Hello, after chemo, surgery and radiation, my wife is now going to get medication to treat her stage 4 breast cancer, ie. anastrozole + abemaciclib (Verzenio). There were some posts here about this in 2021, but just wondering if anybody has taken this new drug recently and could share the experience with us, especially about the side effects. We are told that we could get it for free through Eli Lilly's program.
@jocelyn2 Hi, I have been on Verzinio since last spring. I attribute most of my side effects to the aromatase inhibitors. I have joint and muscle pain, muscle fatigue and overall fatigue. I think the two of them together make things a bit worse. I did not experience any diarrhea or other gastro side effects. I feel like I am plodding through the day and am limited to about 10 miuntes of exercise. but again i believe it is the AIs. Everyone responds differently so one never knows. Good Luck!
Hi Jocelyn2, nice to speak to you. I have received Abemaciclib pills but I haven't started them yet. The plan is for me to start them after my radiation is done. I may be starting radiation treatment beginning February. I read the side effects and they seem so scary which include low blood counts; increase in liver and kidney enzymes, blood clots, etc. Diarrhea is a common side effect but as BellaBlue noted, it didn't affect her. Guess everyone is different with side effects. I am also taking Letrozole. The Letrozole give me hot flashes and joint pain. How is your wife doing? When does she anticipate to start on Abemaciclib? Do keep us posted. Best wishes and strength to us all.
@jocelyn2 Hi…I too am soon to be getting abemaciclib to take along with the letrozole that I have been taking since July 1st/22. I'm eager to get started with it; I have read many of the summaries from the monarchE study--they all noted how good the trial results were for people in both study cohorts. The first cohort was made up of people who were “high-risk” (defined by them as lymph-node positive and/or tumour size of at or greater than 5cm.--essentially Stage 3 ER/PR+ and HER2-) and the second cohort were people who may or may not have been in this same category--but common to all of them was a high Ki-67 level (defined as 20% or over) I myself fall into both categories…Apologies for the technical jargon here, but probably all you need to know is that we are talking about people at high risk for distant recurrence…
I am not worried about the side effects--probably because I have been now taking the letrozole for almost 7 months with nothing more annoying that a bit of dry coughing and tickly throat (which might not even be due to the letrozole!) and I was also UNBELIEVEABLY fortunate and blessed to have gone through 16 chemotherapies, 2 surgeries, and 15 radiations over the course of 8 months…and NEVER felt unwell--Not even for 1 day!! I plan to carry on with the same regime that I continued with all during that time: Running or speedwalking 3-5 km every day…curling 6 times a week, gym workouts 3 times/week, tennis group class once weekly in the winter, then over to tennis 4-5 times/week once the curling season was finished--as well as taking my dogs to their dog-sport practices or trials pretty much once-weekly through the summer. All the things that I love…and so I am resolutely determined to stay with them no matter what I might have to take next (I will also be getting zoledronic acid for the first time in the next month or so, I expect). All this to say--if your wife is an active person, tell her to Stay with that! I am convinced that this lifestyle was the major reason why I was able to manage all the treatment so well. (If she isn't…get her to start--modestly at first, but with a view to increasing as fitness improves.) Find physical things she might like (go with her, perhaps to keep her motivated!) I feel the benefits are so profound…