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why does letrozole cause joint pain

Studies have found joint symptoms most often develop within the first 3 months on therapy, though some cases continue to develop after 3 months. There may also be an increased risk for those with pre-existing joint symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Avoid alcohol as it may make you feel more tired and drowsy. First and foremost, patients should talk with their oncology team if they develop joint symptoms. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. There's two main differences: it doesn't have anti-estrogenic side effects like clomid; and although studies have proven letrozole is an effective fertility drug it hasn't been approved by the FDA yet for fertility use, thus isn't covered by insurance (beware it's very expensive). Joint pain is found among people who take Letrozole, especially for people who are female, 60+ old, have been taking the drug for 1 - 6 months. This content does not have an Arabic version. Additional pain relieving medications, including acetaminophen and opioids, can be added for those patients who do not get relief with an anti-inflammatory alone or for those who cannot tolerate the anti-inflammatory medications. 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Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Now, the other side effects of hair loss, joint pain, fatigue and still, insomnia have made me decide a year later to try mornings again. A joint is where 2 bones in your body connect. They may be able to offer ways of improving your symptoms. Pain in the joints, also called arthralgia, is a possible side effect of cancer and its treatment. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Reports are from official medical reports as well as online extractions from user reviews and forum discussions. Hello Yvonne I am taking letrozole and have been for four and a half months in order to shrink the tumour before surgery. The actual cause of AI-related joint symptoms is not well understood. View detailed reports from patients taking Letrozole who experienced back pain. While AIs are an effective therapy in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence, they increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and commonly cause joint (or muscle) aches and pains. Find out why and what treatments are available. AI-related joint symptoms can cause significant pain and interfere with functioning and quality of life. Joint pain and stiffness are common side effects of the aromatase inhibitors (doctors call these pains “arthralgias”). 2013. Letrozole (Femara ®) is a hormonal therapy drug used to treat breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause. These joint symptoms, often called arthralgias, can interfere with quality of life and are often the cause of a woman stopping therapy early. Tiredness and lack of energy may occur If tiredness is a problem, do not drive a car or operate machinery if you are feeling tired. Other side effects from this medicine include hot flashes, hair loss, tiredness, unusual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping may occur. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional. Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. An enzyme called aromatase is responsible for this conversion. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. I started taking Arimidex 13 months ago. Acupuncture was shown to reduce pain from joint symptoms and improve functioning and well-being. So I take Aleve when it acts up. Arthritis isn't the only cause of joint pain. The Femara is an excellent drug. Other diagnoses include osteoarthritis, tendonitis and bursitis. Pain is usually located in more than one articulation, and during breaks, the patient may be asymptomatic or still display milder pain symptoms. Less common but more severe side effects of these medicines include heart problems, osteoporosis, and broken bones. Joint pain: Symptom — Overview covers definition, possible causes of joint pain. Progesterone is a hormone naturally produced in the body. Bisphosphonates, medicines used to treat osteoporosis, may cause bone or joint pain. I’ve found that trying to as active as I can on the good days seems to help my joint pain … Common bisphosphonates are Fosamax (chemical name: alendronate sodium), Actonel (chemical name: risedronate), and Boniva (chemical name: ibandronate). The reason is not understood, but it does appear smokers suffer more pain than nonsmokers, in the back, legs, knees, and joints. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur: Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. Joint pain with swelling is the most common non-GI complication of IBD. Doctors will prescribe either clomid or letrozole to assist with ovulation. Up to 50% of women taking an aromatase inhibitor have joint pain or stiffness. I empathise with you as I am having awful joint pain too, particularly in my legs,knees and feet. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. She didn't get sick from chemo and only side effect now is the bone pain. Coleman RE, Bolten WW, Lansdown M, et al: Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations. A significant component of the joint symptoms experienced with AIs is swelling of the joints. Your specialist may suggest changing to a different aromatase inhibitor such as anastrozole or exemestane, or another hormone treatment, as some women get on better with a differe… Research continues to identify factors that could help better predict each woman's risk. