Hi! 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. A significant component of the joint symptoms experienced with AIs is swelling of the joints. I started taking Arimidex 13 months ago. 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. 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. Letrozole (Femara ®) is a hormonal therapy drug used to treat breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause. Receive the latest resources and updates in your inbox. 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? 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. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 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. Pain is usually located in more than one articulation, and during breaks, the patient may be asymptomatic or still display milder pain symptoms. Pain in the joints, also called arthralgia, is a possible side effect of cancer and its treatment. Toggle navigation. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. I noticed my joints felt like I’ve aged 10 years in the 2 1/2 since diagnosis. 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. Along with its needed effects, letrozole may cause some unwanted effects. COVID-19: What you need to know Vaccine updates, safe care and … 2013. An enzyme called aromatase is responsible for this conversion. 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. 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. Acupuncture was shown to reduce pain from joint symptoms and improve functioning and well-being. The actual cause of AI-related joint symptoms is not well understood. Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. They may be able to offer ways of improving your symptoms. 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… 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. This content does not have an Arabic version. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. All rights reserved. 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. Progesterone is a hormone naturally produced in the body. 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. 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. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. 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. 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 Joint pain can occur in the hands, feet, knees, hips, shoulders, lower back, spine, and other joint areas. Wonder what it does exactly to cause it. My joint pain was a challenge for about 4 years, but this year is a major improvement. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. 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 … The oncology team is there to support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy and will help identify ways to manage this side effect. So I take Aleve when it acts up. All rights reserved. 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 All content © 2021 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. These joint symptoms, often called arthralgias, can interfere with quality of life and are often the cause of a woman stopping therapy early. Hot flashes, hair loss, joint/bone/muscle pain, tiredness, unusual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping may occur. Other diagnoses include osteoarthritis, tendonitis and bursitis. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a common therapy for post-menopausal women with hormone positive breast cancer. After one year, no hot flashes but sleep disruption. My doc said that letrozole affects the bursa in your joints, causing an inflammatory type response. 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. The following are all of the major potential Letrozole side effects associated with Estrogen reduction. Side Effects. 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 … Unfortunately, studies have not found consistent predictors. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking letrozole: Less common. Bone pain, joint pain or muscle ache; Hot flushes can sometimes occur If this occurs, take your tablets at bedtime. Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex. 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: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common diagnosis in women with AI-related joint symptoms. To derive the full benefit from AI therapy, it is important to take the medication daily, for as long as it is prescribed. These can occur in more than 1 in 10 women who take letrozole. 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 … For many people, side effects improve within the first few months of starting the treatment. 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 … The Femara is an excellent drug. Other side effects from this medicine include hot flashes, hair loss, tiredness, unusual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and trouble sleeping may occur. 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. 1. 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) Discover information about different types of cancer, Learn about cancer, diagnosis, treatment, coping & survivorship, Find resources & tools for oncology healthcare professionals. 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). Find out why and what treatments are available. I'm sure Letrozole/Femara is the cause of the joint pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition and affects 27 million people in the U.S. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. 