Letrozole blocks the formation of the hormone estrogen.
Letrozole is for the treatment of Breast Cancer in postmenopausal women only.
Letrozole is only effective in postmenopausal women, since before the menopause, oestrogen is mainly produced directly by the ovaries and not by the action of the aromatase enzyme.
Letrozole is only effective in treating breast cancers that are sensitive to oestrogen.
Letrozole prevents this conversion by blocking the action of the aromatase enzyme.
Letrozole tablets contain the active ingredient letrozole, which is a type of drug called an aromatase inhibitor.
Letrozole works by preventing the action of an enzyme in the body called the aromatase enzyme.
By lowering the levels of oestrogen in the body, letrozole starves the breast cancer cells and stops them from growing.
Most breast cancers are sensitive to oestrogen, and their growth is stimulated by this hormone.
Some types of Breast Cancer need estrogen, and letrozole stops tumor growth by decreasing estrogen levels.
The aromatase enzyme is involved in producing the female sex hormone, oestrogen, in women who have gone through the menopause.
The enzyme converts the sex hormones androstenedione, and testosterone, into oestrogen.
This causes a reduction in oestrogen levels.
Letrozole is prescribed for:
- Advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women, either as first-line treatment or where other anti-oestrogen drugs have not been effective;
- Following five years standard treatment with tamoxifen for early invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women, to reduce chances of the cancer returning;
- Immediately following surgery for hormone receptor positive early invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women, to reduce chances of the cancer returning;
- Pre-operative treatment of localised hormone receptor positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women, to shrink the cancer and allow breast-conserving surgery;
Letrozole side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
- Weight gain;
- Weakness or tiredness;
- Vaginal bleeding, discharge or dryness;
- Urinary tract infection;
- Tumour pain;
- Swelling of the legs and ankles due to excess fluid retention;
- Stomach pain or upset stomach;
- Skin rash;
- Rash, dry skin or itching;
- Raised cholesterol levels;
- Pain in muscles or joints;
- Nausea vomiting;
- Memory impairment;
- Loss of appetite;
- Leg pain or swelling;
- Increased sweating;
- Hot flushes;
- Hair loss;
- Disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain;
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Difficulty in breathing;
- Diarrhea or constipation;
- Depression or anxiety;
- Cough or throat infection;
- Chest pain;
- Change in appetite;
- Back or bone pain;
- Awareness of your heartbeat;
Letrozole is contraindicated if you have any of the following conditions:
- An unusual or allergic reaction to letrozole other medicines foods dyes or preservatives;
- Liver disease;
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant;
Other Brand Names
In some countries Letrozole may also be known as: