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Aromatase Hormone inhibitor “5 year pill” side effects?

Has anyone used these?

what were your experiences as far as side effects?

cardio-muscular-bone damage?


  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 92

    Hi @mabellean -

    Welcome to the forum. Sorry you have to be here, but glad you have found us.

    There are several different aromatase inhibitors. The most common lately I think is Letrozole (the generic form of Femara). It is commonly taken for about 5 years. I assume that is what you are referring to? There are also others.

    This forum is a good place to start your reading:

    You can find other experiences there. Some people have many problems with them and others have just minimal side effects. If it is recommended by your MO, sometimes the best thing is to try it and see how it goes for you, since each of us is different.

    Best of luck with your decisions.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    @mabellean, welcome to We're sorry for the reason you had to find us, but you're in the right place! There are many members here who have experience with this type of treatment, and we're sure they'll be happy to share their insights. Have you started taking aromatase inhibitors, or are you considering them as part of your treatment plan?

    If you have a moment, fill out your Profile, and create your post signature so others can see your diagnostic and treatment information. The more details you share, the better we can offer support tailored to your specific situation. Let us know if you need help with that. We're here for you!


    The Mods

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,644


    Has anyone used aromatase inhibitors? Yes, this is a very common treatment for ER+ breast cancer. As mandy 23 noted reactions/side effects vary greatly from person to person. It certainly can have a negative effect on bone density but this is monitored during treatment. Take care

  • gailmary
    gailmary Member Posts: 417

    Mabellean, I understand your question different. As in there is no "5 year pill" but pills you take daily for 5 years.

    We all react differently just as our cancers are all unique. I took letrezole (Femara) for 4 years with mild joint pain and insomnia. Then nothing for 4 years and then again 4 years later for 2 more years. The second time the joint pain wasn't a problem at all.

    My feeling is it's necessary to beat the alternative. Side effects can be dealt with IF you have them.

  • maggiehopley
    maggiehopley Member Posts: 97

    I have been on an aromatase inhibitor- anastrozole- for 15 months. I have had various side effects, but I want to stress that they have not all been at the same time and they have not been continuous. For the last two or three months I have had no side effects at all. Previously, I have had hot flashes, joint pain, headache, low libido, vaginal dryness, irritability, and metallic taste in my mouth, but I have never had all of these at the same time, and they have come and gone, usually lasting a couple of months at a time. Don't make any assumptions about side effects since every one is different.

  • ninaca
    ninaca Member Posts: 228

    Maybellen- I took femara (letrozole) for 13 years which kept my liver metastasis in remission until 2015. I don't remember much of the side effects except vaginal dryness and a little joint pain in my thumbs. My bone scans showed osteopenia the whole time and still does, no major changes. It was a great pill for me- hopefully for you. We don't know until we try and see what it affects us individually.

  • mabellean
    mabellean Member Posts: 4

    Thank you everyone for your kind responses.

    Still very much in shock of what I thought was a non-invasive growth area confined to a right milk duct and removed has become a waiting period to find out the Pathology Report on February 1 findings to see if the second operation to remove the invasive ductal and lobe carcinoma passed to clean borders.

    Quite sensitive to drugs and am seeking as many alternatives as possible and hoping that the oncologist I will be referred to is able to find a hormone blocker I can tolerate.

    Here is a resource amongst many technical references that may help others:

    May GOD grant all here complete healing and comforts.

    Serving I AM with you,

    ~ Mabellean

  • mabellean
    mabellean Member Posts: 4

    (Cross - Posted on Femara Topic Area)


    About to start taking Femara tomorrow.

    Is it really going to be worth it?

    I had a 5 way heart operation but now 2 have re-blocked arteries plus my left (widow maker) is 50% blocked.

    [I had an angina attack yesterday after coming home from my office visit with oncologist.

    Quite painful and after alia-seltzer and 2 aspirins was able to take a nap. Then woke up out of pain.]

    What will Femara do to those arteries?

    The side effects may be daunting.

    Will taking calcium supplements as GP and oncologist suggest further block these arteries?

    Already taking Vitamins D3 and Vit K2.

    Yet to be determined with an upcoming appointment with a radiologist if I need courses of radiation for 3-4 weeks - 5 days a week.