User Reviews for Letrozole to treat Breast Cancer
Also known as: Femara
Letrozole has an average rating of 5.3 out of 10 from a total of 96 ratings for the treatment of Breast Cancer. 31% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 33% reported a negative experience.
“I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2015 at age 58. A lumpectomy was performed and I was treated with four weeks of radiation. The cancer was 98% estrogen positive. I began first with Arimidex post op but after a while I experienced severe muscle cramps (which may have been caused by a combination of medication problems at the time) and eventually switched to Letrozole. The cramping that I experience in my legs now is not nearly as severe and is doable. I've been on the Letrozole about a year and a half now. I'm writing because I wanted to let you know that if you are experiencing hair thinning while on Letrozole, I have found that taking a B-complex vitamin pill on a daily basis has been very helpful for me. My hair was thinning, but after about six months of taking a B-complex vitamin pill everyday I noticed that my hair thickened and that it now basically stays in my head. Just wanted to pass this information along.”
“I’ve been on Letrozole 4 years. I had a lumpectomy w/ radiation, no chemo. I have severe back, hip and groin pain , muscle fatigue, sleepless nights, exhausting days. I walk like I’m 30 years older than what I am. My pain averages from 5 -9 out of 10. I can’t remember a day where I did not have pain. I have a few good days in between the awful days which gives me false hope. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars ruling out other Disabilities only to hear the same result- your x-rays/CT scans/MRIs are fine. I have no quality of life- I used to be a very fun loving person but rarely smile anymore because of pain . My goal each day is just to get through it. I’ve stayed on letrozole In hopes that my cancer would not return. I have an oncology appointment this week, and I will be talking w/ him about discontinuing Letrozole so I can start living again. My heart goes out to all of you who have to deal with these awful side effects .”
Femara (letrozole): “I have been on Femara for 9 months. First few months were tolerable, as time progresses, I am miserable. In beginning, I experienced nausea and diarrhea. As this went away, the bone and joint pain began. I would be awakened from my sleep in tears, as my hips would ache just from lying in bed. My hands/fingers hurt to make a fist, or do any type of extended writing. My knees ache horribly. When I get out of bed in the morning, I need to stand still for at least 2 or 3 minutes until I can get my legs to work. Same thing when sitting for any length of time. I am 45 and feel like I am 85. ”
Femara (letrozole): “I am 65 and have been on Femara for 2 years. Side effects quite severe. Joint pain, lost libido, dry vagina. However it is what it is and we must continue to take. So, I decided to fight the effect, dry vagina improved with a non hormonal lubricant. For joint pain, fish oil, magnesium, zinc and calcium twice a day, big improvement. Also each morning no matter how stiff you are, go walking, it warms up the joints and gets you going for the rest of the day. I also do weights 3 times a week to increase muscle to protect bones. All have made big a difference. No weight gain. Vitamins have certainly helped keep hair and skin in good condition. Three more years of it so it's best to just keep trying to counteract the negative effects.”
Femara (letrozole): “After a lumpectomy for stage 1 Breast Cancer, I was prescribed two other aromatase inhibitors prior to Femara. I had occasional head pain in one spot from all of them. I also had trigger finger and terrible knee pain from Arimidex. My doctor then put me on brand name Femara and the joint pain, head pain, and trigger finger all went away. What is bothering me now is the hair loss (can see my scalp!), memory loss--constantly groping for words. Sometimes I do feel like I'm "foggy" but mostly I just can't remember words. I feel it is getting worse as time goes on and I do not understand why others report the same but there is no mention of this in the patient information leaflet.”
“After mastectomy surgery, stage 2, cancer in 2 lymph nodes inside mammary tissue, No chemo/radiation. Began letrozole, experienced hot flashes/insomnia. After one year, no hot flashes but sleep disruption. As I entered 1.5 year mark taking letrozole I began to have joint pain, deep aching and less strength in hips/knees. As a former therapist, I switched to exercise in pool as I could no longer tolerate joint pain with land based exercise. By 2 year mark, decreased stability when walking, difficulty climbing steps, getting up from chair or toilet. Prior to surgery I had been walking 3 miles a day, now pain limits walking a block. Xrays prior to surgery showed no significant arthritis in any joints. Now unable to get out of chair without pain 8/10. Stopped taking med, 3 days later pain went from 8/10 to 5/10. 3 weeks after stopping pill, pain 3/10, with lingering weakness hips/knees. Mind is now less foggy. Quality of life is more important than continuing to take this pill.”
“I’ve had cancer twice. This second time, I have Stage 3 breast cancer and had to have chemotherapy. I’m on Letrozole, and have been on it since September 2019. Firstly, I can’t believe the pain I’m in. It’s got worse by the week/month. I’m a Pilates teacher and work every day, but I’m finding that there are things I can’t do now, as my hands and elbows are unbelievably painful. I can take a lot of pain, but this is bad. When I get out of bed or up from sitting, I can barely walk away. I also have groin pain and lower back pain, yet I’m fit and strong in every other way. This is getting me down, as I feel I’m on a slippery slope. It doesn’t help that I am high risk for another cancer, and that every pain worries me. I’m sorry that there are so many who are experiencing this.”