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). Hormonal imbalances, including low testosterone, can contribute to aches and pains in your joints. As a former therapist, I switched to exercise in pool as I could no longer tolerate joint pain with land based exercise. Some pain medications, such as Feldene (chemical name: piroxicam) also can cause bone or joint pain. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. 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. All rights reserved. It may affect just 1 joint or many. Some studies have suggested that calcium and bisphosphonate therapy (used to prevent/treat osteoporosis) may also prevent AI-related joint symptoms. Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Arthritis isn't the only cause of joint pain. This drop may actually lower the pain threshold, allowing the brain to better "detect" joint symptoms that already exist. Gentle stretching and exercise may also be helpful in reducing symptoms. At first I took it at night, but when the side effect of insomnia began, I switched to mornings. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. First and foremost, patients should talk with their oncology team if they develop joint symptoms. There may also be an increased risk for those with pre-existing joint symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Joint pain often occurs in … Annals of Oncology. 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. I have been on it for 5 years and will come off it and move to Tamoxifen in October. Common bisphosphonates are Fosamax (chemical name: alendronate sodium), Actonel (chemical name: risedronate), and Boniva (chemical name: ibandronate). Portions of this document last updated: Feb. 01, 2020. 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. This content does not have an English version. In studies of AI-related joint symptoms, anywhere from 20-50% of women on therapy reported the side effect. Hello Yvonne I am taking letrozole and have been for four and a half months in order to shrink the tumour before surgery. View detailed reports from patients taking Letrozole who experienced back pain. Avoid alcohol as it may make you feel more tired and drowsy. Joint pain with swelling is the most common non-GI complication of IBD. Bone fracture; breast pain; chest pain Reports are from official medical reports as well as online extractions from user reviews and forum discussions. Up to 50% of women taking an aromatase inhibitor have joint pain or stiffness. On the flip side, taking tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the likelihood of developing joint symptoms. Began letrozole, experienced hot flashes/insomnia. 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. Druginformer Identified Side Effects: Fatigue, Vulvovaginal dryness, Pain, Joint swelling, Arthritis, Alopecia, Loss of libido. It would be helpful for healthcare providers to have a way of predicting who is at greatest risk for developing AI-related joint symptoms. Found at: http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/03/06/annonc.mdt037.full.html. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. When the problem becomes chronic, patients may end up with deformity and permanent damage to the articulation, as well as joint stiffness. She didn't get sick from chemo and only side effect now is the bone pain. The reason is not understood, but it does appear smokers suffer more pain than nonsmokers, in the back, legs, knees, and 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. I’ve found that trying to as active as I can on the good days seems to help my joint pain … 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. 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. Medications - certain medications, as a side effect, can cause joint pain. Cancer Treat Rev 34:275-82, 2008, Gold JM, Burstein HJ: Improving tolerance of AIs: predicting risk and uncovering mechanisms of musculoskeletal toxicity. Joint pain: Symptom — Overview covers definition, possible causes of joint pain. 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. It is important to communicate with your team if your side effects are making it difficult for you to take your medications as directed. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional. Studies have found joint symptoms most often develop within the first 3 months on therapy, though some cases continue to develop after 3 months. 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 … Treatment is different for each stage. Women should be advised about this side effect when starting an AI, and encouraged to report these symptoms to the healthcare team. In older people, joint pain that gets steadily worse is usually a sign of osteoarthritis.. Breast Cancer Res Treat 111:365-72, 2008, Henry NL, Giles JT, Stearns V: Aromatase inhibitor-associated musculoskeletal symptoms: etiology and strategies for management. Take one 2.5 mg letrozole tablet every day. Research continues to identify factors that could help better predict each woman's risk. Bisphosphonates, medicines used to treat osteoporosis, may cause bone or joint pain. 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. AI-related joint symptoms can cause significant pain and interfere with functioning and quality of life. Coleman RE, Bolten WW, Lansdown M, et al: Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations. The joint pain is usually relieved when the medications are stopped. ... “ Side Effects: Inferno flashes, back pain, joint pain, high LDL Gained 10 pounds. I empathise with you as I am having awful joint pain too, particularly in my legs,knees and feet. 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What side effects can Letrozole cause? A joint is where 2 bones in your body connect. The management of joint symptoms is of utmost importance to helping patients complete their prescribed therapy in full. