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Topic: Letrozole (Femera) and Anxiety

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During, and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Aug 1, 2020 04:50PM

bgirl wrote:

I am wondering if anyone has had issues with uncontrollable anxiety on Letrozole. On my 18th month and for about the last 8 have had increasing anxiety that is beyond logic. Intellectually I know that my responses are out of proportion to events, but I seem to be removed from it. Like two parts of my brain are disconnected. I am starting to seriously consider quitting. I know this is a major decision, but I can't imagine another 8,5 years of this. This is cancer #2 and genetics are not on my side. I previously did Tamoxifen from Dec 2011 to Dec 2016 and endured many SEs that led to two gyn surgeries and other things, so I'm not one to quit easily. Thoughts, experiences??

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Aug 1, 2020 05:46PM Faith-840 wrote:

I am also on Letrozole for over four years now and I'm having bad anxiety the last few months. Of course, this pandemic isn't helping things and my DH has had some health issues lately so I'm thinking those are the reasons why I'm so anxious. I have wondered if the Letrozole has anything to do with it. The doctor had put me on lexapro and it doesn't feel like it's helping.

What are others out there feeling? I really need some help for this anxiety.

Faith (in the future).

Faith Dx 1/1991, Left, Stage IIIB, 8/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/5/1991 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 2/4/1991 Mastectomy: Left Dx 1/2016, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/23/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 1/23/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy CAF Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 2, 2020 04:09PM bgirl wrote:

Sorry you are feeling so much anxiety. Sounds like you have a lot of stress in your life, but I too wonder if the Letrozole is contributing. Hang in there.

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Aug 3, 2020 03:52PM quinnie wrote:

I also feel more anxious but could be due to the pandemic, Mom is elderly and is always on my mind. She is in assistive living and I can't see her except on the patio for 20 minutes with masks on. I mostly feel more depressed so will discuss with my MO next month. I have hot flashes but so far no bone pain which is a relief. In the middle of my cancer treatments my husband decided to have a heart attack. That could also be a factor so not sure if it is the meds or not. BTW: my husband is great. I am an occupational therapist and recognized the signs and dropped him off at the ER. Caught it early and had 3 stents. Its kinda a bummer. We are both healthy, exercise, eat well and had issues this year. Life goes on and I plan to make the most of it.

Dx 11/30/2007, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR- Dx 2/26/2020, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 5/13/2020 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/24/2020 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Aug 6, 2020 07:54PM wallan wrote:

Hey: my anxiety is definitely worse on letrozole. I was told that it can be a side effect.

Hang in there during these distressing times.

Wallan

Dx 3/29/2004, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2004 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 5/31/2004 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 11/30/2004 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Dx 1/25/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC/IDC/IDC: Mucinous/IDC: Cribriform, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/7/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 10, 2020 05:07AM florence123 wrote:

Yes, I am on Femara and I experience anxiety out of the blue. Before cancer treatment, I was not easily anxious. For instance, I was cooking last night and a wave of anxiety took me by surprise! At night, I read in bed and fall asleep on my book, very relaxed....I turn the light off and anxiety creeps in! I take effexor and it helps a lot. I would not quit, maybe take a break and ask for effexor or something else to counteract this creepy feeling. I know that it is not easy...but there are meds to help us cope more or less. Hang in there, those drugs are life savers and our friends.

Dx 12/28/2014, IBC, 2cm, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 1/10/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 10, 2020 07:02AM bcincolorado wrote:

Yes it can be a side effect but it can be because of isolation from COVID as well.

I know there are meds if it is is not better soon your MO can prescribe to help (like Effexor). Mine had just prescribed it automatically but I never felt I needed it while I was on Femara at all and was on it for 5 year after 5 of Tamox.

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/7/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/30/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 10, 2020 08:17AM Fairchild wrote:

I haven't had anxiety as a side effect of letrozole. I honestly haven't had many side effects at all, but I suspect my "creakiness" in the mornings is due to the medication. I feel a lot of pain in my joints which lessens as I move around but then comes back when I sit for any length of time. I stopped taking it for a week and my achiness definitely improved, but of course I went back on it because it's an important part of my treatment. You might want to try that kind of brief "vacation" (with doctor's support)-- My oncologist was happy that I tried that instead of starting him on a litany of tests that I didn't need to look for mets. Best of luck to you!

Fairchild Dx 5/5/2018, ILC/IDC, Both breasts, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 7/26/2018 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 9/6/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/9/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Aug 16, 2020 07:09PM Faith-840 wrote:

Thank you all for your replies. I am taking Lexapro for anxiety for about two weeks now and I don’t see much improvement. However, I’ve read it can take awhile to kick in and I’ve just started talking to a therapist, so hopefully that will help. I do wonder if Effexor might help more. It’s probably too soon to change meds but I just want this anxiety gone. I hate feeling this way.

For those of you having lots of other side effects like joint pain, I did some research and found out the half life of Letrozole is fairly long. So with my MO’S permission, I only take it every other day and it’s made a difference, not as many joint pains or hot flashes. I would at least ask your MO if you could try it that way. My tumor makers have stayed stable so far.

Faith (in the future

Faith Dx 1/1991, Left, Stage IIIB, 8/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/5/1991 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 2/4/1991 Mastectomy: Left Dx 1/2016, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/23/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 1/23/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy CAF Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 16, 2020 07:10PM Faith-840 wrote:

Thank you all for your replies. I am taking Lexapro for anxiety for about two weeks now and I don’t see much improvement. However, I’ve read it can take awhile to kick in and I’ve just started talking to a therapist, so hopefully that will help. I do wonder if Effexor might help more. It’s probably too soon to change meds but I just want this anxiety gone. I hate feeling this way.

For those of you having lots of other side effects like joint pain, I did some research and found out the half life of Letrozole is fairly long. So with my MO’S permission, I only take it every other day and it’s made a difference, not as many joint pains or hot flashes. I would at least ask your MO if you could try it that way. My tumor makers have stayed stable so far.

Faith (in the future

Faith Dx 1/1991, Left, Stage IIIB, 8/26 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/5/1991 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 2/4/1991 Mastectomy: Left Dx 1/2016, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 1/23/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 1/23/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Surgery Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, Nipple tattoo, Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy CAF Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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