How Does Arimidex Work?Arimidex is part of a group of medications called aromatase inhibitors. Aromatase is an enzyme found in various places in the body. These enzymes help produce estrogens (particularly, a certain estrogen called estradiol). In postmenopausal women, most of the estrogen in the body is made by aromatase enzymes. By blocking these enzymes, Arimidex helps to decrease the amount of estrogen in the body.
Many breast cancers are sensitive to the estrogen hormone, meaning that the tumor grows with the help of estrogen. When a tumor is sensitive to estrogen, it has receptors on the outer surface of its cells. Estrogen fits into these receptors like a key opening a lock. When this connection is made, the cancer grows. Breast cancers that have estrogen (and/or progesterone) receptors are known as hormone receptor-positive tumors.
By decreasing estrogen production, Arimidex can help decrease the growth of these breast cancers.
Arimidex Uses in Children, Adolescents, and MenArimidex is not approved to treat breast cancer in children, adolescents, or men (see Male Breast Cancer). Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using Arimidex in children or adolescents.
Off-Label Arimidex UsesOn occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Arimidex for something other than the condition listed in this article. At this time, off-label Arimidex uses include:
- Breast cancer treatment in premenopausal women
- Treating excess estrogen in men
- Inducing ovulation in women as part of infertility treatment.