Frequently asked questions
- How many cycles of letrozole are needed to get pregnant?
- How long do letrozole side effects last?
- When will I ovulate after taking letrozole?
- What happens when you stop taking letrozole?
“Was on Letrozole for 7 weeks. Had debilitating side effects which included nausea, vomiting, appetite loss and weight loss; chronic fatigue syndrome type pain, bilateral swollen glands, joint pain, inflammation in any prior injury area, pain radiating from shoulders down to hands; anxiety including body tremors, agitation, depression, uncontrollable crying, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, feeling of being hit by a truck, the flu, laundry kicked down three flights of stairs; no energy, need to sleep during the day, inability to sleep at night; hair loss and hair thinning just to name the top side effects. Voluntarily went off drug. Oncologist confirmed that some women just can't handle this drug and I am one of them. A month later I am back to normal. I am cleaning house, I am sewing, I am reading and swimming.”
“I have been on Letrozole for just about a year now. My comment is this. Not all generics are the same. When I first started, I had no side effects whatsoever. My oncologist couldn't believe it. Then after six months, my pharmacy switched brands and I began getting hives and severe joint pain; the new brand they were giving me was from Teva. I recently asked them if they could still get the brand (Breckenridge) that they had originally given me and they said yes. I'm now taking that one again. No hives, although I do still have some lingering joint pain. I've had the same experience on a couple other meds I take, i.e., when my pharmacy switches brands I've had problems. So I'm just saying that sometimes it's not the medication, but the manufacturer.”
Femara (letrozole): “I have been taking Femara for almost two years now after my second surgery for estrogen receptive positive breast cancer with no lymph nodes involved. Sure there are multiple side effects, some pretty tough to deal with sometimes but I am 66 years young and I love living. Give it a GO and keep on living.”
Femara (letrozole): “I've been taking Femara for a little over 5 months and have yet to experience any side effects whatsoever. I'd been warned about hot flashes, night sweats, joint pain, muscle pain, and so far nothing. I have two smallish tumors in one breast that we caught very early on, and at my 4 month ultrasound they've decreased by about 50%. I'll have a nipple-sparing mastectomy in about 2 weeks with DIEM flap reconstruction...the grossest part of this whole episode in my opinion...followed by radiation. No chemo here, just a very healthy mostly vegetarian diet and tons of walking. I'm 69, 5'6", 135, and so far consider myself about the luckiest cancer patient anywhere. Maybe I'll start feeling sick at some point but not yet. Hang in there ladies!!”
“I was on Letrozole for one year. Stage 1 breast cancer, no lymph node involvement. ER/PR+ HER2- Why I was put on this drug is beyond me. I now need hip replacement. I have stress fractures in my shin. Every joint in my body aches. I stopped taking the drug after one year. When I see my oncologist I will tell him I stopped taking it. Although I stopped the drug in November, I am still having bone pain and joint pain. I use a walker because of my hip and stress fractures. I did not have any problems before taking this medication. I hope the FDA changes it’s use for breast cancer patients.”
Femara (letrozole): “I had many side effects- including, hot flashes, confusion, stomach problems, vaginal dryness, tired easily and bone weakening. On the bright side-I have had no recurrence and it is now 12 years since my diagnosis with lymph node involvement.”
“Started on Anastrolze for 4 months, it was debilitating to me. Could hardly move, could not sleep, could not focus, had serious brain fog. Oncologist switch me to Letrozole. Started off good, then about 4 months into it, I noticed my hands and feet were so sore, could hardly move them. Swelling, weight gain, intense hand, knee and foot pain, foggy brain, sweating all the time. The knee pain got so bad, I could hardly walk. Took myself off them, seeing the oncologist on a couple of months. She said I had to have a bone scan and possible transfusion because letrozole was known to cause issues with bones. I am 54 years old and was feeling like I was 80. I want a quality of live, decided to take the risk at this point. They all have the same side effects, not worth it to me.”
Femara (letrozole): “Had Grade A Breast Cancer that was caught early. Had a mass and one lymph node removed. Went on Femara on Nov. 8, 2014, the day after I finished radiation. At first, I didn't notice anything. Slowly the pain in my feet started, then other joints in my body. I felt like I was having trouble getting air into my lungs. I started feeling like I was in a fog. I already had been diagnosed with depression years ago which was under control with medication. I started experiencing depression a couple of weeks ago which included waking up and crying. That turned into suicidal depression. Without pain medication, I couldn't move around well. The bottom of my feet were killing me. I work full time. I quit the Femara 2 days ago.”
Femara (letrozole): “I am 46 yrs old, stage IV MBC to lungs, been on femara for 1.5 years. My tumors were 40% down after one year and I am about to do next ct-scan soon. My side effects are minor muscle pain (and possibly some anxiety but may be unrelated). I have simultaneously adopted vegan life style and do regular exercise (yoga and walking). I have so much energy I don't know what to do with it. I don't gain weight either, and my muscle pain is usually gone after a brief stretch or walk. I highly recommend vegan diet and exercise to those who want to minimize pain. Thanks all and good luck.”
