Femara (letrozole) is used to treat postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer uses the hormone estrogen as fuel. Femara reduces the amount of estrogen in a woman’s body to slow the growth of this cancer. Femara can also decrease the risk of the cancer returning or spreading to other parts of the body.
Femara may make you feel dizzy or drowsy. Read More »
Femara reduces the risk of your breast cancer coming back or spreading to other parts of your body. Read More »
Your cholesterol levels may increase while you take Femara. Read More »
Femara may cause your muscles to hurt and your joints to stiffen and become less flexible. Read More »
While taking Femara, you may have hot flashes and night sweats. Read More »
Femara causes a small risk of problems such as blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Read More »
You may feel nauseous while taking Femara. Read More »
While taking Femara, your bones may get weaker. Read More »
Dizziness or drowsiness
Decreased breast cancer risks
Increased cholesterol
Muscle pain and joint stiffness
Hot flashes and night sweats
Blood clots, stroke, and heart attack
Bone loss
Femara is a drug called an aromatase inhibitor. It works by blocking the body’s aromatase enzyme. This enzyme makes estrogen in fat tissue and other parts of your body. Before menopause, most estrogen is produced in the ovaries. But after menopause, estrogen is produced in fat tissue. That’s why Femara is prescribed only for postmenopausal women. Femara would not affect the cancer in women who produce estrogen in the ovaries. By blocking the aromatase enzyme, Femara blocks the body’s production of the estrogen “fuel” needed by breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Femara can be used before and after surgery in women who have early stage breast cancer. It can also be used in women who have more advanced breast cancer. Femara is typically prescribed for several years. It’s taken by mouth as a 2.5-mg tablet once per day. As it fights your cancer, Femara can affect many different parts of your body. The main effects, both positive and negative, are described below.

Nervous system

Some people feel dizzy or drowsy when taking Femara. To prevent dizziness, be sure to move slowly when you stand up or sit up. Also, avoid driving until you know you can function normally while taking Femara. If dizziness or drowsiness becomes a problem for you, call your doctor.

Endocrine system

Femara reduces the amount of estrogen in the body, so it takes away the trigger that causes hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to grow. This can prevent breast cancer from returning after treatment. It can also keep breast cancer from spreading to other body parts. Femara may increase your cholesterol levels. This is because lower estrogen levels can lead to increased cholesterol levels. Your doctor may monitor your cholesterol levels while you take Femara. You may have hot flashes and night sweats during your treatment with Femara. This is also due to lower estrogen levels. Lightweight clothing, a cool environment, or a cool washcloth on your forehead may help relieve these problems. Call your doctor if your symptoms are severe.

Musculoskeletal system

Estrogen helps keep your bones strong. Because Femara reduces the amount of estrogen in your body, this drug may cause bone loss. Bone loss raises your risk of broken bones. During your treatment with Femara, your doctor may monitor your bone density, which includes the amount of calcium and other minerals within your bones. The density of your bones reflects how strong they are. Femara may cause muscle pain and joint stiffness. In rare cases, this effect can be severe and cause people to switch to a different drug or stop treatment. Call your doctor if you have pain or stiffness that is severe or doesn’t go away.

Cardiovascular system

In rare cases, Femara can cause serious cardiovascular problems. These can include blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Certain people are at higher risk of these problems. These include people with a personal or family history of heart problems such as heart attack or high blood pressure. The exact cause of these cardiovascular problems is not fully understood. It could be due to the increased cholesterol levels that Femara can cause. If you have any of these symptoms call your doctor or 911 right away.

Symptoms of a stroke

  • trouble speaking
  • blurry vision
  • muscle weakness
  • being unable to move part of your face or body

Symptoms of a heart attack

  • chest pain or tightness
  • pain in the jaw or left arm
  • dizziness
  • nausea

Symptoms of a blood clot

  • leg pain
  • swelling, redness, and warmth on your legs

Reproductive system

Femara can cause birth defects. Pregnant women should not take Femara. If you’re pregnant and take Femara, the drug can harm your pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you’re pregnant or may become pregnant.

Digestive system

You may have nausea while taking Femara. You can reduce nausea by eating small meals often. Chewing gum or antinausea medications may also help. Call your doctor if you’re concerned about nausea.