For most people, taking a new medication may mean switching up your lifestyle a bit and that includes the foods you eat. A food-drug interaction means that a specific nutrient or compound within the food changes the way your body metabolizes the medication, and this can either enhance or reduce the dose your body gets, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The potential results: an increased risk of side effects, many of which can be dangerous, or the drug not working as it was intended.
Before introducing a medication, ask your pharmacist about any food interactions, including with alcohol, and any adjustments you may have to make to your diet.
What is Anastrozole?
Anastrozole is the generic name for the trade name drug (Arimidex) a class of medications called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors, marketed for the treatment of early hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It is also used for first-line treatment of hormone receptor-positive or hormone receptor-unknown advanced or metastatic (cancer that has spread) breast cancer.
Anastrozole is also used to treat advanced breast cancer that has grown or spread after tamoxifen treatment. This medicine is used only in women who have already stopped menstruating (postmenopausal).
Many breast cancer tumors grow in response to estrogen. This medicine interferes with the production of estrogen in the body. As a result, the amount of estrogen that the tumor is exposed to is reduced, limiting the growth of the tumor.
How should I take anastrozole (Arimidex)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Anastrozole (Arimidex) is usually taken once per day. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully. You may take anastrozole with or without food. You may need to keep taking this medication for up to 5 years. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
What happens if I miss a dose of Anastrozole (Arimidex)?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose on Anastrozole (Arimidex)?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Foods to Avoid When Taking Anastrozole (Arimidex)
Studies have shown that the following foods increase aromatase or estrogen or reduce the effectiveness of Anastrozole (Arimidex) and should be limited or avoided during treatment with Anastrozole (Arimidex):
- Alcohol: It’s best to avoid or limit alcohol intake when using breast cancer medications like Anastrozole (Arimidex). Alcohol can raise your risk of experiencing side effects from Anastrozole (Arimidex), such as hot flashes or joint pain.
- Beef: Some studies have shown that red and processed meats may increase estrogen in the body, so limiting these foods may support estrogen regulation and enhance the effectiveness of Anastrozole (Arimidex).
- Chamomile tea: German chamomile might act like estrogen in the body. Exposure to chamomile can worsen hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, and limit the effectiveness of Anastrozole (Arimidex).
- Corn oil: The inclusion of corn oil in the diet increases the levels of cholesterol, progesterone, estradiol, and insulin. You should avoid corn oil while on Anastrozole (Arimidex).
- Grapefruit: Grapefruit & grapefruit juice should be avoided while on Anastrozole (Arimidex). Preliminary evidence from animal studies shows that grapes may have an aromatase-inhibiting effect, decreasing estrogen synthesis and increasing androgen precursors.
- Smoked meat or fish: Meats cooked at high temperatures, as are grilled, barbecued, and smoked meats, have long been associated with carcinogenic chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
- Lemons & limes: Limes are a rich source of plant estrogens called isoflavones which can influence your levels of estrogen and affect how Anastrozole (Arimidex) works.
- Safflower oil: Fats in the diet, such as those found in safflower oil, are essential for hormone regulation and memory. But they can also influence hormonal balance so it’s best to avoid them while on Anastrozole (Arimidex).
- Soy Bean products: Soy protein isolate, soybean oil, soybean paste, and other soybean products should be avoided while on Anastrozole (Arimidex). Soy is unique in that it contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen but with much weaker effects. Soy isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and cause either weak estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity.
- Sunflower oil: Sesame and sunflower seeds are among the highest of all estrogenic foods, consuming oil from these seeds while on Anastrozole (Arimidex) can negatively affect how this medication works.