Breast Cancer Home > Arimidex Drug Class
Available only by prescription, Arimidex® (anastrozole) is approved for the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. As part of a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, Arimidex works by blocking certain enzymes, called aromatase, in the body that produce estrogen.
In postmenopausal women, most of the estrogen in the body is made by aromatase. 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. Because Arimidex helps to decrease estrogen production, it can slow down the growth of these types of breast cancer.
(For more information, click Arimidex Uses. This article offers more details on the uses of this medication, including off-label uses, and discusses whether Arimidex is approved for use in children or men.)