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Supportive Care

"I Feel Like I Am 100 Years Old!" Managing Arthralgias From Aromatase Inhibitors

Loren Winters
Karleen R. Habin
Jane Flanagan
Barbara J. Cashavelly
CJON 2010, 14(3), 379-382 DOI: 10.1188/10.CJON.379-382

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are recommended for the treatment of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer in postmenopausal women and provide a superior risk reduction compared to five years of tamoxifen alone. Arthralgias, a common side effect of AIs, may adversely affect quality of life, treatment adherence, and persistence. Early discontinuation of AIs may result in an inadequate clinical response. Over-the-counter analgesics, exercise, and drug holidays are common strategies used to manage arthralgias, however few interventions are evidence-based. Patients experiencing arthralgias may experience distress and, therefore would benefit from ongoing nursing support. When caring for patients with arthralgias, nurses should assess for potential modifiable risk factors, recommend lifestyle changes and/or pharmacologic interventions, and offer ongoing education and follow-up.

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