Letrozole is a specific medication for certain types of breast cancer (uncontrolled growth of cells) detected in women after menopause (cessation of menstrual cycle). This drug is helpful in recurrent breast cancer i.e. it helps in preventing the cancer from returning. In postmenopausal women, naturally secreted hormone (estrogen) is responsible for breast cancer, which helps the tumor to grow faster. Sometimes, Letrozole is used in treatment of other health conditions such as infertility and gynecomastia.
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Letrozole is a non-steroidal aromatase (an enzyme that synthesizes estrogen) inhibitor. The systematic name of this ingredient is 4, 4’-((1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)methylene)dibenzonitrile. The chemical formula of this drug is C17H11N5 and molecular mass is 285.303 g/mol. This ingredient is available in white to yellow crystalline powder. It is odorless, water-insoluble, slightly soluble in ethyl alcohol and freely soluble in methylene chloride.
The growth and development of certain breast cancers are stimulated and sustained by estrogens (female hormones), which are derived from the action of an enzyme aromatase. It becomes essential to inhibit the aromatase enzyme in order to decrease estrogen level. Letrozole does exactly the same; thereby, reducing the tumor mass and progression.
One should thoroughly go through the directions given in the patient information booklet before undergoing Letrozole therapy.
Ask the physician or pharmacist if you are unable to understand any directions.
It is highly recommended to consult your physician before or while consuming this medicine.
You should take one tablet orally, usually once in a day with or without meal or as directed by your physician.
Try to take this medicine each day at the same time, which will help you remember the dosage timing of this medicine.
The dosage and directions of Letrozole is based on the patient’s disease stage and response to the medication.
You should use Letrozole medication regularly without missing any dose and under the supervision of your physician to achieve desired results.
The storage of this drug is of utmost importance, you should store this drug in cool, dry place, and the surrounding temperature should me approximately 25°C. Keep this anti-neoplastic drug away from the children.
You should not take this drug if you are sensitive or allergic to Letrozole; inform your physician right away.
If you are allergic to any other drugs or you are undergoing treatment for any other medical issues, tell your health care provider before using this potent therapeutic drug.
Tell your physician if you are suffering from any medical conditions such as stroke, heart diseases, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia (high levels of fats in blood), bone issues (such as osteoporosis or osteopenia), blood disorders (such as bleeding or clotting problems), and kidney or liver problems.
During the treatment of this drug, one may experience tiredness and dizziness with blurry vision. Hence, you should not perform any physical activities such as driving or riding a vehicle, while taking this drug.
You should not consume alcohol or any other stimulants with this medication.
In case if you overdose with Letrozole, immediately get in touch with the consulting healthcare practitioner for medical intervention.
The anti-cancer drug can pass through body fluids; hence, caregivers should be cautious while handling the patient by using gloves, sanitizers, etc.
This medication is contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding. As this drug may harm the fetus (unborn baby), as it has the capability to enter the body through skin or lungs (by inhaling the dust of this drug).
In nursing mothers, breast-feeding while undergoing this drug therapy is not advisable. Hence, it is mandatory to consult your physician before taking this drug, during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Usually, the duration of treatment with Letrozole may extend up to five years, depending on the stage and progression of the malignancy. In advances cases, one may require to take it for longer duration until the malignant lump is completely reduced. Therefore, it is recommended to use it according to the medical professional and without skipping or missing the dose.
Probable Side Effects
You may suffer from side effects of Letrozole, such as –
Muscle or joint pain
Mood changes (anxiety or depression)
Coughing of blood.
If these symptoms persist and trouble you, inform your physician for further medical evaluation.
Antacids, anti-coagulants and other antineoplastic drugs may interact adversely if taken with Letrozole. Hence, inform your doctor about prescription or OTC drugs, multivitamins and herbal supplements, etc. This will help prevent drug interactions and health complications.
Patients having or have had following medical problems are not advised to use Letrozole -