Musculoskeletal symptoms including arthralgia and myalgia occur frequently in aging women, particularly during the transition to menopause, when plasma estrogens precipitously decline. In postmenopausal women (PMW) with breast cancer, third-generation aromatase inhibitors (AIs) as adjuvant hormonal therapy have proven to be more effective, and to have a more predictable side effect profile, than tamoxifen. However, AIs further reduce plasma estrogens in PMW, exacerbating musculoskeletal symptoms. Clinical trial data have shown significantly higher incidences of arthralgia and myalgia with AIs compared with women on tamoxifen or placebo. Symptoms may be severe enough to significantly affect quality of life; musculoskeletal symptoms are a frequent reason for discontinuing therapy. In many cases, symptoms can be effectively managed with oral analgesics or other strategies. Early recognition and effective management of musculoskeletal symptoms can help maximize treatment compliance, enabling patients to derive optimal benefit from therapy in terms of preventing recurrence
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