Pain Makes Some End Breast Cancer Drug
Joint and Bone Pain Forces Some Women to Stop Taking Aromatase Inhibitors
WebMD News Archive
Aromatase Inhibitors Still Drugs of Choice
Julie R. Gralow, MD, an associate professor of medical oncology at the
University of Washington School of Medicine and moderator of a press briefing
on the findings, says that at least for now, the findings should not deter
doctors from recommending aromatase inhibitors.
"Tamoxifen is a good drug, but it also has side effects, and the
aromatase inhibitors have consistently been shown to improve survival compared
with tamoxifen alone," she tells WebMD.
Eric Winer, MD, a breast cancer specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center
in Boston, advises women who want to stop taking their pills due to aches and
pains to immediately contact their doctor.
"We may be able to manage the pain with lifestyle changes or medication
such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," he tells WebMD.
Diane Young, MD, vice president of global medical affairs at Novartis
Pharmaceuticals, maker of Femara, says that studies in tens of thousands of
women taking Femara or other aromatase inhibitors have shown a lower risk of
musculoskeletal complications than in this study.
"This is an excellent study and we definitely support research to try to
better characterize side effects. But we can't say the drop-out rates are
increasing as the numbers here are relatively small and follow-up is not that
long," she tells WebMD.
Susan Snodgrass, MD, RPh, medical director of Pfizer Global Oncology, which
makes Aromasin, says, "Side effects relative to musculoskeletal pain with
aromatase therapy are a class effect, and have been well established.
"As evident through its sponsorship of this study, Pfizer is committed
to patient safety and fully supports continued research regarding the side
effects of Aromasin and all breast cancer treatments," she tells WebMD.
In addition to Pfizer, the National Institutes of Health, and Novartis
provided funding for the study.