Exemestane (trade name Aromasin) is a drug used to treat breast cancer. It is a member of the class of drugs known as aromatase inhibitors. Some breast cancers require estrogen to grow. Those cancers have estrogen receptors (ERs), and are called ER-positive. They may also be called estrogen-responsive, hormonally-responsive, or hormone-receptor-positive. Aromatase is an enzyme that synthesizes estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors block the synthesis of estrogen. This lowers the estrogen level, and slows the growth of cancers.
Exemestane lowers estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, which may slow the growth of certain types of breast tumors that need estrogen to grow in the body.
Exemestane is used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is often given to women whose cancer has progressed even after surgery, radiation, or other cancer medications have been tried without success.
Exemestane may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to exemestane, if you have not started menopause, or if you are pregnant or able to become pregnant.
Do not use exemestane if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.
You should not use exemestane if you are allergic to it, or:
if you are pregnant or able to become pregnant; or
if you have not yet completed menopause, and are still having menstrual periods.
To make sure exemestane is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease; or
Exemestane can decrease bone mineral density, which may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk of bone loss.
FDA pregnancy category X. Exemestane is not for use in women of child-bearing age. Do not use exemestane if you are pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.
You may need to take a pregnancy test before using exemestane, to make sure you are not pregnant.
It is not known whether exemestane passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Exemestane is usually taken once per day, after a meal. Try to take the medicine at the same time each day.
Use exemestane regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. You may need to keep taking take this medication for up to 5 years.
While using exemestane, you may need frequent blood tests.
Store in the original container at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
new or unusual bone pain;
swelling in your hands or feet;
feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion; or
chest pain, sudden numbness or weakness, sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance.
Common side effects may include:
Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:
For early and advanced breast cancer:
Recommended dose: 25 mg orally once daily after a meal.
In postmenopausal women with early breast cancer who have been treated with two to three years of tamoxifen, treatment with exemestane should continue in the absence of recurrence or contralateral breast cancer until completion of five years of adjuvant endocrine therapy.
For patients with advanced breast cancer, treatment with exemestane should continue until tumor progression is evident.
Other drugs may interact with exemestane, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
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