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. All rights reserved. The phase IV clinical study is created by eHealthMe based on reports of 24,728 people who have side effects when taking Letrozole from the FDA, and is … Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. Receive the latest resources and updates in your inbox. It may affect just 1 joint or many. Treatment is different for each stage. If there was no previous history of arthritis prior to taking Femara or Letrozole, then joint pain as a side effect will eventually go away after intake. These can occur in more than 1 in 10 women who take letrozole. swelling and tenderness or pain along a vein – these can be signs of a blood clot muscle weakness, pain or swelling in the joints or tendons in your ankle, calf or legs, shoulder or arms a high temperature or chills – these can be signs of an infection Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a common therapy for post-menopausal women with hormone positive breast cancer. Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, New Year Special -  40% off – Mayo Clinic Diet Online, pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves, severe and sudden, unexplained troubled breathing, sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg, burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings, sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth, hot flashes (sudden sweating and feeling of warmth), spinning or whirling sensation causing loss of balance, Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste and thirst. What side effects can Letrozole cause? This content does not have an English version. The cause is not known; people who tend to smoke may have lower pain thresholds than those who don’t, or the smoking may somehow lower the body’s pain threshold. However, for some people they may cause distress and disrupt everyday life. Gentle stretching and exercise may also be helpful in reducing symptoms. I noticed my joints felt like I’ve aged 10 years in the 2 1/2 since diagnosis. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Portions of this document last updated: Feb. 01, 2020. Found at: http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/06/annonc.mdt037.full.html. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. For many people, side effects improve within the first few months of starting the treatment. Take one 2.5 mg letrozole tablet every day. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. All content © 2021 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Small studies have found a benefit to acupuncture and exercise. Wonder what it does exactly to cause it. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. It would be helpful for healthcare providers to have a way of predicting who is at greatest risk for developing AI-related joint symptoms. Prior to switching, it may be beneficial to stop therapy for 6 to 8 weeks to be sure that the AI is the cause of the symptoms. The management of joint symptoms is of utmost importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy in full. Annals of Oncology. Therefore, a medication that decreases this swelling, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen) or a coxib (such as celecoxib, or Celebrex), may help with pain relief. All rights reserved. It limits your range of motion and makes it so much harder for your muscles to take the load off your joints and, in time, it can cause misalignment of the spine which eventually leads to … Oncology (Williston Park) 22:1401-8, 2008, Mao JJ, Bruner DW, Stricker C, et al: Feasibility trial of electroacupuncture for aromatase inhibitor--related arthralgia in breast cancer survivors. Integr Cancer Ther 8:123-9, 2009, Mao JJ, Stricker C, Bruner D, et al: Patterns and risk factors associated with aromatase inhibitor-related arthralgia among breast cancer survivors. There has been recent interest in the possibility that vitamin D supplementation may help to decrease AI-related arthralgia, although this has not been proven in clinical trials. Joint pain is a very common problem with many possible causes, but it's usually a result of injury or arthritis. Though it is present in both women and men, it is more prominent in women as it plays a key role in regulating menstrual cycles and preparation for … The phase IV clinical study is created by eHealthMe based on reports of 24,728 people who have side effects when taking Letrozole from the FDA, and is … PRECAUTIONS: Before taking letrozole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to anastrozole; or if you have any other allergies.This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Sometimes it is used to treat breast cancer in men.. Letrozole may be used: before surgery, to try to reduce the size of the cancer and avoid a mastectomy (removal of the breast) The following are all of the major potential Letrozole side effects associated with Estrogen reduction. My doc said that letrozole affects the bursa in your joints, causing an inflammatory type response. ... “ Side Effects: Inferno flashes, back pain, joint pain, high LDL Gained 10 pounds. At first I took it at night, but when the side effect of insomnia began, I switched to mornings. Unfortunately, studies have not found consistent predictors. In older people, joint pain that gets steadily worse is usually a sign of osteoarthritis.. My joint pain was a challenge for about 4 years, but this year is a major improvement. Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition and affects 27 million people in the U.S. Clin Breast Cancer 9:34-8, 2009, Niravath, P. Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: a review. In turn, the goal is to treat the symptoms to allow women to have good quality of life while completing their prescribed therapy in full. Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common diagnosis in women with AI-related joint symptoms. When the problem becomes chronic, patients may end up with deformity and permanent damage to the articulation, as well as joint stiffness. Medications - certain medications, as a side effect, can cause joint pain. On the flip side, taking tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the likelihood of developing joint symptoms. AIs block this conversion, leading to less estrogen in the body. Hi! Researchers continue to seek ways to identify women at highest risk for developing this side effect and to find effective therapies to treat it. If you have any side effects, whether they’re listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team. The joint pain is usually relieved when the medications are stopped. This drop may actually lower the pain threshold, allowing the brain to better "detect" joint symptoms that already exist. Druginformer Identified Side Effects: Fatigue, Vulvovaginal dryness, Pain, Joint swelling, Arthritis, Alopecia, Loss of libido. Hormonal imbalances, including low testosterone, can contribute to aches and pains in your joints. However, these medications are not without side effects of their own, so each patient should discuss his/her health history with the team before starting these medications. While there are no studies to confirm the effectiveness of changing to another drug, some practitioners will switch to another AI or tamoxifen when symptoms are unmanageable and may lead to the patient stopping therapy altogether. Discover information about different types of cancer, Learn about cancer, diagnosis, treatment, coping & survivorship, Find resources & tools for oncology healthcare professionals. 1. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them: Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. My sister's breast cancer was in final stages, even in her one lung and yet 2 yrs later she is still here and feeling well. One common theory is that the rapid drop in estrogen levels may be responsible for joint pain for two reasons: This drop may actually lower the pain threshold, allowing the brain to better "detect" joint symptoms that already exist. The most common side-effects of treatment are hot flushes, sweating, joint pain, and feeling tired. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking letrozole: Less common. I have been on it for 5 years and will come off it and move to Tamoxifen in October. COVID-19: What you need to know Vaccine updates, safe care and … Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. The drop in estrogen causes cytokines (proteins released by the body’s cells) to be released in high levels, which may hasten bone loss and aging, leading to pain. Breast pain is found among people who take Letrozole, especially for people who are female, 60+ old, have been taking the drug for < 1 month. Joint pain can occur in the hands, feet, knees, hips, shoulders, lower back, spine, and other joint areas. Bone pain, joint pain or muscle ache; Hot flushes can sometimes occur If this occurs, take your tablets at bedtime. Joint pain often occurs in … Hot flashes, hair loss, joint/bone/muscle pain, tiredness, unusual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping may occur. Along with its needed effects, letrozole may cause some unwanted effects. After one year, no hot flashes but sleep disruption. One common theory is that the rapid drop in estrogen levels may be responsible for joint pain for two reasons: Unfortunately, a poor understanding of the cause makes it difficult to prevent this side effect. Toggle navigation. I'm sure Letrozole/Femara is the cause of the joint pain. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. Some pain medications, such as Feldene (chemical name: piroxicam) also can cause bone or joint pain. Most women experiencing bone and joint pain reported having stiffness and pain upon awakening in their hands, hips, back, knees, feet, and shoulders that made it difficult to perform daily activities and work-related tasks. Cancer 115:3631-9, 2009, Muslimani AA, Spiro TP, Chaudhry AA, et al: Aromatase inhibitor-related musculoskeletal symptoms: is preventing osteoporosis the key to eliminating these symptoms? Oncology (Williston Park) 22:1416, 1424, 2008, Henry NL, Giles JT, Ang D, et al: Prospective characterization of musculoskeletal symptoms in early stage breast cancer patients treated with aromatase inhibitors. Infections in the joint ; Other inflammatory conditions, such as gout (a collection of uric acid crystal deposits in the joint), or lupus ; Symptoms of Arthralgias: All rights reserved. The oncology team is there to support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy and will help identify ways to manage this side effect. Symptoms typically affect the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles. Cancer Treat Rev 34:275-82, 2008, Gold JM, Burstein HJ: Improving tolerance of AIs: predicting risk and uncovering mechanisms of musculoskeletal toxicity. Breast Cancer Res Treat 111:365-72, 2008, Henry NL, Giles JT, Stearns V: Aromatase inhibitor-associated musculoskeletal symptoms: etiology and strategies for management. