Femara (Letrozole) is one of the most popular nonsteroidal drugs used in hormone therapy of breast cancer. Femara blocks the production of aromatase enzyme, which synthesizes sex hormones in postmenopausal women.
Femara is used in the treatment of breast cancer (stage IV) in postmenopausal women receiving no treatment (first-line treatment). It is also used in breast cancer (stage IV) in postmenopausal women treated with Tamoxifen (as first-line treatment). As for the structure and function, Femara is very similar to Arimidex, which is used in the United States for the same purpose. Femara and Arimidex are popular aromatase inhibitors. They both work more efficiently than other drugs. At the same time, Femara is effective in much lower doses.
Letrozole helps suppress tumor growth. The daily use of the drug leads to a decrease of estradiol, estrone sulfate and estrone in the blood. The drug has no effect on the synthesis of steroid hormones in the adrenal glands.
Letrozole is not used during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in case of hypersensitivity to the drug. Common side effects include: headache, nausea, edema, fatigue, hot flushes, rash, vomiting, indigestion, weight gain, pain in the bones and muscles, loss of appetite, etc. In general, the frequency of side effects caused by Femara is lower than that of Tamoxifen.
How to use Femara in bodybuilding
Femara (Letrozole) is popular among bodybuilders and other athletes. The drug is used in sports as an additional element in the steroid cycle to reduce the levels of estrogen. It should be noted that this drug is also capable to affect testosterone levels by increasing the level of LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). For this reason, some doctors use Letrozole in patients with low levels of testosterone.
Letrozole is considered one of the best products among bodybuilders. Studies have shown that the drug can reduce the concentration of estrogen by up to 97%. If you take the recommended doses, the concentration is reduced only by 76-79%, which is also good. Low levels of estrogen affect the reduction of adverse events, which is very important for athletes. It was also observed that Letrozole in bodybuilding increases the production of certain hormones (luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, etc.) and they, in turn, increase the production of testosterone.
Letrozole is effective in case if you take anabolic steroids and androgens. Letrozole effects:
- Prevention of estrogen-dependent negative side effects (water retention, acne, gynecomastia);
- Increased production of hormones, including testosterone;
- The drug helps reduce the symptoms of gynecomastia in the early stages of the cycle;
- Femara helps prevent the muscle tissue breakdown after the cycle.
How to take Femara
Medical reasons: patients take 1 tablet (2.5 mg) once a day for a very long time. Extended adjuvant treatment with Femara can last up to five years. The treatment should be discontinued immediately if there are symptoms of disease progression.
Femara in bodybuilding is used at a dose of 1-3 mg per day (at any time of the day). Studies have shown that even the dose of 100 mcg per day is very effective. Excessive amounts of Letrozole may lead to negative phenomena such as reduced sexual desire.
The daily dosage is different for each athlete (depending on age, experience, duration of therapy, etc.). Nevertheless, it should be in the range of 1 to 3 mg per day. In many cases, it will be enough to take 1.25 mg every other day (to prevent the majority of side effects associated with high levels of estrogen).
Doses for preventive action in bodybuilding: 0.5 mg (1/5 tablet) a day. As for competitions, bodybuilders can increase the dosage to 1 mg per day within the last 7-14 days before competitions. This will help improve the rigidity of the muscles.
Doses for the treatment of gynecomastia: 2.5 mg daily until symptoms disappear, and then – 0.5 mg every other day.
You can also adjust the dose of Letrozole if you suffer from erectile dysfunction or depression.
Note that Letrozole should be taken with caution in case of lactase deficiency, glucose-galactose malabsorption and lactose intolerance (there are other nuances as well).
How to take Femara during PCT
Letrozole dosage may vary during the cycle. As for the PCT, the standard dose is of 2.5 mg daily for 7-10 days and then 0.5 mg every other day for two to three weeks.
Possible Side Effects
Adverse events are generally mild or moderate.
Side effects when using Letrozole for medical reasons:
Digestive tract: dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, stomatitis, elevated liver transaminase levels;
Nervous system: dizziness, headache, nervousness, irritability, depression, transient ischemic attacks;
Hematopoietic system: leukopenia;
Cardiovascular system: tachycardia, high blood pressure, thrombophlebitis;
Dermatologic reactions: skin rash, itching, sweating, alopecia, angioedema;
Musculoskeletal system: myalgia, arthralgia, osteoporosis.
Femara should be used with caution in patients suffering from severe hepatic impairment. Some side effects of this drug (dizziness, weakness, etc.) can affect the ability to concentrate.
Letrozole is used by many athletes in bodybuilding. There are no special contraindications, but it is recommended to take Letrozole under the supervision of experts (especially in athletes who have intolerance to some components of the drug or liver problems).
As for bodybuilders, Femara can cause headache, joint pain, fever, weakness, nausea, high blood pressure, dizziness, hair loss. This drug can also reduce the degree of bone mineralization that can lead to osteoporosis and high risk of fractures in susceptible patients. Some athletes may suffer from gastrointestinal disorders including nausea and vomiting. The long-term course may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing some of the beneficial effects of estrogen on the amount of cholesterol. Studies have shown that Letrozole may cause suppression of good cholesterol (when used in conjunction with Testosterone Enanthate). Therefore, men prone to cardiovascular disease should use Tamoxifen instead of Femara.
It is worth noting that severe side effects can occur only if you use high doses of the drug. You should immediately seek medical attention in case of accidental overdose.
In general, many athletes believe this drug is one of the most effective. Besides, Femara is one of the cheapest among the various types of antiestrogen drugs.