Cancers, for example, breast cancer, need estrogen hormone to spread. Therefore, aromatase inhibitors such as Letrozole are used to treat and prevent breast cancer since they minimize estrogen levels in the body, slowing development of cancer cells. It’s crucial to note the drug is used in menopausal women. Why is it used in menopausal women? The drug may trigger ovulation in women of childbearing age and an unwanted pregnancy may occur. So, if the doctor prescribes the drug and haven’t reached menopause, you must use birth control which is non-hormonal for example, condom or diaphragm in combination with a spermicide; request the physician to advise you on the best non-hormonal birth control.
Why the Doctor May Prescribe Letrozole
Letrozole 2.5 mg is the normal dosage which is used and is available in the form of a tablet which is taken once per day or as instructed by the health care provider. Apart from treating cancer, the doctor may administer Letrozole in the following cases:
- To treat infertility as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – the medicine is more effective than Clomid to trigger ovulation in women with PCOS.
- If a woman dealing with unexplained fertility and is resistant to Clomid – Clomid resistance occurs when Clomid fails to stimulate ovulation in at least three fertility cycles, even after giving Letrozole 2.5 mg infertility in higher dosage.
- Combination with Clomid for better results
Letrozole is the generic name, whereas Femara is the brand name, ideally, Femara and Letrozole is the same medicine. Before you start the treatment with Letrozole, you must inform the fertility expert once you start menstruating. To ascertain you are not pregnant, the medical care provider performs a pregnancy test since this medication may cause birth defects to the child you are expecting. If you are not sure when to expect the next period, let the physician know. Once everything is in order, the health care provider advises you to start taking the drug either on the 3rd to the 7th day of the cycle or the 5th to the 9th day, whichever the option, the success rate are the same. If taking Clomid with generic Letrozole, you must take the pills at the same time daily, if uncertain, consult the doctor for confirmation. On day 12 to 15 day of the menstrual cycle, you may undertake some test such as ultrasound to check if the stimulation has been successful.
After you have been on Femara 2.5 mg (Letrozole) for three to six cycles without becoming pregnant; even after taking three or four tablets per day, other fertility factors must be considered, thus additional testing like laparoscopy may be ordered by the fertility specialist. In case you have PCOS, the doctor may put you on Metformin to increase chances of conception.
As with other medicines, while on Letrozole, you at risk of its side effects. Mostly, the unwanted effects are minor and temporal since they resolve without the doctor's intervention and include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Blurred vision
- Hot flashes
Severe side effects of this drug are a rare occurrence. However, since they can happen, they should not be ignored and your doctor will inform you on what to expect on the serious side effects as well as which may need the doctor’s attention. There are three unwanted effects which one must be aware of and they are:
- Giving birth to twins, triplets or more
- Chances of getting ovarian cancer happening
- OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) – may be severe or mild
How to Take
Letrozole is an oral tablet taken with a glass of water, with or without food. Take the medicine at regular intervals, as per the doctor’s direction. You shouldn’t use the drug under the following circumstances:
- If you have a condition known as primary ovarian insufficiency
- Facing age-related infertility
- If your spouse (the man) is infertile
- If your fallopian tubes are blocked
- You are breastfeeding, it can pass through breast milk and the medication side effects may harm the baby
- If pregnant; even if you suspect you are pregnant
What to Do Before Taking This Drug
The medication may not be suitable if you have some medical conditions and if the drug is given, the doctor should be aware of the health conditions; he will monitor you regularly to ensure you get the most from the drug and advise you to stop taking tablets for the sake of your health. Therefore, inform the doctor of the following situations:
- Haven’t reached menopause or if you have gone through menopause recently
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- You have brittle bones or osteoporosis
- Have had an allergic reaction to a particular medicine
- Taking other medication even nonprescription drugs or herbal medicines
- If you have a scheduled operation or dental treatment
- If you are an alcoholic
- If you are on a hormonal replacement therapy
Self Care Tips During the Drug Treatment
After having a discussion with your doctor and he prescribes Letrozole, below are health care tips which may be helpful:
- If you experience night sweats, to relieve this, wear light clothes or place a washcloth on the forehead.
- Nausea may be bothersome, eat small meals frequently, chew gum and if the side effect nausea persists, contact the doctor to prescribe anti-nausea medication.
- Resting should be your priority as you take this medication
- Eat healthy foods; remember the medication can lead to excessive weight gain and good nutrition is crucial. You can request the health practitioner to refer you to a nutritionist.
- If you feel drowsy, don’t do anything that requires mental alertness such as driving or using machinery; to prevent fainting spells, avoid sitting or standing promptly.
- Don’t miss the scheduled appointments at the doctor’s office- the visits are important as you may undertake some laboratory tests to monitor the progress as you use the drug.
- If you experience side effects of the medication which may be severe or irritating, contact the doctor
The price of Letrozole 2.5 mg differs from one pharmacy to another. You have two options to buy these oral tablets, first, ask the doctor the best reputable pharmacy within your locality or you can purchase the drug online. But bear in mind a prescription from the physician is required.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be considered as medical advice. YouDrugstore does not endorse or approve the opinions or views expressed by any contributing author in our community articles. Always consult your doctor for medical advice.