Letrozole is an aromatse inhibitor, a type of hormone therapy drug. It is used as part of the treatment of patients with breast cancer.
Since the growth of breast cancers depends mostly on the hormone oestrogen, the main function of Letrozole is to stop or inhibit the process of aromatisation. When aromatisation is inhibited, amounts of the hormone oestrogen are also decreased.
Aside from breast cancer therapy treatment, fertility doctors have also used Letrozole for ovulation induction. There were studies shown that using the drug increases the risk of birth defects but latest studies show that the Letrozole poses no threat when used in ovulation induction.
Athletes and bodybuilders have also used Letrozole. The ability of the drug to reduce the hormone estrogen and increase testosterone levels makes it very useful for them. It reduces the possibility of bloating due to excessive water retention and it also prevents gynecomastia from developing when taking anabolic steroids.
Letrozole is also useful for children and adolescent with short stature. It can boost the growth hormones thus treating problems that involve growth stunts.
Letrozole is in tablet form and is taken orally. The ideal dosage in taking the drug is one tablet a day.
Letrozole is usually prescribed by physicians to patients who have undergone surgery and has completed a five year treatment of tamoxifen. It has also been known that using Letrozole after surgery and tamoxifen treatment reduces the possibility of the breast cancer from coming back.
In some cases, Letrozole is also given to breast cancer patients prior to surgery. This however is only for patients who have localized early breast cancer. The effects of the drug will allow them to undergo lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. This kind of breast cancer treatment is called neo-adjuvant therapy.
First and foremost, the patient should remember that Letrozole, just like any other drug, could possibly interact with any other medications. So before taking in Letrozole, inform your physician of any medication that is currently being taken. This would also include herbal medications, nutritional supplement and vitamins.
The physician should also be informed of the patient's general health condition. Liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis should be reported. The patient should also let the physician know of any allergies – could be to food, preservatives or dyes.
Letrozole controls the hormone estrogen can, in some people, lead to osteoperosis. That is why the physician should be informed whether the patient is also suffering from osteoperosis.
Nausea and vomiting are two of the side effects of Letrozole. They are however mild and quite rare. These side effects can usually be relieved by milk or food. But if these two side effects persist for a long time, it is important to let the physician know right away.
Hot flushes are another side effects of Letrozole. These can be relieved by cutting down on the consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes. If it causes so much discomfort, discuss with the physician of any possible solutions to hot flushes.
Taking in Letrozole may also cause vaginal dryness. This is one of the most common side effects of the drug. Gels or jelly from the physician can help overcome the dryness.
Letrozole has the following structural formula:
• Molecular formula of letrozole is C17H11N5
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 4-[(4-cyanophenyl)-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)methyl]benzonitrile
• Molecular weight is 285.303 g/mol
• Letrozole available : 2.5mg tablets
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