Aromasin : Uses, Side effects, and Interactions
What is Aromasin?
Aromasin belongs to the group of medicines known as aromatase inhibitors. Particularly in postmenopausal women, it interferes with an enzyme called aromatase, which is required to produce the female sex hormones, oestrogens. Treatment for hormone-dependent breast cancer involves lowering oestrogen levels in the body.
After postmenopausal women have finished their 2-3 years of treatment with tamoxifen, aromasin is utilized to treat hormone dependent early breast cancer in those patients. When other hormonal medication treatments for advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women have not been successful enough, aromasin is also used.
What is Aromasin used for?
Adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal women
- Postmenopausal women with early breast cancer who test positive for the oestrogen receptor can switch to the medication aromasin after receiving two to three years of tamoxifen to finish a total of five years of adjuvant hormone therapy.
Advanced Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women
- Treats postmenopausal individuals with metastatic breast cancer whose condition worsened after receiving tamoxifen.
Aromasin mechanism of action
- The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone encourage the formation of certain breast cancers. The term “hormone receptor positive” or “hormone sensitive” is used to describe certain breast cancers. Preventing the effects of these hormones can be used to treat breast cancer.
- Estrogen is primarily created in menopausal women by converting androgens (sex hormones made by the adrenal glands) into estrogens. Aromatization is the name for this process, which mostly affects fatty tissues, muscle, and the skin. Aromatase is a specific enzyme that is required for the process.
- The aromatization process is blocked by aromasin. As a result, it reduces the body’s estrogen levels. Taking aromasin can help prevent breast cancer from returning in cases of early-stage breast cancer. The growth of the cancer cells may slow down or halt entirely in advanced breast cancer. It will not work on hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. ,
Side effects of Aromasin
Aromasin is well tolerated, incase if any of these symptoms are severe or do not subside, consult your doctor for advice:
Common side effects:
- Hot flushes
- Nausea, vomiting
- Increased sweating
- Muscle and joint pain
- Difficulty sleeping, tiredness
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Hair loss
- Skin rash and itching
- Tingling or prickling sensation of skin
- Feeling of weakness
- Weight gain
- Swollen hands and feet
Serious side effects:
If any of these symptoms occur, contact with your doctor right away because you must stop taking your medicine. Your physician will then suggest how to discontinue the treatment:
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) and the bile ducts of the liver can result in jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), which can produce symptoms like nausea, right-sided stomach pain, itching, feeling generally poorly, and loss of appetite.
- chest discomfort or breathlessness ,
Contraindications of Aromasin
Aromasin is not recommended for use if you are suffering from any of the following conditions below:
- Hypersensitive to exemestane (the active ingredient in aromasin) or any other ingredients of the medicine
- Have not yet experienced “the menopause,” that is, you are still getting monthly periods (premenopausal women)
- If you have rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency ,
Warnings and precautions
Before taking aromasin inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions or problems:
- If you have any problems with the liver or kidneys
- If you have a history of or are now experiencing a condition that weakens your bones (Because aromasin reduces the levels of female hormones, bones may lose some of their mineral composition, which could weaken them)
- Have routine checking of the vitamin D level as the levels may be low in the early stages of breast cancer
- If your doctor has taken blood samples to make sure you have attained menopause ,
- Bodybuilders may use aromasin to help with muscle building and prevent gynecomastia (male breast development), it is considered as off-label use. In fact, the world anti-doping agency has outlawed aromasin along with a number of other prescription drugs used in bodybuilding.
Precautions to special population
- The use of aromasin during pregnancy is not recommended as it could harm the fetus (also animal studies have shown reproductive toxicity) 8
- The use of aromasin is not recommended in lactating women (because it is unknown whether it is excreted in breast milk)
- The use of aromasin is not recommended in children as it is not safe and effective
- Aromasin is taken by elderly individuals based on the recommendation of the doctor. Before taking it, always seek advice from your doctor. ,
Interactions of Aromasin
Many medications can interact with aromasin, and some medications shouldn’t be taken concurrently. Inform your doctor of all additional medications you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal goods, and prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Medicines used to treat epilepsy – carbamazepine or phenytoin
- Medicine used to treat tuberculosis – rifampicin
- Herbal remedy used to treat depression – st. john’s wort (hypericum perforatum)
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to treat symptoms of menopause – conjugated estrogens, estradiol
- Aromasin use is associated with gradual declines in bone mineral density (BMD). Women who have osteoporosis or who are at risk for the disease should have their BMD professionally assessed by densitometry before beginning medication. It is advised to keep monitoring for BMD deterioration and to start treatment it if is necessary.
Vitamin D deficiency
- Routine vitamin D testing should be performed prior to starting treatment with aromatase inhibitors due to the significant incidence of vitamin D insufficiency in women with early stage breast cancer. Women who don’t get enough vitamin D should take supplements.
- If you miss a dose, take it right away unless it’s time for your next dose. To make up for a missing dose, avoid taking two doses at once
- Do not start any new prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or herbal therapies without first consulting your doctor
- Do not stop taking this medicine even if you are feeling well, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it
- In general, it’s best to limit or altogether avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. You should talk to your doctor for advice
- If you have hot flashes, wearing light clothing, staying in a cool place, and covering your head with cool cloths may help to lessen symptoms. In the event that they intensify or become severe, speak with your healthcare physician
- Get plenty of rest and take adequate nutrition to maintain good health
- If your symptoms or health issues do not improve or worsen, consult your doctor
- Aromasin should not be used to treat premenopausal women with breast cancer
- Aromasin reduces the body’s level of oestrogen. Over time, this could cause a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD). Osteoporosis and fracture risk are both increased by poor BMD. ,