Letrozole dosage is determined by the physician depending on:
• Existing health conditions
• The condition being treated
• The drugs you are taking or have taken in the past
• How the patient responds to Letrozole
• The liver function
• The age
Uses of Letrozole
Letrozole is a prescription drug used mainly to treat breast cancer in postmenopausal women. It’s also termed as Femara and it’s an aromatase inhibitor. After menopause, a woman doesn’t produce estrogen in the ovaries; however, a small amount of the hormone is produced by an aromatase enzyme which converts androgens into estrogen. The change happens in your fatty tissue, skin, and muscles. This medication works by blocking aromatase, hence the conversion doesn’t take place and estrogen production is suppressed. Some breast cancer depends on estrogen to grow and spread, such breast cancer is called hormone receptor positive or hormone sensitive. When estrogen production is reduced breast cancer growth is stopped or slowed and the chance of it coming back after surgery is minimized.
The drug has some additional uses which are off-label, although they aren’t approved by the FDA. It’s effective in dealing with infertility in a woman as a result of ovulation challenges or if a female has unexplained infertility. When estrogen production is subdued in a female of childbearing age, the pituitary gland releases more follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone; these hormones are crucial in stimulating the ovaries, hence growth of a mature follicle and ovulation can occur in women with anovulation or increase the number of eggs developing in a female ovaries if she is already ovulating on her own. In short, the medication is used in a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome or one who have been unresponsive to Clomid fertility drug.
The drug has also gained popularity in the bodybuilding community. For an anabolic steroid user, estrogen suppression triggered by Letrozole is beneficial. A lot of anabolic steroids may increase estrogen levels because of testosterone interaction with the aromatase enzyme. As levels of estrogen increases, gynecomastia and too much water retention may occur. If excess water retention turns out to be severe, this can promote high blood pressure. Gynecomastia is breast enlargement; it’s an embarrassing condition, especially if it happens in males. Using this drug in a cycle which includes aromatizing anabolic steroids can curb estrogenic related unwanted effects like gynecomastia.
As earlier indicated, the dose prescribed is determined by a number of factors; hence it will be different from one patient to another. The drug is available in a tablet of 2.5 mg. If your Letrozole dose is not the same with that of your friend having the same condition like yours, don’t change it but take it as prescribed. In most cases, the following are the usual doses prescribed for the different conditions the drug is used to treat:
Infertility – the initial dose to restore infertility is 2.5 mg once daily, starting on the 5th day to the 9th day of the menstrual cycle. Although some fertility specialists may advise a woman to take the drug on the 3rd to the 7th day of the cycle, whichever the case, it is effective as long as it’s taken for five days consecutively. The fertility expert may increase the dose to 5mg or 7.5 mg per day if unresponsive to the lower dosage.
Breast cancer- the recommended dose for cancer patients is 2.5mg taken every day for five years for postmenopausal women who have been on Tamoxifen therapy for five years as well. After the five years, the use is discontinued. Sometimes, the physician may prescribe the drug for a shorter period.
Gyno – Letrozole may be the most powerful aromatase inhibitor in treating gyno, it works rapidly and sharply to minimize estrogen levels; many body builders can testify to this. The drug is effective when it comes to treating gynecomastia in emergency situations. But users must be careful to avoid abusing the drug. The initial dose for gyno is 0.25mg or 1.0mg every day or as directed by the physician.
If one misses a dose, take it immediately you recall unless the time for the next dose is almost, in this case, skip it till it’s time for the next dose. Never take double doses since it puts you at risk of experiencing side effects such as shortness of breath
Remember to take the medication at the same time daily for it to work as expected
While on the medication, expect to be faced with unwanted side effects which may be severe or mild, although not every patient will experience them. The most usual negative effects are:
- Bone pain
- Hot flashes
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Joint swelling or breath
If the above effects are mild, high chances are they will clear in a few days or weeks. If they turn out to be severe or don’t resolve on their own, inform the physician or the pharmacist.
If the following serious negative effects occur, seek medical intervention right away:
Osteoporosis (bone thinning or weakness) which is accompanied by pain, trouble with movement and broken bones
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Serious allergic reaction
- Uterine cancer
- Heart attack, stroke, blood clots and high blood pressure
Precautions and Warnings
- Letrozole and alcohol trigger nausea and vomiting, taking them together can worsen these side effects. If possible, avoid alcohol intake while on the medication
- The drug is processed in the liver, hence if it is not working due to a liver disease, it may take more time to clear the drug from the system which may worsen the undesired effects and the physician needs to reduce the dose or prescribe an alternative medication
- Inform the doctor if planning to conceive or if already pregnant since the drug shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.
- If on other medications, drug interactions may take place leading to severe side effects. That’s why it’s crucial to inform the medical care provider on all the medication you are currently taking to avoid drug interactions.
Keep the doctor’s appointments since they are vital for the physician to monitor the progress, for example, liver function and check for unfavorable effects