Exemestane (Generic Name)

Other Names: Aromasin®

About this drug

Exemestane is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth.

Possible side effects (More Common) 

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Hot flashes
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Back or joint pain

Possible side effects (Less Common) 

  • You may have changes in your moods, including depression. Mood changes are common for people with cancer.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or hoarseness
  • Anxiety

Sexual Problems and Reproductive Concerns

  • In men and women both, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are receiving this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause like vaginal dryness or itching.
    • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
    • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.  Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
    • Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred. 
    • Breast feeding warning: Women are advised not to breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast feeding infant.
    • Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.

Treating side effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea or pain in your back and joints.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids every day unless your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake due to another medical condition. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you vomit or have diarrhea, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Let your doctor or nurse know if you are having trouble sleeping.
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse if you feel you need help with your mood or anxiety.

Food and drug interactions

When Exemestane is taken with fatty foods it can make this drug more potent. Exemestane may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

Other Instructions

This medication should be taken after eating. Foods that have a high fat content should be limited.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled nausea that keeps you from eating or drinking

 

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Back or joint pain that does not go away with prescribed medicine
  • Nausea that does not go away with prescribed medicine
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities

Revised November 2011

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