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Also part of the UPMC family:

Exemestane (Generic Name)

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects (More Common) 

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
  • Hot flashes
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Back or joint pain

Possible Side Effects (Less Common) 

  • Depression, nervousness (anxiety), or other mood changes
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Coughing or losing your voice

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen nausea or pain in your back and joints.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • 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.

Important Information

  • This medication should be taken after eating. Avoid eating high fat foods when taking this medicine.
  • This drug works best when used along with calcium and vitamin D and weight-bearing exercise such as walking or physical therapy.
  • Store this medicine at room temperature in a dry place
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time and schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. Do not take extra doses.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • Avoid high fat foods. Taking exemestane with high fat foods may make the drug stronger.
  • 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 taking at this time. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might 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 help.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back or it can be constant. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking

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

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

Sexual Problems and Reproduction Concerns

  • Infertility warning: Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may happen. In both men and women, this drug may affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your treatment. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.  Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
    • 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 getting this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period.
    • Women may go through signs of menopause (change of life) like vaginal dryness or itching. Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations. 
    • Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy warning:  This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used by both men and women during your cancer treatment and for at least 8 weeks after treatment is done.
  • Breast Feeding warning:  It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.

Revised August 2014