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What does it do?

Exemestane is used to treat and prevent breast cancer. It reduces the effects of oestrogen in the body.

How should you take it?

Take exemestane as directed with food and a glass of water.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. black cohosh, St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Short of breath, cough

Joint, muscle or bone aches and pains, sore breasts

Chest pain, feet, ankle or leg swelling

Numbness or tingling of the fingers or toes

Tell your doctor

Trouble sleeping, changes in vision

Hair loss or thinning

Headache, dizziness, low mood, nervousness

Hot flushing, sweating, fever

Stomach pain, change of appetite, diarrhoea

Muscle weakness, tiredness

Nasal stuffiness

Vaginal dryness

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Stomach upset, nausea

Take with food

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have blood, liver or kidney problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a history of stroke, ‘mini-stroke’, blood clots or osteoporosis (weak bones).
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you still have periods while taking exemestane.
  • Hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives should not be taken with exemestane. A barrier form of birth control should be used.
  • Exemestane may make you dizzy or sleepy and make it dangerous to drive, operate machinery or do other activities that require you to be alert. Limit alcohol intake because it can increase these effects.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. February 2018

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed