Patient Education Quick Reference Guide Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group Phone Number: 925-677-5041

Uses For This Medication
  • Exemestane is used to treat postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer that have continued to progress following tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) therapy.
  • Exemestane is also used to treat postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive early stage breast cancer who have already received 2 to 3 years of tamoxifen therapy and who are switched to exemestane for completion of a total of 5 consecutive years of adjuvant hormonal therapy.
  • This medication may also be given for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
  How This Medication Works Exemestane works by decreasing the amount of estrogen your body makes. Estrogen is a hormone that causes some breast cancer cells to grow. By decreasing the amount of estrogen in your body, the breast cancer cells which need estrogen to grow will not be able to grow. Benefits of This Medication Exemestane used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer slows the growth of tumors and in some cases can make tumors disappear altogether. Exemestane used in the treatment of early stage breast cancer can slow the growth of tumors, and prevent disease recurrences. Who Should Not Take This Medication You should not take this medication if you:
  • Are allergic to exemestane or any of its components
  Precautions to be Aware of Before Taking This Medication

Miscellaneous precautions

  • You should not take this medication if you are premenopausal.
  • Rarely, blood clots have been reported in patients receiving exemestane. If you have ever had a blood clot, you should let your doctor or healthcare provider know. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately if you experience pain or swelling in your leg(s) or if you experience sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sharp chest pain, sudden and severe headache, or pain that radiates down the shoulder and arm.

Patient specific precautions

  • It is not known if this medication is safe and effective in children.
  Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Precautions This medication may cause fetal harm. When taking this medication, you should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. You should not take hormonal birth control (pills, patches, rings, implants, injections) while on exemestane since this medication can stop hormonal birth control methods from working. Barrier type methods of birth control (condoms, diaphragms) should be used instead if needed. Tell your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you or your spouse/partner becomes pregnant. It is not known whether this medication is found or excreted in breast milk. Since many medications are excreted in breast milk and because this medication can cause serious harmful reactions in infants, breastfeeding should be avoided. Many anti-cancer therapies can cause sterility. Notify your doctor or healthcare provider if you want to have children in the future. Medication and Food Interactions Before using this medication, tell your doctor or healthcare provider of all prescription or over-the- counter products you are taking, including dietary supplements or vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without your doctor or healthcare provider’s approval. Possible interactions can occur with exemestane and the following medications:
  • Carbamazepine
  • Estrogen containing medications
  • Rifampin (Rifadin®)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin®)
  • Phenobarbital
  • St. John’s wort
  NOTE: This list may not include all medications that can have interactions with exemestane. Side Effects
  • All medications can cause side effects. However, not all patients will experience these side effects. In addition, other side effects not listed can also occur in some patients. You should call your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns while you are on this medication.
  • You should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any side effect(s) which don’t go away, worsen, are serious in nature, or are worrisome to you.
  • Side effects can occur when exemestane is given alone or together with other chemotherapy medications. The side effects listed below are those reported in patients who were treated with exemestane alone.

More common side effects

  • Fatigue

Less common side effects

  • Nausea
  • Hot flashes
  • Pain
  • Depression, difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety

Rare side effects

This is not a complete list of the rare side effects reported with exemestane. For a complete list, please talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about reviewing a copy of the package insert.
  • Vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness, headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Fever and flu-like symptoms
  • swelling of legs, feet
  • Constipation
  How To Take This Medication
  • This medication is taken by mouth (orally) once daily after a meal. Take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor or healthcare provider. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your doctor or healthcare provider to explain them to you.
  • It is important that you only use this medication when it’s been prescribed for you. Sharing this medication with someone for whom it is not prescribed could cause harm.
  • If you accidentally take too many pills or someone else accidentally takes your medication, contact your doctor, your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or emergency services immediately.
  Proper Storage
  • Store this medication at room temperature and keep in its original container.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children or pets.
  • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider how to dispose of any medication that you no longer use.