Arimidex Uses in Men

by on April 21, 2012

Developed for treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, Arimidex blocks aromatase enzymes from converting male hormones into estrogens. Some breast cancer tumors are fueled by estrogen. Reducing the amount of estrogen in the body means that the cancerous tumors cannot thrive.

Sex Hormones

Both estrogen and testosterone exist in males and females. Females produce estrogen in the ovaries; males produce testosterone in the testicles. Additionally, small amounts of sex hormones are produced in the adrenal glands meaning that women produce some testosterone, and men produce some estrogen. The levels of these hormones control sexual development as children mature. They also control sexual characteristics in adult males and females. An overabundance of the male hormone testosterone in a female can cause masculine characteristics such as a deep voice, facial hair or increased muscle mass. Men with too much estrogen can develop breasts or other unwanted female characteristics.

Testosterone Conversion

Aromatase enzymes which exist in the liver, muscles and fat cells convert testosterone into estrogen. This explains how a postmenopausal woman, whose ovaries no longer produce estrogen, can still have estrogen in her body that can fuel the growth of breast cancer. Arimidex causes the aromatase enzymes to stop doing their job, thereby cutting off the supply of estrogen and killing the cancer. Since Arimidex is all about estrogen, it may seem unlikely that there are Arimidex uses in men.

Increasing Testosterone

In attempts to sculpt the body or enhance performance, some of today’s male professional athletes and bodybuilders tinker with the natural balance of hormones in their bodies by ingesting testosterone (also called anabolic steroids). Increased levels of testosterone do increase stamina, strength, muscle mass, endurance, and other desirable male characteristics. Paradoxically, this same hormone also increases levels of estrogen and the female attributes that come along with it.

Too Much Estrogen

Since the body’s aromatase enzymes convert testosterone into estrogen, increased female characteristics can also result from increased levels of testosterone. Men who take anabolic steroids in their quest for lean, muscular, sculpted bodies are dismayed to find that they also develop breasts and retain fluids. This is where Arimidex enters the picture. Somebody figured out that since Arimidex blocks the aromatase enzyme from creating estrogen in women cancer patients, it could be good for men who take testosterone to keep them from suffering the unwanted results of increased estrogen.

Too Much Testosterone

In addition to increasing levels of estrogen, taking testosterone can also cause testicular shrinkage, high blood pressure, liver damage, acne, changes in cholesterol levels and heart problems. Concern for the visible unwanted side effects of increased levels of testosterone may convince a bodybuilder to “stack” Arimidex as part of the testosterone cocktail, thereby reducing the estrogen and related feminine characteristics. The other side effects can only be relieved by discontinuing the additional testosterone, which of course would remove the need for Arimidex.

AstraZeneca discovered Anastrozole (brand name Arimidex) and received approval for its use for treatment of breast cancer from the FDA in 2002. It was never intended for use by men. The patent is now expired and Anastrozole is available in generic forms today.