Help for Joint Pain from AIs
One unpleasant side effect from any of the aromatase inhibitors can be joint pain or stiffness. For many women, it is a relatively minor symptom that improves with movement. (translation: when you first get out of bed, you may hobble across the room, but likely are moving normally by the time you reach the hall). For some women, however, this pain can be intense and even disabling in terms of limiting comfortable use of their hands. Sometimes the problem is solved by moving to a different AI, but this is not a sure cure.
Here is an excerpt and then a link from a study presented at last week's San Antonio meetings about a medication that may be helpful:
Depression drug may relieve pain from breast cancer treatment, U-M study finds
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A drug commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorder was effective at reducing joint and muscle pain associated with a breast cancer treatment, according to a study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The women in the study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers. About half of women taking these drugs experience aches and pains in their joints and muscles that cannot be adequately relieved by over- the-counter painkillers. Up to 20 percent of these women will stop taking an aromatase inhibitor because of this pain.
"Since women typically take these drugs for five years, it is important that the side effects not interfere too much with their quality of life, or they will be less likely to continue taking the medicine, which may lead to a greater chance of their breast cancer returning," says study author N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.
Henry will present the initial results of the study Dec. 11 at the 33rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
The study looked at the drug duloxetine, or Cymbalta, which is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It's also been shown to work in multiple other chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and, more recently, osteoarthritis. It is believed to decrease pain through its actions in the central nervous system.
(you may have to scroll down a bit; this article was published on Dec 12th)