Femara treats breast cancer in women who have gone through menopause. If this medication upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
Femara is a prescription medication used to treat breast cancer in women who have gone through menopause. Femara belongs to a group of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen produced by the body, which slows or stops the growth of some types of breast cancer cells that need estrogen to grow.
This medication comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily, with or without food.
Common side effects include nausea, hot flashes, and night sweats. Femara may cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
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Uses of Femara
Femara is a prescription medication used to treat postmenopausal women who:
- have hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer and have had other treatments, such as radiation or surgery to remove the tumor
- have already been treated with a medication called tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for 5 years
- have not been treated for their breast cancer that has spread within the breast or to other areas of the body, or women whose breast cancer has worsened while they were taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Femara Drug Class
Femara is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Femara
Femara has been reported to cause serious side effects. See "Femara Precautions" section.
Common side effects include:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- loss of appetite
- back pain
- stomach pain
- changes in weight
- muscle, joint, or bone pain or arthritis
- high cholesterol
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- vaginal bleeding or irritation
- breast pain
- hair loss
- blurry vision
This is not a complete list of Femara side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections)
- hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications
- raloxifene (Evista)
- tamoxifen (Nolvadex)
This is not a complete list of Femara drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Serious side effects have been reported with Femara including:
- decreased bone mineral density. Femara and other medications that lower the amount of estrogen in the body can lead to osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor if you already have osteoporosis.
- increased exposure to drug in patients with liver disease. Patients with severe liver disease or cirrhosis may require a dose reduction as this medication is cleared from the body by the liver.
- increased blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor may monitor your blood cholesterol levels and cholesterol-lowering medications may be required.
Femara can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and fatigue. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Do not take Femara if you:
- are allergic to any ingredient in Femara
- have not gone through menopause. This medication is not intended for women who have not gone through menopause and should never be taken by pregnant women.
Femara Food Interactions
Medications 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 Femara, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.
Before receiving Femara, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to any ingredient in Femara
- have high cholesterol
- have osteoporosis
- have liver disease
- have not gone through menopause
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Femara and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Femara falls into category X. It has been shown that Femara may harm the unborn baby. There are no situations where the benefits of the medication for the mother outweigh the risks of harm to the baby. These medicines should never be used by pregnant women.
Femara and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
It is not known if Femara crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Femara.
- Take Femara exactly as prescribed.
- Femara comes in tablet form and is taken once daily, with or without food.
- If this medication upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.
- Try to take Femara at the same time each day.
- If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Femara at the same time.
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 Femara is 2.5 mg taken by mouth once daily.
If you take too much Femara, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Store at room temperature between 15 and 30°C (59-86°F).
- Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.