Advanced Breast Cancer: Learn about treatment options.

letrozole

Pronunciation

Generic Name: letrozole (LET roe zol)
Brand Name: Femara

What is letrozole?

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.

Letrozole 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.

Letrozole may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about letrozole?

Letrozole can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to letrozole, or if you have not gone completely through menopause.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before taking letrozole, tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis, high cholesterol, or liver disease (especially cirrhosis).

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

To be sure letrozole 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).

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using letrozole?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to letrozole, or if you have not gone completely through menopause.

To make sure you can safely take letrozole, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • osteoporosis;

  • high cholesterol; or

  • liver disease (especially cirrhosis).

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use letrozole 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 letrozole.

How should I take letrozole?

Take 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.

Letrozole is usually taken once per day, or once every other day. Follow your doctor's instructions.

You may take letrozole 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 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 while taking letrozole?

This medicine 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.

Letrozole side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, tired feeling;

  • hot flashes, warmth in your face or chest;

  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);

  • headache;

  • nausea, constipation;

  • 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

  • weight gain.

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)

Letrozole dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

For use as first-line treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive or hormone receptor unknown locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Letrozole is also indicated for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women with disease progression following antiestrogen therapy: 2.5 mg tablet orally administered once a day without regard to meals.

In patients with advanced disease, letrozole therapy should continue until tumor progression is evident.

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer -- Adjuvant:

For use as extended adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer in postmenopausal women who have received 5 years of adjuvant tamoxifen therapy: 2.5 mg tablet orally administered once a day without regard to meals.

The optimal duration of treatment with letrozole is not known. Treatment should be discontinued if there is a tumor relapse.

What other drugs will affect letrozole?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially tamoxifen.

There may be other drugs that can interact with letrozole. 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.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about letrozole.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.02. Revision Date: 2013-07-08, 3:06:06 PM.

Hide
(web4)