What is this medicine?
Exemestane lowers estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, which may slow the growth of certain types of breast tumors that need estrogen to grow in the body. Exemestane is used to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It is often given to women whose cancer has progressed even after surgery, radiation, or other cancer medications have been tried without success. Exemestane may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I tell my health care providers before I take this medicine?
You should not use exemestane if you are allergic to it, or:
- if you are pregnant or able to become pregnant; or
- if you have not yet completed menopause, and are still having menstrual periods.
To make sure exemestane is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease; or
- kidney disease.
Exemestane can decrease bone mineral density, which may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk of bone loss.
Although it is not likely that a postmenopausal woman would be pregnant, exemestane can cause birth defects. Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. Use effective birth control if you are not past menopause, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.
You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.
It is not known whether exemestane passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I use this medicine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Exemestane is usually taken once per day, after a meal. Try to take the medicine at the same time each day.
While using exemestane, you may need frequent blood tests.
Use exemestane regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. You may need to keep taking take this medication for up to 5 years.
What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What may interact with this medicine?
Other drugs may interact with exemestane, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
What side effects may I notice from this medicine?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- new or unusual bone pain;
- swelling in your hands or feet;
- feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion; or
- chest pain, sudden numbness or weakness, sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance.
Common side effects may include:
- hot flashes;
- headache, tired feeling;
- joint pain;
- nausea, increased appetite;
- sleep problems (insomnia); or
- increased sweating.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient’s body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry. This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Where should I keep this medicine?
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.