Arimidex (generic name, anastrozole) is one of a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors.
Arimidex works by binding reversibly to the body’s aromastase enzyme, which is responsible for producing estrogen. Many breast cancer cells depend on estrogen to grow and multiply quickly. When the aromatase inhibitor is bound to the aromastase enzyme, the bound aromatase enzyme cannot produce estrogen. This drug-caused lack of estrogen "starves" estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, preventing them from multiplying and blocking growth of the tumor.
Arimidex is used:
• To reduce the recurrence of early-stage breast cancer in post-menopausal women
• For the treatment of patients with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer (i.e., breast cancer which has spread to distant parts of the body)
Moreover, if a woman who has had breast cancer has taken tamoxifen for 5 years, it is generally recommended that she consider taking an aromatase inhibitor.