Letrozole is a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor. It is used in anti-hormonal therapy for breast cancer by menopausal and post-menopausal women.
An excess of estrogen can lead to breast cancer. Letrozole works by blocking the aromatase enzyme. This is a key catalyst in converting the male hormone androgen into the female hormone estrogen.
Letrozole was first patented in 1986 and has been used for advanced breast cancer treatments since 1996. It is known better under the brand name Femara.
We can divide the uses of letrozole under two main categories:
Letrozole can induce egg production in the ovaries and help in its release. Thus, it has uses as a fertility medication to stimulate ovulation in women who are unable to ovulate or aid in multiple egg production in those who can.
Letrozole can cause side effects like:
Consult your doctor immediately if you see any side effects after taking letrozole. Get a medical opinion regarding the correct dosage, precautions, and side effects at Yashoda Hospitals.
1. How many cycles of letrozole to get pregnant?
Letrozole can treat infertility or polycystic ovaries. It can help you conceive by stimulating ovulation. Doctors usually prescribe letrozole for a maximum of 5 cycles for one to become fertile and pregnant. Studies have shown that the average time to get pregnant after taking letrozole is 3 cycles or 90 days.
2. How to take letrozole for fertility?
Infertile women may take letrozole orally. The initial dosage is 2.5mg per day. You must take it during menses between Day 2 to Day 5 for 5 days. Your doctor would then monitor and identify whether you’re ovulating to help you conceive. Repeat the process with an increased dosage of up to 7.5–10mg/day if you don’t get pregnant in the first cycle.
3. What does letrozole do?
In postmenopausal women, aromatase stimulates estrogen production in several parts of the body other than the ovaries. Excess estrogen can lead to breast cancer. Letrozole inhibits aromatase, thereby preventing or curing breast cancer. This same mechanism encourages egg production in the ovaries. The body releases more follicle-stimulating hormones that help the ovaries to release an egg, thereby treating infertility.
4. Does letrozole cause weight gain?
Some women may see an increase in appetite after taking letrozole. However, gaining weight is not a common side effect. It may occur in very few women. If you notice a significant weight gain, consult your doctor immediately. Otherwise, regular activity and a good diet while taking letrozole should balance your weight.
5. Does letrozole cause hair loss?
Hair loss can happen due to hormonal imbalance, and various medications or treatments, especially cancer treatments. Mild hair loss is a common side effect of letrozole. Women taking other medication with letrozole for breast cancer treatment may experience hair thinning and hair loss. However, consult your doctor immediately if you’re losing large amounts, as letrozole cannot cause complete hair loss.
6. Does letrozole make you tired?
Some women may experience side effects of fatigue and tiredness after taking letrozole. Therefore, the recommended dosage of letrozole is once a day, at the same time every day. Your doctor will monitor your dosage, bone mineral density, and letrozole levels through frequent check-ups and blood tests from time to time.
7. How long does letrozole stay in your system?
When taking letrozole for infertility, your dosage would vary between 1–3 cycles. It may remain in your body for 2–10days once you stop taking it. Generally, you’ll excrete 90% of letrozole.
During cancer treatment, letrozole is taken for 5–10 years. Here, it stays in the body for much longer, thereby reducing cancer risk even when you stop taking letrozole.
8. Is letrozole a chemo pill?
Yes, letrozole (Femara) is an oral chemotherapy pill. Such pills kill or reduce the growth of cancer cells in the body. Always consult your doctor before taking letrozole. Take precautions to consume the accurate prescribed dosage on time. Missed doses may lessen letrozole’s effectiveness. Incorrect dosage can cause severe side effects.
9. How long should letrozole be taken?
For infertility, letrozole should be taken for 1–3 cycles i.e., a maximum of 90 days. For treating or reducing the risk of cancer in menopausal women, letrozole is prescribed for up to 5 years. Depending on the body type and treatment, this medication can be taken up to 10 years.
Get in touch with Yashoda Hospitals to consult our expert medical advisors on the uses, dosage, precautions, and side effects of letrozole.
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