Anastrozole (brand name Arimidex) is a type of drug called an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase inhibitors interfere with the body’s aromatase enzyme so that it cannot convert testosterone to estradiol (estrogen). Anastrozole, then, is ultimately used in order to reduce the body’s estrogen levels.
Currently, anastrozole is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of breast cancer in women who have completed menopause. It helps fight breast cancers whose growth is quickened by the presence of estrogen. As Arimidex inhibits estrogen production and decreases the amount of estradiol in these women, the cancer’s growth slows or reverses.
Even though estrogen is most abundant in females, men have it too. Estrogen is what the aromatase enzyme creates from testosterone, as stated above. Because of this, sometimes men’s estrogen levels will climb too high alongside their elevated testosterone levels when undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Luckily, most males receiving standard doses of testosterone during TRT do not experience such high estradiol levels that they need them lowered. However, there are some men who are genetically predisposed to experience symptoms and side effects of high estrogen levels who are looking for a solution.
That is where anastrozole for men comes in. Some doctors prescribe Arimidex off-label alongside TRT to help treat unwanted side effects of high estrogen levels in males undergoing TRT. Note, however, that anastrozole is not currently approved by the FDA for any indications in men—further research needs to be done before it can be shown that the benefits of Arimidex outweigh the risks in men.
Anastrozole For Men
As stated above, anastrozole is used to treat unwanted side effects of high estradiol levels in men who are receiving TRT. While most men who undergo TRT do not need to take anastrozole as well, there are a select few who would benefit from it.
Estrogen in men is not a bad thing. It plays a key role in boosting bone mineral density in men, in addition to other important roles. If a male’s estradiol levels become too low, it may lead to increased body fat, decreased sexual desire, and erectile dysfunction.
There is also not generally much concern with estrogen levels climbing too high if a man is only receiving standard doses of TRT. If you are only trying to maintain a normal level of testosterone levels, your estrogen levels should not rise so much that you experience any feminizing side effects.
That being said, some men are genetically predisposed to experience worse side effects of high estradiol levels. There are two side effects in particular that are the most common side effects of TRT and caused by high estradiol levels: gynecomastia (breast development and enlargement in males) and edema (swelling in the arms or legs caused by fluid retention).
If you are a male who is experiencing either gynecomastia or edema and you are receiving TRT, it may be time for you to start taking anastrozole for men. Keep in mind that Arimidex for men is still being researched by the medical community, but many doctors are already prescribing the drug off-label for men like you.
To learn more about Arimidex and its role in HRT, click here!
In addition to the men who take Arimidex alongside TRT, there are men who take anastrozole to help reduce estrogen-related side effects of anabolic steroids while bodybuilding.
Anabolic steroids are taken by some bodybuilders to try to increase their muscle mass and boost their performance. These steroids impede normal hormone production in the body and thereby may increase estrogen. If estradiol levels get too high, they may cause unwanted side effects such as gynecomastia and edema (see above).
That is where anastrozole comes in. As stated above, anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor that inhibits the production of estrogen in the body. Some bodybuilders use the drug to counteract high estrogen levels and effectively treat gynecomastia or edema.
As you consider anastrozole for bodybuilding, you should keep in mind that, as with other indications mentioned above, the drug is not approved by the FDA for use alongside anabolic steroids. Additionally, you should know that aromatase inhibitors, including Arimidex, are on the list of drugs that are banned for competing athletes.
So while anastrozole has been shown to be beneficial for many bodybuilders, you want to do your research thoroughly and make sure it is the right choice for you before trying it out.
The following articles are great resources for finding out more about anastrozole and other aromatase inhibitors: Aromatase Inhibitors Are They Worth It? You Decide… and Aromatase Inhibitors: To AI or To Not AI?
Anastrozole Dosage TRT
In general, there are few guidelines concerning anastrozole dosages when receiving TRT. Some resources recommend taking 0.25 mg per day and some say to take 0.5 mg every other day. Other medical professionals have other recommendations.
That being said, most agree that a 1 mg dose of Arimidex per week is the way to go. In line with this thinking, Elite Health Online has an anastrozole product for sale (DHEA/Anastrozole/Vitamin A) that is meant to be taken at 1 mL per week via injection. Elite Health recommends 2 injections of 0.5 mL per week if you inject the drug subcutaneously, or 1 injection of 1 mL per week if you inject intramuscularly.
