. You may be able to help others in the same situation. Take care - PJH

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movinon, Community Member
12/ 4/11 6:28pm

I read most of these comments and all have the same problem with thinning hair on sides and top of head. My hair slowly started growing again after CHEMO. One morning when I looked in the mirror...I was astonished how thick and full my hair had gotten. I couldn't even see my scalp. I had my cofidence back and I was standing and walking tall again. I kid you not...after taking only one of those little, tiny, potent arimidex, I noticed thinning hair loss on the sides, top and crown of my head the next morning. I could actually see my scalp. I also experienced other side effects as well. After 6 days of taking arimidex...I stopped. I don't know if that was a wise decision on my part...but losing my hair all over again was upsetting. Should anyone have any advice for me please share your thoughts with me.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/ 4/11 10:09pm

I think it would be physically impossible for Arimidex to cause hair thinning in less than 24 hours; so perhaps it was something about the way you slept? Even after 6 days, it would be unusual for side effects to be kicking in already...

 

Here's my suggestion: find out from your oncologist what your risk of recurrence is without Arimidex; and with Arimidex. Be sure to find out the absolute risk, not relative; in other words, you want to know that your risk is, say, 12% if you don't take Arimidex, and 6% if you do.

 

Once you know how much difference Arimidex might make in your recurrence, risk, you'll have the data you need to make a decision about taking it. If your risk is already low, and Arimidex makes it just a bit lower, then you might consider not taking it. If it makes a big difference, you might want to try it again. And if you really feel you can't take it, but still want some protection against recurrence, you might ask your oncologist about taking tamoxifen. Though not as effective as Arimidex, it also doesn't cause the potential hair loss or bone loss that Arimidex does.

 

Best of luck to you - PJH

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nkuehl, Community Member
9/19/14 9:39pm

I have to respectfully disagree about no side effects for six days. I have Stage IV bc and was on Tamoxifen for eight months, but my onc thought Arimidex might be a more effective med for me, so he put me on it. I have taken it now for ten days and I cannot begin to tell you how many side effects I have had (from Day 1). I only had hot flashes for a couple of days, but my hair began falling out and breaking off immediately. It honestly looks like I have been lying on a cat or dog I have so many hairs on the back of my pajamas. Every time I comb my hair large clumps come out. It is everywhere, all over my bed, my sheets, my clothes, and even on the rug. I can barely touch my hair and it comes out. I have also had dizziness (vertigo) and nausea, along with a pounding heart beat and increased heart rate. I already have pain in my spine from mets and three herniated disks, but since beginning Arimidex it has gotten worse and I now have pain in my shoulders, neck, wrists and feet. Sometimes, I feel like I cannot draw a deep breath. I had none of this on Tamoxifen, and my onc told me if this did not work for me he would put me back on it. I have an appointment on the 25th, so I will probably get back on Tamoxifen. If the side effects and hair loss is this bad within this short period of time, then I do not want to take it any longer. I have friends who have had absolutely no side effects at all and others who have had joint pain and fatigue, and there are a few who have had severe side effects (like developing heart problems, et cetera).

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/19/14 10:12pm

I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this, on top of the mets; I hope your doctor doesn't waste any time putting you back on tamoxifen, which may not be quite as effective as Arimdex, but certainly comes with a lot fewer painful side effects. We all have very different experiences with treatment, including long-term hormone therapy; best of luck as you go forward, and I hope you feel better soon. PJH

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SLOLife, Community Member
2/10/12 12:25am

I'm approaching my five-year anniversary on Arimidex and like everyone else, I have experienced fairly severe hair loss, especially on the top and front. I used to have such thick hair that my hairdresser thinned it when she cut it. Now we are doing what we can to keep the balding spots hidden.

 

She recommended biotin, which I started taking about a year ago when the loss became really noticeable. I had been taking fish oil for other reasons. The biotin may have slowed the hair loss on my head, but not noticeably. However, my eyelashes are thicker and longer than they have ever been! When I put on mascara, it almost looks like fake eyelashes. If there is such a thing as a positive side effect, I guess this would qualify, but I would much rather have my healthy, shiny, THICK hair back!

 

I am glad that several people have commented that their hair has grown back, at least somewhat, since they quite Arimidex. I'm looking forward to stopping it in May, and I can hardly wait.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
2/10/12 7:44am

Thanks for the feedback - we all learn from one another here, and I'm glad either the fish oil or biotin are helping your eyelashes, at least. Bet you're looking forward to being off the Arimidex - I can tell you from experience, it feels great to be taking nothing beyond a vitamin D pill every day, after so many years of cancer drugs... Be well - PJH

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Scrappy1, Community Member
4/17/12 11:07pm

I had a masdectomy in '05 and finished my five years last March '11. I noticed my hair falling during my third year, but did not associate it with Arimidex until I was taken off and my hair really started falling and itches like crazy.  I am glad I found this page, because I thought it was just me. I am due back for check up in June and will ask my Dr. also.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
4/18/12 7:57am

Well, I hope you find that as you get farther out from the Arimidex, your hair loss starts to lessen. I've been off it for nearly 2 years, and I think my hair has actually come back a bit. So there's always that hope! Good luck - PJH

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Kathy, Community Member
5/ 8/12 6:03pm

Dito for me also. My hair loss started about 6 months after starting Arimidex.  I have been on Arimidex for 4 and half years.  I thought only 6 months to go, but my dr thinks she will continue having me take it for another couple of years.  I have fairly severe hair loss on top and sides.  It is thin all over, but the sides and top is the worse.   The generic didn't help with the hair loss, but actually increased it.  At first the hair was growing back, although much slower and finer.  Now I don't see any new hair and each day think I should be wearing a wig.   I thought about trying Rogain.  Has anyone else and if so did it work?  

