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cholesterol, a1c and letrozole (femara)

nancy2581
nancy2581 Member Posts: 407

Just curious if anyone had their cholesterol go up while taking letrozole. I used to have really good total cholesterol around 150. Now it is at 233. What the heck? I eat like always do. I have read letrozole can cause this. Any of you had this happen. Honestly I'm ready to dump letrozole. I have been on hormonal therapy for 7 years (3 years tamoxifen at first - that caused me issues too) and 4 years letrozole.

Also anybody have a rise in a1c from letrozole? In 2014 right before my diagnosis my a1c was 5.1. Started letrozole and up it went to 5.5 for two years and now 5.6. My doctor says they don't worry about diabetes until it hits 6.0, but again I'm wondering if letrozole has a hand in this. I know aging can contribute, but if letrozole is the cause that can be stopped

Thanks

Nancy

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 6,970

    Hi Nancy,

    It may or may not be related, but certainly worth discussing with your doctor. Are there other things that you've changed, like dietary habits?

    Not to alarm, but there are studies that have shown that People Taking Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer Have Higher Risk of Heart Disease, Monitoring Recommended (click on that link to read). Certainly worth a conversation to see what's going on.

    Interested to hear from others.

    The Mods


  • nancy2581
    nancy2581 Member Posts: 407

    Reply - oh yes I've sent message to my GP (he wants to recheck in 3 months) and my oncologist. Really am quite ready to dump letrozole lol

    Nancy

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600

    hi Nancy, I'm not on letrozole but still find your concerns valid. We always hear if side effects switch to another AI. I wouldn't want to trade one set of problems for a new set. It's a balance for sure. So I like reading conversations about a drug I could potentially switch to

    What is your LDL? Do you have a family history of heart disease? Its important to try to make changes to the modifiable risk factors and be aware of non- modifiable ones. Maybe start with a dietician consult if you have not already done so and make recommended changes.

    I think you are spot on with the A1C. 5.6 is considered pre diabetes and it's a good idea to keep and recheck every 3 months. If u are doing ok on diet exercise etc and level keeps bumping up maybe consider switching.

    Once someone is diagnosed with heart disease most providers want tighter control on A1C lipids than on someone with no heart disease. t's great you are on top of this. Keep us posted.

  • nancy2581
    nancy2581 Member Posts: 407

    My LDL was 116. Although my a1c is 5.6 is was 5.6 last year and 5.5 the two years prior. In 2014 it was 5.1 when I was diagnosed. It has gone up since being on letrozole. My doctor said they don't get concerned until 6.0 or over and 6.5 is diabetic. I am more worried about the cholesterol and yes I need to cut back on the sweets; however it shocked me that TC is at 233 now. I have always had low cholesterol until letrozole. Have a message in to my oncologist. I have stopped letrozole for now. Maybe not the smartest thing, but my father died from heart disease and brother has already had quadruple bypass. I can't win. Heart disease or cancer? Great choices - NOT.

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600

    well heck Nancy hopefully u get a call back soon. LDL is the driving factor for heart disease. Even 100 is elevated for someone with no heart disease but with your family history you definitely want to be lower. It could be the letrozole. I've heard others needing to add a statin. Most of us don't want to add another pill. What a trade off. It sucks

    It seems some doctors have their own generic range where they want A1C and lipid results. 5.7-6.4 is the guideline for pre diabetes. Keeping that level where u are is great and hopefully you can get the lipids figured out. Hopefully your Dr is aware of your family history. I hope you get a response soon.



  • nancy2581
    nancy2581 Member Posts: 407

    Thanks for reminding me to reiterate to my GP who did the lipid value about my family history. I know my father's heart disease is in my chart not sure if my brother's bypass surgery is - never hurts to flat out point it out again lol.

    Thanks

    Nancy

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600

    I think our providers need friendly reminders sometimes. We can't change our family history but coupled with other modifiable risk factors your Dr may offer other suggestions to decrease your risk. Good luck and keep us posted

  • Adell
    Adell Member Posts: 2

    I was also curious about this Nancy my cholesterol went from 5 to 7 first blood test a month after starting Anastrozole! Of course my Dr's don't believe it the Anastrozole.

    Chocolate I had for my birthday one said !! Anyway Im on cholesterol medication and do feel better for it and its gone down again but as I never had a bad diet I and exercise I do wonder. My sodium levels went very low for a few months as well again it was the amount of water I drank not the meds!

    I have also have had 3 of my 4 Zometa infusions apart from terrible body aches and pains (somedays can hardly walk and getting out of bed and chairs is awful) no other issues. I have osteopenia and zometa is only keeping my bones stable . I am grateful for all the treatments I have received and I am doing well so of course really pleased.

    Everyone keep safe in these terrible Covid times