Exemestane (oral)

Exemestane reduces the quantity of estrogen made by the body and helps to delay or reverse the development of certain breast cancers.

Overview

Exemestane, also known by the brand name Aromasin, reduces the level of estrogen in postmenopausal women, which may slow down the development of some kinds of breast cancers that require estrogen to form in the body.

Exemestane is often administered to women with cancer that has grown even after radiation, surgery, or other cancer medicines have been used without success.

Exemestane can also be taken for other purposes not covered by this medication guide.

Conditions Treated

  • Early breast cancer
  • Advanced breast cancer
  • Breast cancer prevention

Type Of Medicine

  • Antineoplastic agent

Side Effects

Apart from its useful effects, Exemestane may also cause some undesirable effects. While not all the side effects below may occur, those that occur may require medical intervention.

Consult your healthcare specialist right away should any of the side effects below occur while you're using Exemestane.

More common:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Mental depression
  • Tightness in chest
  • Side pain or lower back pain
  • Labored or difficult breathing
  • Swelling of the lower legs, feet, ankles, or hands
  • Less common:
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent desire to urinate
  • Headache
  • Unexplained broken bones
  • Difficult, painful, or burning urination

Incidence unknown:

  • Dark urine
  • Confusion
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Double vision
  • Inability to speak
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irregular breathing
  • Difficulty with speaking
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dilated neck veins
  • Inability to move facial muscles, arms, or legs
  • Itching or rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Slow speech
  • Weight gain
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Yellow eyes/skin
  • Unusual tiredness/weakness

Some Exemestane side effects may happen that normally don't require medical intervention. These effects may disappear during treatment as you adjust to Exemestane. In addition, your healthcare provider may help you with ways to relieve or prevent some of the effects below. Please see your healthcare provider immediately if any of the effects below are bothersome, if they persist, or if you've got queries about them.

More common:

  • Constipation
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Increased sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hot flashes
  • General feeling of illness or discomfort
  • General feeling of weakness or tiredness

Less common:

  • Stomach upset
  • Joint pain
  • Bone pain
  • Back pain
  • Loss of hair
  • Increased appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Generalized weakness
  • Reduced sense of touch
  • Prickly, tingling, or burning sensations

The mineral density of your bones (a gauge of their strength) may reduce while you're using Exemestane. This can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis (a bone condition where the bones are brittle and break easily). Please discuss with your healthcare provider about the hazards associated with taking Exemestane.

Exemestane may bring about other effects not mentioned above. Please call up your healthcare specialist if you get any unusual problems while using this medicine.

Dosage

Take Exemestane exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider. Don't use it in smaller or larger quantities or beyond the recommended period of time. Follow the instructions on the prescription label.

Exemestane is usually used once daily, after a meal. Please try to take Exemestane at the same hour each day.

To get the most out of Exemestane, use it regularly. Have your prescription refilled before it runs out completely. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. You might need to keep using Exemestane for several years (up to 5).

To ensure Exemestane isn't causing harmful effects, you may need regular blood tests. Visit your doctor on a regular basis.

Don't use more than the dose prescribed. If you think you or somebody else has overdosed on Exemestane, visit the emergency and accident section of your nearest hospital. Bring the medication's container, even if it's empty.

Exemestane is for your use only. Don't give it to anyone else even if their problem appears to be like yours.

Interactions

Exemestane may not be as effective if you use it while using patches or birth control pills, or alongside hormone replacement medication.

Tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you take, especially:

  • Bosentan (Tracleer)
  • St John's Wort
  • Dexamethasone (Hexadrol, Decadron)

Rifabutin (Mycobutin), Rifapentine (Priftin), or Rifampin (Rifamate, Rifater, Rifadin)

Medicines to treat HIV, such as Etravirine (Intelence), Efavirenz (Atripla, Sustiva), Ritonavir (Kaletra, Norvir), Nevirapine (Viramune)

A barbiturate like Butabarbital (Butisol), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Secobarbital (Seconal), or Phenobarbital (Solfoton, Luminal)

Medicines for treating narcolepsy, including Modafinil (Progivil), or Armodafinil (Nuvigil)

Seizure medications, such as Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), Primidone (Mysoline), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Felbamate (Felbatol), or Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol).

This list is by no means complete and other medications can interact with Exemestane. Let your healthcare specialist know about all drugs you use. Don't begin a new drug without letting your doctor know.

Exemestane can get into bodily fluids like vomit, urine, and stool. Your caregiver should put on rubber gloves while handling contaminated laundry or trash, cleaning up your body's fluids, or changing diapers. Wash your hands prior to and after taking off gloves. Wash soiled linens and clothing separately from other clothing.

Exemestane may impair your reactions or thinking. Be cautious when driving or doing anything that needs you to be alert.

Warnings

It's vitally important for your doctor to check your progress regularly to ensure that Exemestane is working well. You may need blood tests to check for undesirable effects. It's vital for women to get gynecologic check-ups regularly while using Exemestane.

