Arimidex vs. Tamoxifen

If Arimidex and tamoxifen are compared, both can be used in the treatment of breast cancer; however, they work in different ways and are approved for different uses. Arimidex, for example, is only licensed for postmenopausal women, while tamoxifen can be used in pre- and postmenopausal women as well as men. When considering Arimidex vs. tamoxifen, cost, whether generic versions are available, and study results may also be taken into account.

Arimidex Versus Tamoxifen: An Overview

Arimidex® (anastrozole) and tamoxifen (Nolvadex®, Soltamox®) 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 Tamoxifen: Uses

Since tamoxifen is a much older medication than Arimidex, it has been studied more than Arimidex has. As a result, tamoxifen 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 tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox).
     
Tamoxifen 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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