Femara (letrozole): “I have been on Femara for 3 years now, following 5 years on Tamoxifen as part of the Tango treatment for breast cancer. I have experienced severe joint pain, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, etc. But thought it was worth the effects in order to keep me 'cancer free'. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. I have also issues with bone problems i.e. broke my foot 4 years ago & chipped my knee joint. But hey I'm still here. Keep persevering girls!”
- When is the best time of day to take letrozole?
- How does Femara affect your period?
- Is letrozole a form of chemotherapy?
- When do you ovulate on Femara?
Femara (letrozole): “I have been on Femara for 3 months. After taking Tamoxifen for approximately 2 years, which I could not tolerate any longer, my oncologist put me on the Femara. While my hot flashes have pretty much disappeared, the joint and bone pain I am suffering is unbearable. My elbows, hands, fingers, knees, ankles and feet are the worse. In the mornings I cannot get out of bed. I take thyroid medicine in the morning and cannot open the bottle. It takes about 20 minutes before I can close my fingers or bend my toes. Nighttime is also bad. After sitting for short periods I cannot get up. I have never felt better in my life except for the constant agonizing pain. I am a very active 49 year old but feel like I am 90. This pain gets worse every day. I can only imagine what it will be like in 3 more months. I I am seeing my oncologist this week and am going to tell him I am stopping this drug. I believe the quality of my life is more important that the quantity.”
Femara (letrozole): “I have been on Femara for almost a year. At first I had nearly constant hot flashes/night sweats. Was started on Effexor with nearly immediate relief. Have had increasingly painful joint and muscle pain, especially in my knees. Nothing seems to be helping much with that and it has been a major detriment to my quality of life. Have recently added Magnesium, Fish Oil and Glucosamine/Chrondroitin to the Calcium and D3 I had been taking. Hopefully this will ease the joint stiffness and pain. I am 52 and some days feel 92. Still I am cancer free so far, so I will continue to take Femara.”
“After taking Letrozole for about 6mths I had the aching muscles etc, felt like a 90yr old! Then did a lot of research!..take your calcium and MAGNESIUM (which is a muscle relaxant) it is amazing, no more aching bones! I take 2 magnesium a day, one in the morning and one an hour before I go to bed. Don't take at same time as your calcium, wait a couple of hours! Read up about this brilliant supplement! It also gives u energy etc etc...i seriously thought about stopping taking Letrozole but along with the adcal and Magnesium I feel great! Also I get these on prescription!”
“I have been on Letrozole for a year now and the hip pain has progressively gotten worse. The hot flashes are manageable now, but the hip pain is debilitating. I can't take NSAID's because thanks to chemo I know have ulcerative colitis. I am about ready to stop the Letrozole because my oncologist told me all the cancer drugs have the same bone and joint pain side effect. I feel like I am 90 years old and can't barely walk at times. Her response is "at least you don't have cancer" - thanks Doc but I have other debilitating problems.”
“After 4 months on Letrazole, I felt like an old crock, in pain everywhere, barely able to move, depressed, not sleeping well and developing carpal tunnel syndrome. I've gone off it ready to try something else and after only a week, nearly all the pain and stiffness is gone. I'm sleeping well and have a sense of wellbeing. Letrazole stole my quality of life and I'm glad I discovered it after not too long. Let's hope other drugs are better tolerated, but if not, I'd rather have quality of life than quantity of pain.”
“I have been on Letrozole for 9 months. I have dry mouth, extremely dry skin, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, weight gain and hair loss. My joints are increasingly stiff and painful. I wake in the night from pain and can scarcely walk first thing in the morning. My Breast cancer was stage one an I had both breasts removed. I am considering stopping taking it.”
“2019 Jan diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage 2. 58 yrs old. Left breast mastectomy no radiation no ca in the lymph nodes. Given Letrozole 2.5 mg, side effects of this medication: Severe hot flashes, chills, severe pain in hands, knees, feet, legs, foggy head, muscle pain, insomnia, poor memory, extremely tired, cankers, pain in upper abdomen on occasion, first four months hair loss and itchy hands. I quit my job as I was just too tired to continue. I now wish I would have quit the Letrozole instead. I will see my cancer dr in a few months and this will be discussed. If I don’t quit before.”
Femara (letrozole): “I've been taking letrozole(Femara) 9 months, after a right side mastectomy for stage IIA breast cancer. I'm ER & PR positive. No radiation or chemo. I'm 58 & this is the only drug I take, besides vitamins. The first 6 weeks I had trouble sleeping, occasional dizziness, some joint pain, & mild headaches. Around 4 months in, I started losing hair. I'd guess approximately 25% of my hair has fallen out. Besides the hair loss, I have dry eyes, genitals, & skin. There's some stiffness & joint pain in my hips. These side effects are tolerable, especially, knowing that the drug is preventing a cancer recurrence. None of these side effects are enough for me to stop taking letrozole!”
This information is not intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews may be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, and judgement of healthcare professionals.
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- Drug class: aromatase inhibitors