Femara (Letrozole) is a medication used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Its drug belongs to the aromatase inhibitor class. Femara works by blocking the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. By blocking aromatase, Femara reduces the amount of estrogen in the body and can help slow the growth of some types of breast cancer.
Femara is an effective and commonly used treatment for breast cancer patients. However, it can be used for off-label drug as a fertility treatment for women with ovulation problems, or for those with unexplained infertility. In addition, letrozole is indicated for adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer, extended adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer, and first and second-line treatment of advanced breast cancer.
Uses and Dosage
Letrozole comes as a tablet to take by mouth once a day with or without food. Take letrozole at around the same time every day and follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
The recommended dose of femara is one 2.5 mg tablet administered once a day, without regard to meals. Use in adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer. In the adjuvant setting, femara is used for a period of 5 years. For extended adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer, the recommended dose is also 2.5 mg once a day. For first and second-line treatment of advanced breast cancer, the recommended dose is 2.5 mg to 5 mg once a day.
Common Side Effects of Letrozole:
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Dry skin
- Increase in appetite
- Loss of appetite
Serious Side Effects of Letrozole:
- Back pain
- Bone fracture
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chest pain
- Darkened urine
- Eye irritation
- Frequent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
- Heart flutters
- Joint pain
- Loss of touch sensation
- Nervous disorders
- Vaginal disorders causing discharge or bleeding
Form and strength
Femara (Letrozole) is available in the following forms and strength:
- 2.5 mg
- 2.5 mg
- Letrozole may cause a decrease in bone mineral density, which can make bones weaker and increase the risk of fractures.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to letrozole, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in letrozole tablets. Your pharmacist can provide you with a list of the ingredients so that you can make sure you are not allergic to any of them. Inform your doctor and pharmacist of any other medications you are taking, as some medications may interact with letrozole.
- Femara may cause dizziness, tiredness, or rarely blurred vision. Alcohol and marijuana (cannabis) can increase these effects. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcohol and talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
- It may also cause a decrease in cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
- It may also cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
- It may also cause an increase in blood pressure, which can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
- It may also cause an increase in liver enzymes, which can increase the risk of liver damage.
- If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, letrozole must not be used as it may harm an unborn baby. Women who have gone through menopause should discuss the need for reliable forms of birth control with their doctor before taking this medication, and for 3 weeks after they stop taking it.
- It may also cause an increase in the risk of developing certain types of cancer and infections.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there an increased risk of a child being born with a birth defect when using letrozole?
No, the use of letrozole to induce ovulation has not been associated with an increased risk of a child being born with a birth defect.
What is the recommended starting dose of letrozole to induce ovulation?
The recommended starting dose of letrozole to induce ovulation is 2.5 mg taken once daily for five days. Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking any medication.
How long does it take for Letrozole to start working?
The effects of Letrozole typically start to take effect within 1-2 weeks of beginning the treatment. However, it can take up to 4-6 weeks for the full effects of the drug to be seen.
Is Letrozole used to treat breast cancer?
Yes, Letrozole is used to treat breast cancer. It is often used as part of a combination treatment plan and can be used either alone or in combination with other drugs.