NONSTEROIDAL AROMATASE INHIBITORS
Femara is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Femara is used as an adjuvant, or post-surgical, treatment. It reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery. Femara is also used as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. Femara is also known by its drug name, letrozole.
About two-thirds of breast cancers are estrogen receptor-positive, meaning that they require estrogen in order to grow. Femara is a member of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors, which block the enzyme that helps produce estrogen. Femara 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?
Femara is a pill taken orally once a day.
Your doctor may order regular tests to monitor cholesterol, liver function and bone density while you are taking Femara.
You may need to take Femara for several years.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Femara.
Common side effects of Femara include hot flashes, joint pain, flushing, weakness, swelling of the legs and feet, headache, dizziness, high cholesterol, increased sweating, and musculoskeletal pain.
Another common side effect of Femara is osteoporosis, which contributes to fractures.
Rare but serious side effects of Femara can include heart attacks, strokes, liver problems and skin reactions such as blisters, ulcers or lesions. Call your doctor immediately if you experience skin problems, chest pain, feelings of numbness or weakness on one side of your body, sensations of warmth, pain or heaviness in your legs or groin, slurred speech, vision problems or liver symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), pain or swelling in your abdomen, or general feelings of unwellness.
For more information about this treatment, visit:
Femara — Novartis