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Generic Name:

fulvestrant, Injectable solution

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  • FASLODEX
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for fulvestrant

Injectable solution
1

Fulvestrant is an injected medication used to treat breast cancer in women who have gone through menopause (postmenopausal). It’s used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer that has progressed after other anti-estrogen therapy has been used. It’s also used with the drug palbociclib to treat hormone receptor-negative breast cancer that’s progressed or spread after other endocrine treatment has been used.

2

This drug is given as an injection into your muscle. It’s given to you by a doctor or nurse in a clinic or hospital. You won’t take this medicine at home.

3

Fulvestrant should be used with caution if you’re taking blood thinners, are at risk for bleeding, or have low platelet levels in your blood. These factors can increase your risk of bleeding with injections.

4

Fulvestrant is cleared from your body by your liver. If you have decreased liver function, your doctor may give you a lower dose or not give you the drug. This is to stop too much of the medicine from building up in your blood, which causes side effects.

5

Common side effects include injection site pain, nausea, muscle, joint, and bone pain, headache, tiredness, hot flashes, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, cough, constipation, shortness of breath, and increased liver enzymes.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Risk of bleeding

This drug is injected into your muscle. Low levels of platelets in your blood can cause you to bleed too much. Your risk of bleeding may be higher if you’re taking blood thinners or prone to bleeding.

Liver problems

If you have liver problems, your doctor may give you a lower dose of this drug. This drug is cleared from your body by your liver. A lower dose may stop too much of the medicine from building up in your blood, which can increase the chance for side effects. Your doctor may not give you this drug if you have severe liver disease.

Pregnancy

Don’t take this drug if you‘re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to your pregnancy. Use effective birth control during treatment with this drug and for one year after your treatment ends.

What is fulvestrant?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as a solution for injection, which is only given by a healthcare provider. You won’t take this drug at home.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

This drug is a prescription medicine used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It’s only used in women who have gone through menopause and whose cancer has progressed after treatment with an anti-estrogen medicine. It’s also used with the drug palbociclib to treat hormone receptor-negative breast cancer that has progressed or spread after other endocrine treatment has been used.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called anti-androgens or estrogen antagonists. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called anti-androgens or estrogen antagonists. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Certain types of breast cancer require estrogen, a female hormone, to grow. This drug blocks the effect of estrogen on estrogen receptor-positive tumors. This may slow the growth of tumors that are stimulated by estrogen.

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SECTION 2 of 4

fulvestrant Side Effects

Injectable solution

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with fulvestrant therapy include:

  • injection site pain

  • nausea

  • muscle, joint, and bone pain

  • headache

  • tiredness

  • hot flashes

  • vomiting

  • loss of appetite

  • weakness

  • cough

  • constipation

  • shortness of breath

  • increased liver enzymes

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • Injection reactions, such as sciatica, neuralgia, neuropathic pain, and peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms typically occur in the legs and can include:

    • numbness or tingling
    • muscle weakness
  • Allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

    • itching
    • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
    • trouble breathing
    • skin rash
    • hives
    • fever
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

fulvestrant May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable solution

Fulvestrant can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
blood disorders
People with blood disorders

This drug is injected into your muscle. Low levels of platelets in your blood or being prone to bleeding can cause too much bleeding.

liver problems
People with liver problems

This drug is cleared from your body by your liver. Your doctor may give you a lower dose to stop too much of the medicine from building up in your blood, which can increase the chance for side effects. Your doctor may not give you this drug if you have severe liver disease.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific harm that may be done to your pregnancy. Be sure to use effective birth control during treatment with this drug and for one year after your treatment ends.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes into human breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breastfeed.

for children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in people younger than 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • itching
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • trouble breathing
  • skin rash
  • hives
  • fever

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take fulvestrant (Dosage)

Injectable solution

Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take it at all or skip or miss doses/appointments

Missing a dose could affect your treatment outcome. In order to effectively fight cancer, it’s important to receive your injections on the right day.

If you take too much

If you take too much, you’re at a higher risk for developing side effects, such as nausea, musculoskeletal pain, headache, tiredness, hot flashes, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, cough, constipation, and shortness of breath. If you take too much, and experience any of these side effects, call your doctor and go to the emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose/appointment

If you can’t make your appointment or miss your appointment, contact your doctor right away.

How to tell the drug is working

If this drug is working, the growth of your breast cancer may slow down or stop. Your doctor will do tests and evaluate your symptoms to tell if this drug is working.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Be sure to keep all of your appointments.

You’ll receive your medicine at your doctor’s office on days 1, 15, and 29 of your first month of treatment. You’ll receive it once per month after that.

How long does it take?

The injection itself takes 1–2 minutes. However, your appointment may take longer than that, because the medication needs to be out of the refrigerator for at least an hour. Also, it should be rolled gently between the hands before the administration.

Can I drive home after?

You should be able to drive home after treatment.

Travel

Your injections are given at your doctor’s office. It’s very important to stay on schedule with your injections. You may need to plan your travel around your injection schedule. Talk to your doctor when you’re planning your trip.

Your doctor may do additional tests

Your doctor will check to see if you’re still reporting symptoms before therapy. They’ll also look at tumor markers or PET, CT, or MRI scans to see how well your breast cancer is responding to this drug.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may monitor you. Before starting and during treatment with this drug, your doctor may check your:

  • previously reported symptoms
  • tumor markers
  • PET, CT, or MRI scans
  • liver function. Your doctor may check your liver function before treatment to see if you need to use a lower dose. They may also check your liver function during treatment to make sure your liver is working well and that you aren’t having any side effects.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.


Show Sources

  • Faslodex – fulvestrant injection. (2016, July). Retrieved from <"a href="http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/021344s029lbl.pdf">http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/021344s029lbl.pdf

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 21, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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