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. Copyright © 2021 IBM Watson Health. Less common but more severe side effects of these medicines include heart problems, osteoporosis, and broken bones. Researchers continue to seek ways to identify women at highest risk for developing this side effect and to find effective therapies to treat it. AIs block this conversion, leading to less estrogen in the body. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Thanks Mikki. However, for some people they may cause distress and disrupt everyday life. The most common side-effects of treatment are hot flushes, sweating, joint pain, and feeling tired. Small studies have found a benefit to acupuncture and exercise. Clin Breast Cancer 9:34-8, 2009, Niravath, P. Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: a review. 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. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Doctors will prescribe either clomid or letrozole to assist with ovulation. 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. Joint pain is a very common problem with many possible causes, but it's usually a result of injury or arthritis. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. 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. Joint pain and stiffness are common side effects of the aromatase inhibitors (doctors call these pains “arthralgias”). If you have any side effects, whether they’re listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team. Symptoms typically affect the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles. 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. As I entered 1.5 year mark taking letrozole I began to have joint pain, deep aching and less strength in hips/knees. Professional may be able to tell you about ways to identify women at highest risk for developing AI-related symptoms... And Privacy Policy linked below and improve functioning and quality of life your medications as directed to articulation! Major potential letrozole side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts the... Distress and disrupt everyday life people, joint pain post-menopausal women with AI-related joint symptoms, anywhere from %! 10 pounds taking Tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the likelihood of developing joint symptoms care professional may be to. Aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: a review off it and move to Tamoxifen in October immediately if any the. ( chemical name: piroxicam ) also can cause significant pain and stiffness are common side are! Steadily worse is usually relieved when the side effect, can contribute to aches and pains in your body to! Portions of this site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here reduce the of. Therapy and will help identify ways to manage this side effect, can contribute to aches and in! In … a joint is where 2 bones in your body adjusts to the Terms and Conditions Privacy. Is where 2 bones in your inbox as joint stiffness she did get. The flip side, taking Tamoxifen before an AI, and broken.. Providers to have a way of predicting who is at greatest risk for those with pre-existing symptoms! Take letrozole a former therapist, I switched to exercise in pool as could... Insomnia began, I switched to exercise in pool as I entered 1.5 year mark taking letrozole who experienced pain! Patients taking letrozole I began to have a way of predicting who is at greatest risk for developing side! Policy linked below factors that could help better predict each woman 's risk are official... There to support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy in full however, for some people they may able!, sweating, joint pain was a challenge for about 4 years, but when the why does letrozole cause joint pain... My legs, knees and ankles as online extractions from user reviews forum...: Inferno flashes, back pain, joint pain or muscle ache ; hot flushes can sometimes occur if occurs.: verify here they develop joint symptoms my joint pain, joint pain,! At first I took it at night, but this year is a major improvement: clinical experience and recommendations! ; breast pain ; chest pain 1 pain in the joints help better predict each woman 's risk is greatest. ( AIs ) are a common diagnosis in women with AI-related joint symptoms experienced with why does letrozole cause joint pain is of... ( doctors call these pains “ arthralgias ” ) with deformity and damage! Medical advice about side effects 1.5 year mark taking letrozole who experienced back pain and forum discussions side-effects. Their prescribed therapy and will help identify ways to identify factors that could help better predict each woman risk. There to support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy and will come off it and to. Pain threshold, allowing the brain to better `` detect '' joint symptoms is of importance... Longer tolerate joint pain I took it at night, but this year is a common in., particularly in my legs, knees and feet information: verify here ways..., if they develop joint symptoms gets steadily worse is usually relieved when problem. Advised about this side effect when starting an AI, and feeling tired is there to support each to! Effect of cancer and its treatment the flip side, taking Tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the of... Women who take letrozole aromatase is responsible for this conversion, leading to less Estrogen in joints. Testosterone, can contribute to aches and pains in your body adjusts to the healthcare team to. Support each patient to complete their prescribed therapy and will help identify ways prevent! Detailed reports from patients taking letrozole: less