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/ 8/12 10:25pm

Kathy, I've heard Rogain works for some women, but not for all; and even those it helps, it doesn't help much. But, we all have our own experiences with treatment; it might be something you'd consider trying to see how it works out for you. Take care - PJH

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andrea, Community Member
5/ 8/12 6:39pm

Broncos fan in Denver

In 2010 found out I had stage one breast cancer I knew I was going to lose my hair with the chemo..It started growing back soon after I got off chemo...but about 11 montsh later it started thinning out....I hope it will grow back it is very stressful....

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/ 8/12 10:21pm

Andrea, if you're on hormone therapy, chances are it won't get any better until you're done with the drugs. Hopefully that'll be soon... PJH

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Sandy, Community Member
5/22/12 8:08am

I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer....chemo and radiation with folowup for 5 years of Arimidex.  Total hair loss after two chemo treatments and was hopeful that it would grow back....I am almost three years out...no recurring cancer but my HAIR IS SO THIN...It grew back but is so fine and whispy....have been reluctant to use Nioxin as I had an allergic reaction to it early on......

My only saving grace is that the color, grey, is very becoming on me and I shall keep it that way....Next week  I am trying a new hairdresser with some outstanding styling skills who can, hopefully, give me a cut that will make my hair APPEAR to be thicker.

Other than that I think I am more greatful that the cancer is gone.

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/22/12 8:45am

Sandy, after going through cancer and treatment, it's discouraging, for sure, to end up with hair that just never returns to its former self. The lack of estrogen both helps keep us recurrence-free – AND thins our hair. Best of luck with the hair stylist - I should try that sometime. My hair is "OK" - but I'd love it to appear thicker, as you say. Take care - PJH

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marjorie, Community Member
5/22/12 4:54pm

yes, hair loss is one of the side effects of arimidex.  I asked my oncologist because I was concerned and he told me it was one of the side effects, also the FDA which gives you a full list of the side effects of arimidex has hair loss listed.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/22/12 9:17pm

Thanks for adding your feedback here, Marjorie. It's unfortunate, but true - hope your hair isn't continuing to thin out... PJH

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Kimberly Gainer, Community Member
7/ 7/12 9:43am

I went thru all my treatments for breast cancer and took arimidex for

9 months until my hair became very thin.  I stopped this drug 2 months ago

and my hair is not getting better.

 

Will my hair grow back?

 

Kimberly

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Maria, Community Member
3/11/14 9:28am

Does anyone have an update of hair regrowth after stopping Arimidex?   My hair had grown back nicely after chemo.  I then started taking arimidex in July 2013 and by December was completely bald again.  I was switched back to tamoxifen in December, but it's now mid-March and still no regrowth.  For anyone who had complete hair loss, how long after you stopped taking arimidex did you see any regrowth?

 

Thanks!

 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/11/14 3:12pm

Maria, I'm so sorry you've been growing through this. Cancer's not enough - we have to cope with all the discouraging, long-term side effects from treatment, as well. I never experienced complete hair loss from Arimidex, but my hair did thin out. I've been off it for 4 years now, and my hair is MUCH better than it was. So there's always hope. I know it's hard to be patient, but hang in there. Is your oncologist able to offer any suggestions or information? PJH

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SLOLife, Community Member
3/11/14 4:35pm

I didn't have complete hair loss with Arimidex (sorry you are suffering with this), but did have quite a heavy loss, especially in front and on the crown. I've been off the medication for over two years and I would say I am 80% back to my normally thick hair. Best of luck to you, and I hope you get your nice hair back soon!

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SusieQ, Community Member
3/15/14 10:38am

I am very happy to see that 80% of your hair came back after completing five years of Arimidex.  I finish at the end of April and hope my hair returns as well.  I am not bald but you can certainly see my scalp in lots of places.  I hope if you had aches and pains, etc. that they all went away as well.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/15/14 8:18pm

And we wish you all the best too, Susie - once you're done with the Arimidex, it might help to ask your hairdresser for the most restorative conditioner s/he can recommend. I've found a really good quality conditioner helps. Good luck! PJH

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/15/14 8:18pm

And we wish you all the best too, Susie - once you're done with the Arimidex, it might help to ask your hairdresser for the most restorative conditioner s/he can recommend. I've found a really good quality conditioner helps. Good luck! PJH

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Maria, Community Member
3/17/14 12:09am

Thank you all for your replies.  It's good to hear that regrowth is likely after stopping this drug. At least now I know there's hope.  I'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime I bought myself a new wig and got the old one restyled. That helped to make me feel better.  Wishing you all the best!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/17/14 5:15am

Good for you, Maria - when you're going through cancer treatment, anything that helps you feel better is well worth it. Take care - PJH

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By Betsy Greer, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/19/14, First Published: 07/28/08