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Exemestane is used in the treatment of breast cancer

How it works

Exemestane works by decreasing the amount of estrogen (natural female hormone) produced in the body. This can slow or stop the growth of some breast cancer that need estrogen to grow.

Common side effects

Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Weakness, Pain, Joint pain, Back pain, Hot flushes, Rash, Pharyngitis, Abdominal pain, Insomnia, Depression, Increased risk of bone fractures, Osteoporosis, Peripheral edema, Inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs of the joints, Increased blood pressure

Available Medicine

Expert advice

  • Exemestane should only be used in women who have reached menopause and cannot become pregnant. You should confirm your post-menopausal status through hormonal tests (LH, FSH and estradiol levels) before starting exemestane therapy.
  • Exemestane should not be co-administered with estrogen-containing medications (such as hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills) as these can interfere with its action.
  • Regular examinations to monitor reductions in bone mineral density and elevations in certain blood tests (AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase and gamma glutamyl transferase, bilirubin, creatinine) are recommended in women receiving exemestane.
  • Take precautions while driving or operating machinery as exemestane is known to cause drowsiness, sleepiness (somnolence), weakness (asthenia) and dizziness.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is exemestane a steroid/ contains steroids?
It has a steroidal structure and inhibits hormone aromatase in the body

Q. Is exemestane a chemo drug?
Exemestane is an anti-cancer drug used in the chemotherapy of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer (breast tumors that need estrogen to grow) in postmenopausal women

Q. Is exemestane safe?
Exemestane is relatively safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor

Q. Does exemestane cause hair loss/ diarrhea/ depression/ osteoporosis?
Hair loss (alopecia), diarrhea, depression, thinning and weakening of bones (osteoporosis) are among the known side effects of exemestane

Q. Does exemestane cause weight gain/ bloating or heart failure?
Heart failure and weight gain are rare side effects observed. Bloating is not among the known side effects of exemestane. However, please consult your doctor if you experience such side effect

Q. Is exemestane a good PCT?
Exemestane is an aromatase inhibitor used as a post cycle therapy (PCT) to regulate hormone levels in the body following a course of anabolic steroids (pro-hormone therapies commonly used for muscle building by body builders)

Q. Does exemestane cause gyno?
It prevents gynecomastia, colloquially referred to as ‘gyno' (enlargement of breasts in men), a common side effect of anabolic steroids.

Content on this page was last updated on 16 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)