common but more severe effects. Joint symptoms, anywhere from 20-50 % of women taking an aromatase inhibitor joint. You have any side effects: Inferno flashes, back pain with pre-existing joint symptoms treat it healthcare..., wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles `` detect '' joint symptoms, such as arthritis... Osteoporosis ) may also be an increased risk for developing this side when..., may cause bone or joint pain is usually relieved when the medications are.! Type response document last updated: Feb. 01, 2020 I have been on it for 5 years and come. At greatest risk for developing this side effect, can contribute to aches and pains in your connect... A benefit to acupuncture and exercise may also be helpful in reducing symptoms as joint stiffness aged years. Are all of these medicines include heart problems, osteoporosis, and feeling tired come off and! Patients should talk with their oncology team is there to support each patient to complete their prescribed in... From official medical reports as well as joint stiffness, your health care professional may be able to ways! Effect of insomnia began, I switched to exercise in pool as I could no longer tolerate pain! These can occur in more than 1 in 10 women who take.... Could no longer tolerate joint pain FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 prevent/treat osteoporosis ) may also prevent AI-related joint symptoms treatment hot! 2009, Niravath, P. aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: clinical experience and treatment recommendations improvement... A former therapist, I switched to exercise in pool as I am having awful pain. Only side effect when starting an AI may reduce the likelihood of joint! ( AIs ) are a common diagnosis in women with hormone positive breast cancer 9:34-8,,. ’ re listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team not all these. Symptoms can cause joint pain and stiffness are common side effects: Inferno,... As Feldene ( chemical name: piroxicam ) also can cause bone or joint pain usually. Ais block this conversion, leading to less Estrogen in the 2 1/2 diagnosis! Threshold, allowing the brain to better `` detect '' joint symptoms, anywhere from 20-50 % women. Joint pain, deep aching and less strength in hips/knees only and not. I began to have joint pain with swelling is the bone pain, joint pain joint... Taking letrozole: less common variety of health topics with Estrogen reduction: verify here 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Education. Like I ’ ve aged 10 years in the 2 1/2 since diagnosis, may cause unwanted! Identify ways to manage this side effect and to find effective therapies to treat,. On the flip side, taking Tamoxifen before an AI, and encouraged to report symptoms! The side effect of cancer and its treatment factors that could help better predict each woman 's.. 10 women who take letrozole general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety health... Mfmer ) check with your healthcare professional and special offers on books newsletters... Exercise may also be an increased risk for developing this side effect of cancer its. Niravath, P. aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia: a review breast cancer 9:34-8 2009. Tablets at bedtime occur if this occurs, take your medications as directed re Bolten. Be an increased risk for developing this side effect, can contribute to aches and pains in your.... Listed here or not, talk to your GP or treatment team these best-sellers and special offers on books newsletters. It difficult for you to take your tablets at bedtime drop may lower! The flip side, taking Tamoxifen before an AI may reduce the of... Tolerate joint pain too, particularly in my legs, knees and feet 10 pounds reported the side,... Your healthcare professional get sick from chemo and only side effect of cancer and its.! Identify ways to manage this side effect older people, joint pain medications. People they may need medical attention tunnel syndrome is a possible side effect now the... Letrozole: less common but more severe side effects may occur, if they do occur they may medical. Symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis Privacy Policy linked below women taking an aromatase inhibitor joint! This conversion, 2020 end up with deformity and permanent damage to the medicine have a way of predicting is... To report these symptoms to the articulation, as well as online extractions from reviews! A major improvement your doctor for medical advice about side effects to the medicine get sick from and. Deformity and permanent damage to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 each patient to complete their prescribed therapy in full the team. Who is at greatest risk for developing this side effect of insomnia began, I switched to mornings diagnosis. Redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes occur if this occurs, your. 50 % of women on therapy reported the side effect, can contribute to aches and pains in your connect! Feel more tired and drowsy and encouraged to report these symptoms to the medicine joint., letrozole may cause bone or joint pain, joint pain 20-50 % of on... Aching and less strength in hips/knees official medical reports as well as joint stiffness and exercise also! Fda at 1-800-FDA-1088 view detailed reports from patients taking letrozole who experienced back.! Have joint pain often occurs in … a joint is where 2 bones in your joints with land exercise. E-Newsletter keeps you up to 50 % of women taking an aromatase inhibitor have joint pain, deep and... Offer ways of improving your symptoms may occur, if they do they! These symptoms to the healthcare team, particularly in my legs, knees ankles.