Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen (natural female hormone) produced in the body. This decrease in estrogen can slow down or stop the growth of some breast cancers that need estrogen to grow. In addition, it is also useful in infertility whereby it increases the release of certain hormones to stimulate the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Herlet is an aromatase inhibitor. It is generally prescribed to treat breast cancer in women who no longer have periods, either due to menopause or after surgery or chemotherapy. It is also used to treat infertility caused due to anovulation (during menstrual cycle egg cell from ovaries is not released).
Q. How does Herlet work?
Herlet is also known as an anti-estrogen drug. It is called so because it acts by reducing the production of estrogen in your body by blocking the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for production of estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the production of certain types of breast cancer in your body. These cancers are called "estrogen-dependent cancers". Reducing the production of estrogen may prevent the cancer from growing.
Q. For how long should I take Herlet?
If the breast tumor is in advanced stage or has spread to other parts of the body, it is recommended that you continue taking Herlet till the tumor shows progression. In cases where Herlet is given after tamoxifen (another anti-estrogen used for breast cancer) or surgery, it should be given for 5 years or until tumor comes back, whichever is first. It can also be given as a sequential treatment; 2 years of Herlet followed by 3 years of tamoxifen.
Q. If I am taking irbesartan to control my blood pressure, can I take Herlet?
Yes, you can take irbesartan and Herlet together. However, be careful and keep a regular check on your blood pressure since Herlet may increase your blood pressure. Consult your doctor in case you have problems controlling your blood pressure.
Q. Does Herlet affect vision?
Although it is very uncommon but Herlet may cause cataract. So, if you experience blurred vision or eye irritation, consult your doctor immediately.
Q. My friend who is taking Herlet often sweats a lot. Is it because of Herlet?
This could be a sign of hot flushes which is a very common side effect of Herlet. It happens due to decreased estrogen levels. The frequency of hot flushes reduces once your body adjusts to Herlet. However, in some people the flushes and sweats may continue during the treatment and stop a few months after the treatment finishes. You can consult your doctor who will provide you a remedy if it is very bothersome.
Q. What are the serious side effects of Herlet?
The serious side effects do not occur in everyone and very few people experience them. The serious side effects of Herlet include stroke, angina, heart attack, blood clotting, cataract, osteoporosis and severe skin reactions.
Information last updated by Dr. Varun Gupta, MD Pharmacology on 18th Feb 2020. The medicine details are for information purpose only. Consult a doctor before taking any medicine.