Arimidex vs. Nolvadex

In a comparison between Arimidex and Nolvadex, both can be used to treat breast cancer; however, they are approved for different uses and have different effects. Nolvadex can be given to both pre- and postmenopausal women, while Arimidex is only approved for postmenopausal women. When comparing Arimidex vs. Nolvadex, you may want to consider cost, if generic versions are available, and study results to decide which medication is right for you.

Arimidex Versus Nolvadex: An Overview

Arimidex® (anastrozole) and Nolvadex® (tamoxifen) are prescription medications used to treat breast cancer. While both medications are considered hormone therapies (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment), they work in different ways and are not approved for exactly the same uses.

Arimidex Versus Nolvadex: Uses

Since Nolvadex is a much older medication than Arimidex, it has been studied more than Arimidex has. As a result, Nolvadex is approved for more uses than Arimidex is. Arimidex is approved only for use in postmenopausal women who have:
  • Early breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive
  • Advanced or metastatic breast cancer that is either hormone receptor-positive or the hormone receptor status is not known
  • Advanced breast cancer that has not responded to Nolvadex.
Nolvadex is approved for the following uses:
  • Treatment of metastatic breast cancer in men and women (including premenopausal women)
  • Treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have undergone breast cancer surgery or radiation
  • Treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is early cancer of the ducts of the breasts (that has not yet spread to the rest of the breast) in women who have undergone breast cancer surgery or radiation (to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer)
  • Prevention of breast cancer in women who are at high risk for the disease.
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Arimidex Medication Information

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