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All about: letrozole

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Generic Name: letrozole (LET row zol)
Brand Names: Femara

What is letrozole?

Letrozole blocks the use of estrogen by certain types of breast cancer that require estrogen to grow.

Letrozole is used with other medicines to treat breast cancer in women who have reached menopause.

Letrozole may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

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

Before taking letrozole, tell your doctor if you have liver disease.You may not be able to use letrozole or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Use this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use it in larger doses or for longer than recommended by your doctor.

There may be other drugs that can affect letrozole. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Stop using this medication and get emergency medical help if you think you have used too much medicine, or if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects are more likely, and you may have none at all. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or is especially bothersome.

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

Before taking letrozole, tell your doctor if you have liver disease. You may not be able to use letrozole or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment. FDA pregnancy category D: This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use letrozole if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. It is not known whether letrozole passes into breast milk. Do not take letrozole if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take letrozole?

Take letrozole exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger doses or for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

Letrozole is usually taken once a day. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Letrozole can be taken with or without food.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, you will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your bone mineral density may also need to be checked. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store letrozole at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of letrozole is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid while taking letrozole?

Letrozole can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Letrozole side effects

Stop using letrozole and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Other less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • hot flashes, warmth or redness in your face or chest;

  • headache, muscle or joint pain;

  • night sweats;

  • weight gain;

  • fatigue, feeling weak;

  • nausea; or

  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect letrozole?

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect letrozole. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about letrozole written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Letrozole is available with a prescription under the brand name Femara. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Femara 2.5 mg-round, dark yellow, film-coated tablets

  • 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.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2/27/06 11:24:05 AM.

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