Some medications aren't suitable for persons with certain medical conditions, and in some cases a medication can only be taken if extra caution is observed. For these reasons, it's important to inform your doctor:

  • If you haven't gone through menopause yet or if there's a likelihood you could get pregnant.
  • If you've got any issues with how your liver functions, or any issues with how your kidneys work.
  • If you've ever had an allergy to any medicine.
  • If you've got 'œbrittle' bones or reduced bone density 'a condition called osteoporosis.
  • If you're using any other drugs. This includes nonprescription, herbal, and complementary medications. Make sure to name any of these: Rifampin (Rifamate, Rifadin, in Rifater), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Phenobarbital, Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol, Carbatrol), medications containing estrogen-like hormonal replacement therapy, as well as hormonal contraceptives (patches, birth control pills, injections, rings). Your healthcare provider may need to alter your doses of medicines or carefully monitor you for side effects.

Inform your doctor what herbal medications you're using, particularly St John's Wort.

Tell your healthcare provider if you've ever had or have osteoporosis (a condition where the bones are brittle and break easily), kidney or liver disease.

Tell your physician if you plan to get pregnant or are pregnant. You'll need a negative result within 1 week before you start using Exemestane. Make sure to prevent pregnancy during your Exemestane treatment by using birth control. Continue to use birth control for a month after your last dose. If you get pregnant while using this medicine, contact your doctor promptly. Exemestane could harm the unborn child.

Inform your physician if you're nursing a baby. You should never breastfeed during your Exemestane treatment and for a month after your last dose.

When used for long, Exemestane may reduce bone mineral density. This can cause osteoporosis or weak bones.

Don't take Exemestane if you're also taking medicines that have estrogen (for example, Premarin, patches or birth control pills, or other medicines used in hormone replacement therapy).

If you have rare hereditary issues like glucose-galactose malabsorption, sucrose-isomaltase insufficiency, or fructose intolerance, don't take Exemestane.

More often than not, Exemestane side effects may be managed or controlled. However, they can be bothersome for a few individuals. If this happens, be sure to consult your cancer nurse or doctor. They can usually recommend ways to alleviate your side effects. Go back to your cancer nurse or doctor if things don't get better. They may suggest something else.

It is vital to not stop using Exemestane without informing your healthcare provider, as this can impact the success of treatment. If your side effects cannot be controlled, your doctor may recommend that you use a different kind of hormonal therapy.

Do not get any sort of vaccination or immunization without your physician's approval while using Exemestane.

Always inform your dentist that you're using Exemestane before undergoing any dental treatment.

Exemestane can make you a bit nauseous. If this happens, use anti-nausea medicines prescribed by your physician and have small meals frequently. Sucking on chewing gum and lozenges can also help.

In general, you should minimize your intake of alcoholic drinks or avoid it altogether while taking Exemestane. Be sure to talk about this with your healthcare provider.

If you're having hot flashes, staying somewhere cool, wearing light clothing, and wearing cool pieces of cloth on your head can reduce symptoms. If hot flashes get worse or become unbearable, consult your healthcare professional.

Exemestane can make you feel dizzy, weak, or sleepy and may therefore affect your physical or mental ability to safely operate machines or drive. Make sure you are aware of how you respond to Exemestane before operating machinery or driving.

Storage

  • Keep Exemestane out of children's reach.
  • Keep Exemestane in a sealed container, away from direct light, heat, and moisture.
  • Keep Exemestane from freezing.
  • Don't keep outdated Exemestane or medication no longer needed.
  • Ask your healthcare provider how you should get rid of any drug you don't need.

Summary

Don't miss any regular appointment with your clinic and doctor. This is to help your doctor monitor your progress. Exemestane decreases the amount of female hormones (estrogen) in the body, which can weaken your bones. You may need bone density exams to find out this prior to and during treatment.

If you're due to have any dental treatment or surgery, please tell the person treating you that you're using Exemestane.

If you buy any over-the-counter medicines, consult your doctor to ensure that they're safe to use with prescribed medicines.

Don't take this medication if you're pregnant. It may harm your unborn child or lead to a com/health/miscarriage/">miscarriage.

You may need a pregnancy test prior to taking Exemestane to ensure you aren't pregnant.

You shouldn't use Exemestane if you're allergic to it, or if you're nursing an infant.

Before taking Exemestane, let your healthcare professional know if you have kidney/liver disease, or if you've not finished menopause yet and are still getting menstrual periods.

To get the most out of Exemestane, use it on a regular basis. Before you completely run out of Exemestane, have your prescription filled. You may have to keep using Exemestane for several years (up to 5). Please follow your doctor's directions.

Exemestane may not be as effective if you use it alongside hormone replacement medicine, or while using patches or birth control pills.

This medicine may impair your reactions and thinking. Be cautious when driving or carrying out any activity that needs alertness.

Exemestane is normally not suitable for any woman of childbearing age.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
March 26, 2018
Last Updated:
April 13, 2018
Content Source: