The NHS of the UK has come under increased pressure from charities for making it possible to increase access to a new breast cancer drug which is better than tamoxifen. Women suffering from the early stages of the disease are treated with tamoxifen. If the women who were treated with tamoxifen for two years were to switch over to anastrozole, one of the new drugs, they are more likely to be alive after a period of two and a half years, according to the research.
In the case of the patients who had switched drugs, the deaths had gone down by 29%. The study was conducted on over 4,000 women across Italy, Germany, and Australia. The deaths among the 2,009 women who changed over to anastrozole was 66, while in the case of tamoxifen, it was 90.
AstraZeneca is marketing anastrozole as Arimidex, and this has received the support of the NHS in Scotland. Tamoxifen administered over 5 years after initial surgery brought down the recurrence of breast cancer by 50%, and administering anastrozole reduces it by a further 26%.
In the UK alone as many as 32,000 postmenopausal women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and as three quarters of the tumors are due to sex hormone oestrogen, they are ideal for the new treatment. Arimidex belongs to the aromotase inhibitors class of drugs which prevents the further development of oestrogen.
The treatment costs Ģ68 per month, and it is very much more expensive than tamoxifen. Aromatase inhibitors prevent estrogen and also do not increase the possibilities of endometrial cancer and blood clots. The three brands of this medicine are Novartis Pharmaceuticals' Femara, Pfizer Inc.'s Aromasin and AstraZeneca PLC's Arimidex.