|Type of medicine||Hormone antagonist|
|Used for||Treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women|
Some breast cancers need the hormone oestrogen to grow. In women who have had their menopause, the main source of oestrogen is through the change of the sex hormone androgen into oestrogen. Exemestane works by preventing this change, therefore reducing the amount of oestrogen in the body.
Before taking exemestane
Before taking exemestane make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have not gone through the menopause or if there is a possibility you might be pregnant.
- If you have osteoporosis (a loss of bone density or 'brittle bones').
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines. It is particularly important that your doctor knows if you are taking oestrogen-containing medicines, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take exemestane
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take exemestane exactly as your doctor has told you to. Try to take your dose at the same time each day.
- Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water. Take it with or straight after a meal.
- If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue at the normal time the next day. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
- You will probably need to take exemestane for a number of years.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored
- Before having any kind of medical treatment, including dental or emergency treatment, tell the person treating you that you are taking exemestane.
- Exemestane lowers the levels of female hormones in the body which can reduce the strength of your bones. You may be required to have bone density tests before and during your treatment.
- Do not stop taking exemestane even if you are feeling well, unless your doctor tells you to.
Can exemestane cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Very common and common side-effects
(Very common side-effects may affect more than 10% of people taking this medicine, and common side-effects may affect more than 1% of people)
|What can I do if I experience this|
|Hot flushes||Wear light clothes and try to keep yourself cool|
|Dizziness, tiredness||Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert|
|Feeling sick, being sick, indigestion, abdominal pain||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist or doctor to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6 - 8 glasses of water each day|
|Loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, depression, loss or thinning of the hair, increased sweating, skin rash, joint and muscle pain, swollen hands or feet||If any of these side-effects continue or become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store exemestane
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Aromasin® Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Aromasin® Tablets, Pharmacia Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 23/03/2011||Document ID: 3786 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.