Health Guide
Drug Guide

Exemestane (Oral route)

Pronunciation:

ex-e-MES-tane

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Antineoplastic Agent

Pharmacologic

Aromatase Inhibitor

Uses of This Medicine:

Exemestane is used to treat early and advanced breast cancer in women who have already stopped menstruating (postmenopausal). It is usually used in women who have already received a cancer medication called tamoxifen.

Many breast cancer tumors grow in response to estrogen. Exemestane interferes with the production of estrogen in the body. As a result, the amount of estrogen that the tumor is exposed to is reduced, which will limit the growth of the tumor.

Before you begin treatment with exemestane, you and your doctor should talk about the benefits this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, exemestane is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of exemestane in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of exemestane in the elderly.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. The exact amount of medicine you need has been carefully worked out. Using too much may increase the chance of side effects, while using too little may not improve your condition.

This medicine comes with a patient information insert. Read and follow the instructions in the insert carefully. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

Take this medicine after a meal.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects. It is important for women to have regular gynecologic check-ups while taking this medicine.

It is unlikely that a postmenopausal woman may become pregnant. But, you should know that using this medicine while you are pregnant could harm your unborn baby. If you are a woman who can bear children, your doctor may give you a pregnancy test 7 days before you start using this medicine to make sure you are not pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for 1 month after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, call your doctor right away.

This medicine may decrease bone mineral density when used for a long time. A low bone mineral density can cause weak bones or osteoporosis. If you have any questions about this, talk to your doctor.

Do not take this medicine if you are also using medicines that contain estrogen (eg, Premarin®), birth control pills or patches, or other medicines used for hormone replacement therapy.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Cough or hoarseness
difficult or labored breathing
fever or chills
lower back or side pain
mental depression
swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
tightness in the chest
Less common
Chest pain
difficult, burning, or painful urination
frequent urge to urinate
headache
sore throat
unexplained broken bones
Incidence not known
Abdominal or stomach pain
clay-colored stools
confusion
dark urine
decreased urine output
diarrhea
difficulty with speaking
dilated neck veins
dizziness
double vision
inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
inability to speak
irregular breathing
irregular heartbeat
itching or rash
loss of appetite
nausea
slow speech
unpleasant breath odor
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting of blood
weight gain
yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Anxiety
constipation
general feeling of discomfort or illness
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
hot flashes
increased sweating
pain
trouble sleeping
Less common
Back pain
bone pain
burning, tingling, or prickly sensations
decreased sense of touch
increased appetite
joint pain
loss of hair
runny nose
stomach upset
weakness, generalized

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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