Anti-oestrogen is the common name for a class of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors. When a person takes an aromatase inhibitor, the naturally occurring enzyme aromatase cannot properly synthesise the hormone oestrogen, which decreases oestrogen levels overall. Aromatase inhibitors are most commonly prescribed to women as treatments for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Speak with your doctor. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer and you have a relationship with an oncologist, go directly to her. In all other cases, you should go to your primary-care physician. Discuss treatment options for your cancer if you've already been diagnosed; otherwise discuss your possible cancer symptoms and arrange for a cancer screening. If it is determined that you have breast or ovarian cancer, begin seeing an oncologist immediately.
Ask your oncologist about aromatase inhibitors if she does not suggest them as a treatment option. Due to potential side effects, aromatase inhibitors may not be the best treatment option for everyone, which may explain why an oncologist may not suggest their use. Specifically, anti-oestrogen can aggravate the symptoms of osteoporosis and arthritis.
Obtain a prescription for an aromatase inhibitor from your oncologist if she agrees that anti-oestrogen is an appropriate treatment for you. She may prescribe a generic inhibitor or a specific drug; there are several brand-name anti-oestrogen treatments, including Femara, Aromasin and Arimidex. You can legally purchase these drugs in the United States only with a valid prescription.
Take the prescription to any pharmacy to be filled. Bring along your health or prescription insurance information to make sure you receive any coverage assistance due to you.
Continue cancer screenings and regular check-ups with your oncologist as you take the aromatase inhibitor precisely as directed. Depending on how the tests reveal you're responding to the treatment, your oncologist may want to change your drug or dosage.
Tips and warnings
- Although anti-oestrogen treatments have also been used to treat endometriosis and certain growth disorders, these are uncommon uses of aromatase inhibitors.
- Because aromatase inhibitors suppress oestrogen production, many non-prescription supplements claiming to be natural aromatase inhibitors are marketed toward bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids. Among male steroid users, anti-oestrogen may be helpful in suppressing unwanted side effects related to increased oestrogen. Due to the legal status of anabolic steroids and their potential for abuse, aromatase inhibitors are rarely prescribed for this purpose in the United States.
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