Exemestane

Exemestane treats advanced breast cancer. It is taken after a meal.

Exemestane Overview

Reviewed: September 18, 2012
Updated: 

Exemestane is a prescription medication used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women previously treated with tamoxifen. Exemestane belongs to a group of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. These medications work by lowering estrogen levels which may slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer. 

Exemestane comes in tablet form and is taken once a day, after a meal. 
 
Common side effects of exemestane include hot flashes, headache, tiredness and difficulty sleeping. 

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Exemestane Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Exemestane

Exemestane is a prescription medication used in women who are past menopause. It is used in:

Early breast cancer (cancer that has not spread outside the breast). It is for women who:

  • Have cancer that needs the female hormone estrogen to grow

  • Had surgery for breast cancer, and possibly other treatments for breast cancer including radiation or chemotherapy

  • Have taken tamoxifen for 2 to 3 years

  • Are switching to exemestane to finish 5 years in a row of hormonal therapy

Advanced breast cancer (cancer that has spread), to treat cancer that came back after treatment with tamoxifen.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

 

Exemestane Brand Names

Exemestane may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Exemestane Drug Class

Exemestane is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Exemestane

Serious side effects have been reported. See "Exemestane Precautions" section.

Common Side Effects

  • hot flashes
  • headache
  • depression
  • difficulty in breathing
  • feeling tired
  • trouble sleeping
  • feeling anxious
  • joint pain
  • increased sweating
  • upset stomach

Your doctor may do blood tests to check your liver and kidney function during treatment.

These are not all the side effects with exemestane. Ask your cancer nurse or doctor for a more complete list.

 

 

Exemestane Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. Include prescription and nonprescription medicines, herbal remedies, and vitamins. exemestane and other medicines may affect how each other work.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you take:

  • Medicines with estrogen, such as Premarin, other hormone replacement therapy, or birth control pills or patches. Exemestane should not be taken with these medicines as they could affect how well exemestane works.
  • Rifadin (rifampin)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin), Tegretol (carbamazepine), or Luminal (phenobarbital)
  • St. John's wort

Know what medicines you take. Keep a list of them with you. Show it to your doctor or pharmacist each time you get a new prescription.

 

Exemestane Precautions

Serious Side Effects:

  • Bone loss. Exemestane may reduce your bone mineral density (BMD) over time. This may raise your risk for bone fractures.
  • Chest pain, heart failure, or stroke. A small number of women had chest pain, heart failure, or a stroke while taking exemestane.

Do not take exemestane if you are allergic to it or anything of its inactive incredients.

 

Exemestane Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of exemestane there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving exemestane.

 

Inform MD

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions. Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Are still having menstrual periods (are not past menopause). Exemestane is only for women who are past menopause.
  • Are pregnant or could be pregnant. Taking exemestane during pregnancy may cause birth defects or miscarriage.
  • Are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with exemestane.
  • Have liver or kidney problems.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. Include prescription and nonprescription medicines, herbal remedies, and vitamins. Exemestane and other medicines may affect how each other work.

 

Exemestane and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or could be pregnant. Taking exemestane during pregnancy may cause birth defects or miscarriage.

Exemestane and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with exemestane.

Exemestane Usage

  • Take your dose of exemestane once a day, every day, after a meal. Exemestane comes in 25 mg tablets you take by mouth. Your doctor will tell you how many exemestane tablets to take for your dose.
  • Try to take your treatment at the same time each day.
  • Take your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.
  • Tell your doctor if you do not feel well after starting exemestane.
  • If you miss a dose of exemestane, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to your next dose, just take your next dose at your regular time.
  • Don't take more than one dose of exemestane at a time.
  • Make a note of when your prescription will run out. That way, you can get it refilled on time.

Exemestane Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

The recommended dose of exemestane in postmenopausal women is 25 mg once daily. The dose your doctor recommends may be higher if you take certain medications.

Exemestane Overdose

If you take too much exemestane, call your doctor or local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Keep exemestane and all medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Store exemestane at room temperature, 77°F (25°C), in its original container.