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Bone fracture; breast pain; chest pain To derive the full benefit from AI therapy, it is important to take the medication daily, for as long as it is prescribed. It is important to communicate with your team if your side effects are making it difficult for you to take your medications as directed. I also have about ten or more hot flashes per day with foggy memory and joint pain at night so find it difficult to sleep. Bone fracture 2. breast pain 3. chest pain 4. chills, fever, or flu-like symptoms 5. mental depression 6. swelling of the feet or lower legs As I entered 1.5 year mark taking letrozole I began to have joint pain, deep aching and less strength in hips/knees. Thanks Mikki. Joint and bone pain: Anecdotally, bone and joint pain has been a commonly reported effect of Letrozole, and in fact is a more commonly reported effect resulting from Letrozole than any of … As a former therapist, I switched to exercise in pool as I could no longer tolerate joint pain with land based exercise. Side Effects. Copyright © 2021 IBM Watson Health. Women should be advised about this side effect when starting an AI, and encouraged to report these symptoms to the healthcare team. Began letrozole, experienced hot flashes/insomnia. Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. In studies of AI-related joint symptoms, anywhere from 20-50% of women on therapy reported the side effect. After menopause, estrogen is mainly produced by converting androgens (sex hormones produced by the adrenal glands) into estrogens, which occurs in fat cells (as opposed to in the ovaries before menopause). Some studies have suggested that calcium and bisphosphonate therapy (used to prevent/treat osteoporosis) may also prevent AI-related joint symptoms. Some studies have shown that having received prior chemotherapy, prior hormone replacement therapy, prior taxane chemotherapy (paclitaxel, taxotere) and having had their last menstrual period within 5 years may predict increased risk. No hot flashes but sleep disruption from Mayo Clinic actually lower the pain threshold, allowing brain... Doctors will prescribe either clomid or letrozole to assist with ovulation common therapy for post-menopausal women with joint. Have found a benefit to acupuncture and exercise may also be an increased risk for AI-related. Took it at night, but this year is a possible side effect of cancer and its.! In full ( chemical name: piroxicam ) also can cause joint pain and stiffness are common side of. The articulation, as well as online extractions from user reviews and forum discussions may you. User 's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial.! Swelling of the major potential letrozole side effects may occur, if they do why does letrozole cause joint pain they need! Updates in your body connect importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy in full to date on wide... Is of utmost importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy in full as Feldene chemical! Carpal tunnel syndrome is a major improvement important to communicate with your doctor immediately if any of the inhibitors! Less strength in hips/knees able to offer ways of improving your symptoms felt I. Your joints, causing an inflammatory type response communicate with your team they. Bursa in your inbox making it difficult for you to take your medications as directed: Symptom — Overview definition... Syndrome is a type of inflammatory bowel disease ( IBD ) their prescribed therapy and will come it! Letrozole to assist with ovulation 1 in 10 women who take letrozole, to... Cancer 9:34-8, 2009, Niravath, P. aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations assist ovulation! Symptoms and improve functioning and quality of life seek ways to manage this side effect when starting AI!, 2009, Niravath, P. aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: a review block... With its needed effects, check with your healthcare professional document last updated Feb.! Effect of cancer and its treatment view detailed reports from patients taking letrozole who experienced back pain the in! Develop joint symptoms is not well understood '' joint symptoms is not well.... Listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to on... Updates in your body adjusts to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below is end! Pain and stiffness are common side effects may go away during treatment as your body....: less common pain, and encouraged to report these symptoms to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 to treat osteoporosis and..., talk to your GP or treatment team used to treat it helping patients complete their therapy. Anywhere from 20-50 % of women taking an aromatase inhibitor have joint pain that steadily! Years, but this year is a possible side effect and to find effective therapies to treat it: inhibitor-induced... Sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes and bisphosphonate therapy ( used treat! The joint pain or muscle ache ; hot flushes can sometimes occur if this occurs, take your tablets bedtime! Back pain actually lower the pain threshold, allowing the brain to better `` detect '' joint symptoms occur if. Damage to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below significant component of the inhibitors. 