Aromasin is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005 to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Aromasin is also known by its drug name, Exemestane. Aromasin is used as an adjuvant, or post-surgical, treatment, and is usually prescribed for women who have been on Tamoxifen for two or three years. It reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery. Aromasin is also used as a treatment for advanced breast cancer, and may be prescribed to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women at high risk for the disease.
Aromasin may not be suitable for women of childbearing age. Aromasin should be used with caution in women with a history of heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, or kidney or liver problems. Aromasin should not be taken at the same time as other drugs that contain or affect estrogen or certain other drugs including some used to treat seizures.
About two-thirds of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that they require estrogen in order to grow. Aromasin is a member of a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, which block the enzyme that helps produce estrogen. Aromasin is believed to work by reducing the production of estrogen in the body, thereby slowing the growth of breast cancer.
How do I take it?
Aromasin is a pill taken orally once a day with food at around the same time each day.
Your doctor may test your Vitamin D levels before you begin taking Aromasin. They may also order regular tests to monitor cholesterol, liver function and bone density while you are taking Aromasin.
Women of childbearing age should not handle or breathe dust from Aromasin tablets.
You may need to take Aromasin for several years.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Aromasin.
Exemestane (Aromasin) was approved based on clinical trial results that showed it reduces the risk of tumor progression by 18 percent and increases chances for survival by 23 percent. The study compared the effectiveness of Exemestane to that of Megestrol acetate and found Exemestane to be significantly more beneficial.
According to clinical results published in 2011, Exemestane reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by 65 percent among postmenopausal women at high risk for the disease. This study followed 4,560 women for three years.
Common side effects of Aromasin include hot flashes, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, pain in bones and joints, unusual sweating, arthritis, headache, insomnia, depression, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and peripheral edema (swelling of the lower legs and feet).
Another common side effect of Aromasin is osteoporosis, which contributes to fractures.
Rare but serious side effects of Aromasin can include liver problems and skin reactions such as blisters, ulcers or lesions. Call your doctor immediately if you experience skin problems or liver symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), pain or swelling in your abdomen, or general feelings of unwellness.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions which, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.