Exemestane (By mouth)
Treats early and advanced breast cancer in women who have stopped menstruating (postmenopausal).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to exemestane, if you are pregnant, or if you have not stopped menstruating (premenopausal).
How to Use This Medicine
- Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Take this medicine after a meal. Use it at the same time each day.
- Do not stop using this medicine until your doctor tells you to. When your supply of this medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Exemestane should not be used with hormone medicine that contains estrogen (such as Premarin®), birth control pills or patches, or other hormone replacement therapy.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using carbamazepine (Tegretol®), phenobarbital (Luminal®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), rifampicin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), or St. John's wort.
Warnings While Using 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 think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have a history of bone marrow problems (such as lymphocytopenia) or bone problems (such as osteoporosis).
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- 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.
- Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you start having chest pains or shortness of breath. This medicine may cause some people to have heart problems, but this does not occur very often.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. 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.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain, shortness of breath, trouble with breathing, or wheezing.
- Difficulty with speaking.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Pain or burning with urination.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Blurred vision.
- Dizziness or confusion.
- Feeling weak, tired, or depressed.
- Hair loss.
- Hot flashes.
- Increased sweating.
- Joint, muscle, or bone pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, or stomach upset.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Trouble with sleeping.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
This page was last updated: September 18, 2013