Femara (Letrozole) is a non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor (i.e., a drug that is known to reduce or limit the production of estrogen in women), making it a potent medicine in the treatment of cancer of the breast among women. If you have been on Soltamox, Nolvadex for five years and above, you may be the right candidate for Femara.
Letrozole is a medication used to handle breast cancer in ladies who have gone through menopause. It's brand name Femara popularly knows Letrozole, but you can also find drugs with similar properties trading under different brands. While this drug is primarily designed for women, it can also be used by men who have breast cancer.
How Does It work?
Table of Contents
Letrozole inhibits the production of the hormone estrogen, which is a naturally occurring hormone in the body of a human being. Cancers that are caused by this hormone are often called Oestrogen receptor-positive or simply ER+ breast cancers. For people whose disease is not ER+, this drug may not be beneficial.
What is Letrozole?
Letrozole is administered alongside other drugs such as goserelin (Zoladex), especially to women who are still fertile (haven't attained menopause). Therefore, it is essential to make your doctor aware of the facts around your fertility beforehand.
When Should You Take Letrozole
Letrozole is usually given to patients after undergoing surgery to help minimize the risks of the reemergence of breast cancer or to help control disease from spreading to other parts of the body. You will need to discuss with your specialist on the right timing if you are on chemotherapy of radiography treatment. Alternatively, Femara may be given as the first treatment to help suppress large cancer before a surgery is performed to remove it altogether. You can also use it to treat cancer that has reoccurred or which has spread to other parts.
How Long Does the Dose Take?
It all depends on the individual circumstances, although it can be taken up to ten years. If you are on Letrozole, especially to treat a reemergence, you'll have to take the drug for as long as you can continue keeping it under check.
Once your doctor has examined your progress, he or she will advise you on when to stop the treatment. Many people are worried about stopping the medication for fear of re-occurrence of cancer, but the good news is that this drug continues to work long after you stop taking it. If for any reason, you are contemplating stopping taking the medication, discuss it with your doctor first. This drug may be used alongside other treatments such as hormone therapy, especially to help combat its adverse effect when there's a need to keep both procedures for effective management of your cancer.
Some noticeable side effects of Femara include the following:
- Hot flashes,
- Feeling of warmth in the chest,
- Loss of hair,
- Pain around the joints and bone muscles,
- Feeling of tiredness,
- Sleep problems,
- Weight gain,
The good news is, however, that all of the above side effects are mild and can be moderated by taking appropriate dosages alongside other drugs.
The manufacturers and physicians alike recommend taking 2.5mg tablet once per day. This drug works well with other medications, so it has no side effects when it comes to drug interactions. Ensure to discuss with your doctor all the medicines you are currently using to ensure they work well with Femara.
Who Should Not Use it?
It is worth noting that lactating mothers or pregnant women should not use this drug. The most suitable candidates for this drug are women in their menopause. If you are on birth control, ensure to avoid those containing estrogen. Do not suffer in silence, instead talk to your doctor today and see if Letrozole could be a treatment solution to your cancer.