Exemestane is an oral steroidal aromatase inhibitor that is used in ER-positive breast cancer in addition to surgery and/or radiation in post-menopausal women.
Exemestane is a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer in women who have gone throughmenopause. It may be used in women for whom adjuvant tamoxifen therapy is not working or in women with advanced breast cancer that is not responding to treatment. This drug is available by prescription only and women must be supervised by a doctor while they take it. It is sold under the brand name Aromasin® and some pharmacies may require advance notice to stock it because it is not a frequently used medication in some areas.
Many breast cancers are characterized by being estrogen receptor positive, needing estrogen to grow larger. Medications like exemestane reduce the amount of estrogen in the body, cutting off the supply to the cancer and preventing the tumors from growing larger. This particular medication is an aromatase inhibitor. It blocks the action of the enzyme aromatase, preventing it from converting androgens in the body into estrogen.
Exemestane is taken in tablet form once a day. Patients can experience side effects like nausea, anxiety, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, bone pain, and chest pain. Side effects vary widely between patients and patients should report the side effects they experience to their doctors, as some may be indicators of dangerous complications. Shortness of breath and chest pain in particular are causes for concern in patients taking exemestane.