Fulvestrant is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other areas of the body in women who have gone through "the change of life" (menopause). It is used in patients who have not responded well to other medications (e.g., tamoxifen). Breast cancer cells need the hormone estrogen in order to grow. Fulvestrant works by blocking the effect of estrogen, slowing tumor cell growth.
This medication is injected slowly into the buttock muscle as directed by your doctor. It is usually given every 2 weeks for the first 3 doses and then monthly thereafter.
You will be instructed on whether to give your dose as one or two injections. To minimize discomfort, the medication can be taken out of the refrigerator up to 1 hour before the scheduled dose and allowed to reach room temperature.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. This medication is normally clear and colorless to yellow in color. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Pain/swelling/redness at the injection site, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, tiredness, weakness, headache, body aches/pains, flushing and sweating (hot flushes/hot flashes), or trouble sleeping may occur. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting physical activity may help lessen the chance of nausea and vomiting. If any of these effects continue or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: burning/painful/frequent urination, numbness/tingling/swelling of the hands or feet, pain/redness/swelling of the arms or legs, bone/pelvis/hip pain, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), persistent cough, persistent vaginal bleeding, mental/mood changes (e.g., anxiety, depression), chest pain, trouble breathing.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as benzyl alcohol), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: bleeding problems, low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), current treatment with "blood thinners" (e.g., warfarin).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Fulvestrant is used mainly in women after menopause. If you have not gone through menopause and your doctor has prescribed this for you, this medication should not be used during pregnancy. It may cause harm to an unborn baby or miscarriage. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Women of childbearing age should use reliable form(s) of contraception (such as latex condoms) during treatment. Products containing estrogen (such as birth control pills) should not be used. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: estrogens.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store in the original carton in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) away from light. Do not reuse single-use syringes. Discard any unused portion.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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