You can also find the correct dosages of Arimidex for coadministration with TRT if you purchase Elite Health’s Arimidex #30 product.
To learn more about Arimidex and its role in HRT, click here!
Timing Anastrozole with Testosterone
There are also a few different recommendations for how to time anastrozole with TRT injections. As stated above, the general consensus is to take 1 mg of Arimidex a week. There are options to take the full weekly dosage once per week, or you can divide the weekly dosage evenly and take it twice weekly or every other day.
Again, if you want to purchase Elite Health Online’s DHEA/Anastrozole/Vitamin A product, Elite Health recommends a twice weekly injection if you choose to inject subcutaneously and a once weekly injection if you choose to inject intramuscularly.
You can also go the route of oral Arimidex #30, also sold by Elite Health Online.
The bottom line is that you have options for how to time your anastrozole intake along with TRT; consider the different courses of action, and choose the one that helps you stay the most consistent with taking your medication.
Click here to learn more about anastrozole’s role in TRT!
Anastrozole Side Effects
The difficult factor in assessing anastrozole side effects in men is that most of the research concerning anastrozole’s side effects concerns its effects on women. Therefore, there is not very much literature to let us know which side effects are specific to men taking anastrozole.
That being said, it is still good to be informed of the side effects that females experience; there is potential overlap in the side effects men and women experience while taking Arimidex.
According to the [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)], side effects that women experienced while receiving anastrozole for breast cancer treatment included hot flashes, back pain, arthritis, depression, and bone fractures.
Looking at some of the clinical trials that have been done on aromatase inhibitors in males and studies of anastrozole as a treatment for breast cancer in females, we can see the following signs and symptoms as possible side effects of Arimidex in men:
- Joint, bone, or muscle pain
- Bone fracture or loss
- Decreased libido
- Cardiovascular problems
- Kidney disease
- Retinal bleeding
- Liver problems
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Stomach pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight gain
- Breast pain
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Pain, burning, or tingling in hands or feet
- Dry mouth
Additionally, we can speculate about some of the side effects of anastrozole by simply looking at the effects of low estrogen in men and applying that to Arimidex. Knowing how estrogen helps bolster bone density and health in men, anastrozole may lead to decreased bone health, including decreased spinal bone density, in men.
You may also experience an allergic reaction to Arimidex, which would indicate your need to stop taking the drug immediately. Possible allergic reactions include swelling around the body, chest pain, blurred vision, rapid heart rate, and rashes.
Long Term Side Effects of Anastrozole
Again, there is a lack of research concerning anastrozole as a treatment for men, and, as such, we have to draw from studies of anastrozole for females with breast cancer to determine the possible long-term side effects of the drug on males.
Doing so, we see that possible long-term side effects of Arimidex include the following outcomes:
- Osteoporosis or bone fractures
- High cholesterol
- Liver problems, including liver toxicity
- Hair loss or thinning
You may develop these side effects after taking anastrozole for a long time, or you may experience them at any other time during treatment. In rare cases, these long-term side effects of anastrozole can be permanent, lasting past the time you stop taking the drug.
Additionally, it is important to be aware that Arimidex can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and can harm an unborn baby. This means women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not handle anastrozole pills or breathe the dust from them.
It is a good idea to talk with your doctor about the long-term side effects of Arimidex before you begin taking the drug.
Some of the serious interactions of anastrozole include the following drugs:
- Conjugated estrogens
- Synthetic conjugated estrogens
- Esterified estrogens
Moderate interactions of Arimidex include the following drugs:
- Vaginal conjugated estrogens
- Cholera vaccine
And a mild interaction of anastrozole is ruxolitinib.
These lists do not contain all possible anastrozole interactions. That being the case, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking anastrozole. Give them a list of all the medications you currently take so they can make sure it is safe for you to use Arimidex alongside them.
Foods to Avoid When Taking Anastrozole
In general, there are a few different foods to avoid when taking anastrozole if you want to maintain the effectiveness of the drug. The following foods should be limited or avoided while taking Arimidex:
- Chamomile tea
- Corn oil
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice
- Grilled, barbequed, or smoked meat or fish
- Lemons and limes
- Oranges and tangerines
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil or paste
- Soy protein isolate
- Sunflower oil
These foods should be avoided because they are either 1) known to increase aromatase enzyme or estrogen, 2) increase the side effects of anastrozole, or 3) reduce the effectiveness of aromatase inhibitors.