Letrozone, which is sold through the brand name Femara, is a generic medicine that can be used to treat hormonally responsive breast cancer after surgery. The use of Letrozone for medical use has been approved by the US FDA in 1997. Letrozone is an anti-estrogen medication that is most effective on postmenopausal women who suffer from breast cancer.
Letrozone is a prescription medicine that inhibits the enzymes produced by the adrenal glands, which are the main sources of circulating estrogen. This drug may not be used by pregnant and lactating women as the medication may damage the fetus and possibly be secreted into the breast milk and harm the infant.
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Aside from possibly treating breast cancer, Letrozone may also be used to address fertility issues among women, more particularly those with ovulation problems. Research also shows that it may also be beneficial for women with unexplained fertility problems.
Letrozone may induce ovulation by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme while increasing the output of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in the process. The increase in FSH results in the development of mature follicles in the ovary, which will then lead to the ovulation of eggs. This is the reason why multiple births may occur while on Letrozone. Women could ovulate on their own as the drug works to stimulate another follicle. This leads to the release of multiple eggs. Such condition is called controlled ovarian hyperstimulation or simply superovulation.
How Letrozone Works
To address breast cancer, Letrozone works by decreasing the amount of estrogen that the body generates. As a result, it is known to help hormone-receptor positive breast cancer patients. Such is the type of breast cancer that tends to accelerate due to the natural actions of the female hormone, estrogen.
However, there are certain risks and side effects associated with the use of Letrozone. The first and most significant finding is the higher incident of birth defects. In a study conducted by a few Canadian fertility doctors, it was determined that compared to other prescription drugs with similar effect, there’s a higher incident of birth defects among pregnancies arising from the use of Letrozone.
Its less severe side effects include hot flashes, muscle pains, and sleeping troubles. Additionally, it may also cause blood clotting, fainting, confusion, and slurred speech. Be sure to consult with a doctor prior to taking the drug. It is important that physicians are well-informed of the medical history of their patients.
Doctors should know of any allergy, underlying health condition, and maintenance drug being used as these may interfere with the effects of the drug. For one thing, Letrozone may worsen osteoporosis and other bone problems.
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