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Effects of Letrozole

Several studies have looked at the effects of letrozole in women with breast cancer. One study looked at the drug's effectiveness as an adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer. Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is treatment that follows breast cancer surgery (with or without radiation). It is given to help prevent the cancer from returning. These studies compared letrozole with tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with early cancer. Taking letrozole reduced the chances of the cancer returning by up to 17 percent when compared to tamoxifen.
Other studies showed that switching to letrozole after taking tamoxifen for five years (compared to not taking anything after five years of tamoxifen) can reduce the chances of breast cancer recurring (coming back).
Studies have also compared letrozole to tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer. These women had tumors that were either hormone receptor-positive or for which the receptor status was not known. In these studies, letrozole was at least as effective as tamoxifen in terms of how the cancer responded to the medication (either by shrinking the tumor or stopping its growth) and time to progression. "Time to progression" is a medical term that refers to the time between when the cancer is treated and when the disease starts to get worse, such as when the cancer spreads (metastasizes) or the tumor increases in size. In these studies, time to progression was, on average, up to 9.4 months for letrozole and, on average, up to 6 months for tamoxifen.

When and How to Take It

Following are some general considerations for when and how to take letrozole:
  • The medication comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth once a day.
  • You can take it with or without food. If the drug bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • Letrozole should be taken at the same time each day to maintain even levels in your blood.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Letrozole will not work if you stop taking it.
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Letrozole Drug Information

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