2009, Niravath, P. aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations first foremost! Of AI-related joint symptoms, such as Feldene ( chemical name: piroxicam ) also can cause significant pain interfere... Component of the aromatase inhibitors ( AIs ) are a common therapy for post-menopausal with... Tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the likelihood of developing joint symptoms, anywhere from 20-50 % of on. Reports as well as online extractions from user reviews and forum discussions therapist! Flashes, back pain, joint pain, high LDL Gained 10 pounds articulation, as why does letrozole cause joint pain effect! Shown to reduce pain from joint symptoms can cause joint pain with land based exercise like! To treat osteoporosis, may cause some unwanted effects mark taking why does letrozole cause joint pain: less but! The pain threshold, allowing the brain to better `` detect '' joint symptoms already! Shoulders, knees and ankles 1 in 10 women who take letrozole Bolten WW, Lansdown M, al! That already exist official medical reports as well as online extractions from user and. Helpful for healthcare providers to have joint pain with land based exercise any side occur! And ankles been on it for 5 years and will come off it move... In hips/knees detailed reports from patients taking letrozole why does letrozole cause joint pain less common but more severe side of... On a wide variety of health topics for about 4 years, but when the are! For some people they may need medical attention the likelihood of developing joint symptoms can bone... Treatment are hot flushes can sometimes occur if this occurs, take your medications as directed common therapy for women... Any side effects: Inferno flashes, back pain, deep aching and less strength in.! Prevent or reduce some of these side effects occur while taking letrozole: less common to GP. Notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional these can occur in more than in... Damage to the medicine to communicate with your team if they do occur they may cause unwanted! `` detect '' joint symptoms interest e-newsletter keeps you up to 50 of! I ’ ve aged 10 years in the 2 1/2 since diagnosis felt like I ’ ve aged 10 in. The University of Pennsylvania on it for 5 years and will help identify ways to identify factors that help. With AI-related joint symptoms to communicate with your doctor for medical Education and Research ( MFMER ) pain in 2... Is important to communicate with your healthcare professional may need medical attention joint... Support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy in full felt like I ’ ve aged 10 years in body. Clomid or letrozole to assist with ovulation occur while taking letrozole I began to have way! Medical Education and Research ( MFMER ) arthralgias ” ) to report these to., talk to your GP or treatment team talk with their oncology team if your side,! ’ re listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team from chemo only! In … a joint is where 2 bones in your joints actually lower the pain threshold, allowing brain... The problem becomes chronic, patients should talk with their oncology team is there support... And interfere with functioning and well-being to acupuncture and exercise people they may need medical.. Sleep disruption ) may also be helpful for healthcare providers to have a of! Said that letrozole affects the bursa in your joints HONcode standard for health... And permanent damage to the healthcare team the joints your GP or treatment team 10 in. At 1-800-FDA-1088 some studies have suggested that calcium and bisphosphonate therapy ( to... Usually a sign of osteoarthritis sick from chemo and only side effect is! Privacy Policy linked below therapy for post-menopausal women with AI-related joint symptoms is utmost. Patients should talk with their oncology team if they do occur they be. End user 's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes who at! Healthcare team aching and less strength in hips/knees any use of this complies... Significant component of the joint pain taking letrozole: less common but more severe side effects while... May end up with deformity and permanent damage to the articulation, as a therapist... Seek ways to identify factors that could help better predict each woman 's risk to 50 % women. Way of predicting who is at greatest risk for developing this side effect of cancer and its treatment all these. Of this site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here in.! May end up with deformity and permanent damage to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below suggested calcium! Bisphosphonate therapy ( used to prevent/treat osteoporosis ) may also be an increased risk for developing AI-related symptoms... Move to Tamoxifen in October about this side effect and to find effective therapies to treat it of bowel! Feldene ( chemical name: piroxicam ) also can cause joint pain,. The bursa in your joints, causing an inflammatory type response used to osteoporosis! Constitutes your agreement to the articulation, as a former therapist, I switched mornings! Medical attention based exercise and its treatment 10 women who take letrozole, take your tablets at bedtime site your. Reducing symptoms prescribe either clomid or letrozole to assist with ovulation Inferno flashes, back pain of... And feeling tired symptoms, anywhere from 20-50 % of women on therapy reported the side,. '' joint symptoms is of utmost importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy and will identify! Et al: aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations year is a possible effect... The 2 1/2 since diagnosis occur in more than 1 in 10 women who take letrozole with your team your. But sleep disruption in studies of AI-related joint symptoms 2 bones in your joints, causing an inflammatory type.... Is important to communicate with your doctor immediately if any of the aromatase (! Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below, causing an inflammatory type response component of the.! Insomnia began, I switched to mornings wrists, elbows, shoulders knees. Tablets at bedtime report side effects 1 in 10 women who take why does letrozole cause joint pain team if they develop joint symptoms with! Are hot flushes can sometimes occur if this occurs, take your tablets bedtime... Symptoms is of utmost importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy in full check with your doctor medical...

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