(Rx) - indicates only available by prescription
Femara is a medication used in the treatment of breast cancer in women after they have been through the menopause. This is a form of medicine known as an aromatase inhibitor and must be prescribed by your doctor.
As is the case with all drugs, it is vital that you carefully follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. In most cases this will be written on the label of the medicine bottle or box and you must read this information very carefully. If you do happen to have any questions about how to take this medicine then you should talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor and they will be happy to help you. You must not crush, break or chew this medicine and should instead swallow it whole with a glass of water. It is not important if you take this medicine with food or on an empty stomach, however you must not mix the medicine in with your food or with any liquid. Where you keep the medicine is very important and in this case it must be stored at room temperature (77 degrees F) away from the sun and in the bottle or box provided or in an airtight container. You must take the medicine as directed by your doctor and if you can take it at the same time everyday i.e. at breakfast time, then that may help you to remember. It is very important that you take this medicine everyday as directed and do not miss a dose, even if you are feeling better. Failure to take your medicine as directed will likely result in the worsening of your symptoms. In the unfortunate scenario that you do forget to take a dose, you must take the missed dose as soon as you remember unless this is near the time of your next dose. In this case you should just forget about the missed dose and carry on with your normal schedule, as you must never take two doses of a single medication at the same time. If you have any concerns then you should contact your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more information.
As this medicine takes several weeks to reach its full effect you should avoid performing tasks such as driving, operating heavy machinery or any other dangerous activities during this time, until you know what effects Femara will have on your body. Femara can cause dizziness and drowsiness and using this medicine alone or with other medications, or with alcohol may impair your ability to perform dangerous tasks such as driving. You must avoid alcohol while you are taking this medication. Femara can cause lightheadedness and fainting, especially in combination with alcohol and hot weather, or during exercise. You can attempt to prevent this by avoiding situations whereby you may become overheated. Femara can adverse effects on the fetus in pregnant women and in many cases these have resulted in adverse newborn or fetal effects. Women who may be thinking about getting pregnant should talk to their doctor immediately before considering becoming pregnant. Non-hormonal contraception should be used in women who do not wish to become pregnant. Also there is not enough research for us to know if Femara is excreted in the breast milk and so general advice at this time is to not breast-feed while on this medication. However it is wise to consult your doctor and discuss all of the options with him or her.
As is the case with most drugs Femara is not without its side effects. Some of the things that you may notice when taking this medication include: headache, general pain, hot flashes, diarrhea, nausea and weakness. These may be minor and go away during the course of treatment, however if they do bother you then you must talk to your doctor. Femara was prescribed to you, as your doctor believes that the benefits will outweigh the side effects and so it is usual to expect some symptoms. However these symptoms should not cause you major discomfort and if this is the case then please talk to your doctor. You must talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any unexplained fever, swollen ankles or feet, or sore throat. Fortunately it is uncommon for someone to have an allergic reaction to this medicine, however they do occur and if you notice severe dizziness, a rash, itching, trouble breathing or swelling then you must seek immediate medical attention. If you experience any symptoms that worry you, even if they are not listed above, then it is vital that you talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about it.
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