Generic Name: letrozole (LET roe zol)
Brand Names: Femara
What is Femara?
Femara (letrozole) lowers estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, which may slow the growth of certain types of breast tumors that need estrogen to grow in the body.
Femara is used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is often given to women who have been taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox) for 5 years.
Femara may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Femara can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. You should not use Femara if you are allergic to letrozole, or if you have not gone completely through menopause.
Before taking Femara, tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis, high cholesterol, or liver disease (especially cirrhosis).
Femara may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. To be sure Femara is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your bone mineral density may also need to be checked. Visit your doctor regularly.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially tamoxifen (Soltamox).
Before using Femara
You should not use Femara if you are allergic to letrozole, or if you have not gone completely through menopause.
To make sure you can safely take Femara, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
high cholesterol; or
liver disease (especially cirrhosis).
FDA pregnancy category X. Femara can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use Femara if you are pregnant, or if you have not gone completely through menopause. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether letrozole passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using this medicine.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
How should I take Femara?
Take Femara exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Femara is usually taken once per day, or once every other day. Follow your doctor's instructions.
You may take Femara with or without food.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your bone mineral density may also need to be checked. Visit your doctor regularly.
Store this medicine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
Letrozole can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Femara side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Femara: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Less serious Femara side effects may include:
dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, tired feeling;
hot flashes, warmth in your face or chest;
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
bone pain, muscle or joint pain;
numbness, tingling, weakness, or stiffness in your hand or fingers;
pain in your hand that spreads to your arm, wrist, forearm, or shoulder;
night sweats; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Femara?
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially tamoxifen.
There may be other drugs that can interact with Femara. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More about Femara (letrozole)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Femara.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Femara only for the indication prescribed.
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