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Letrozole

Letrozole

Descriptions

Letrozole is used to treat certain types of breast cancer in women who have already stopped menstruating (postmenopausal). It is also used for women who have already had other cancer treatments (e.g., tamoxifen).

Female hormones that occur naturally in the body can increase the growth of some breast cancers. Letrozole works by decreasing the amounts of these hormones in the body

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

How does letrozole work?

Some breast cancers are stimulated to grow by the hormone oestrogen. In women who have been through the menopause, oestrogen is no longer produced by the ovaries. But some oestrogen is still made in body fat using an enzyme (a type of protein) called aromatase. Aromatase inhibitors stop this enzyme from working so there’s less oestrogen in the body.

Letrozole will only be prescribed if your breast cancer has receptors within the cell that bind to the hormone oestrogen, known as oestrogen receptor positive or ER+ breast cancer. All breast cancers are tested for oestrogen receptors using tissue from a biopsy or after surgery. When oestrogen binds to these receptors, it can stimulate the cancer to grow.

Side effects of letrozole?

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • chest pain

How is letrozole taken?

Letrozole is a tablet (2.5mg) that you take once a day. It can be taken with or without food.

It’s best to take it at the same time every day. If you miss a dose, you don’t need to take an extra dose the next day as the level of drug in your body will remain high enough from the previous day. If for any reason you want to stop taking letrozole talk to your specialist first. This is because not taking the drug for the recommended time means you may increase your risk of your breast cancer coming back.

Letrozole and Alcohol

Both letrozole and alcohol can cause headaches and nausea, and these side effects could worsen if you use the two drugs at the same time.

If possible, try to avoid or limit drinking while taking letrozole.

Precautions:

Before starting Letrozole treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). 

Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (Letrozole may be hazardous to the fetus.  Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential hazard to the fetus).

Letrozole is indicated for post-menopausal women. Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Letrozole. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.

Do not breast feed while taking Letrozole.

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