5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
5.1 Reductions in Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
Reductions in bone mineral density (BMD) over time are seen with exemestane use. Table 1 describes changes in BMD from baseline to 24 months in patients receiving exemestane compared to patients receiving tamoxifen (IES) or placebo (027). Concomitant use of bisphosphonates, vitamin D supplementation, and calcium was not allowed.
|Lumbar spine (%)||-3.1||-0.2||-3.5||-2.4|
|Femoral neck (%)||-4.2||-0.3||-4.6||-2.6|
During adjuvant treatment with exemestane, women with osteoporosis or at risk of osteoporosis should have their bone mineral density formally assessed by bone densitometry at the commencement of treatment. Monitor patients for bone mineral density loss and treat as appropriate.
5.2 Vitamin D Assessment
Routine assessment of 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels prior to the start of aromatase inhibitor treatment should be performed, due to the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in women with early breast cancer (EBC). Women with vitamin D deficiency should receive supplementation with vitamin D.
5.3 Administration with Estrogen-Containing Agents
AROMASIN should not be coadministered with systemic estrogen-containing agents as these could interfere with its pharmacologic action.
5.4 Laboratory Abnormalities
In patients with early breast cancer, the incidence of hematological abnormalities of Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) grade ≥1 was lower in the exemestane treatment group, compared with tamoxifen. Incidence of CTC grade 3 or 4 abnormalities was low (approximately 0.1%) in both treatment groups. Approximately 20% of patients receiving exemestane in clinical studies in advanced breast cancer experienced CTC grade 3 or 4 lymphocytopenia. Of these patients, 89% had a pre-existing lower grade lymphopenia. Forty percent of patients either recovered or improved to a lesser severity while on treatment. Patients did not have a significant increase in viral infections, and no opportunistic infections were observed. Elevations of serum levels of AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase >5 times the upper value of the normal range (i.e., ≥ CTC grade 3) have been rarely reported in patients treated for advanced breast cancer but appear mostly attributable to the underlying presence of liver and/or bone metastases. In the comparative study in advanced breast cancer patients, CTC grade 3 or 4 elevation of gamma glutamyl transferase without documented evidence of liver metastasis was reported in 2.7% of patients treated with AROMASIN and in 1.8% of patients treated with megestrol acetate.
In patients with early breast cancer, elevations in bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and creatinine were more common in those receiving exemestane than either tamoxifen or placebo. Treatment-emergent bilirubin elevations (any CTC grade) occurred in 5% of exemestane patients and 0.8% of tamoxifen patients on the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES), and in 7% of exemestane treated patients vs. 0% of placebo treated patients in the 027 study. CTC grade 3–4 increases in bilirubin occurred in 0.9% of exemestane treated patients compared to 0.1% of tamoxifen treated patients. Alkaline phosphatase elevations of any CTC grade occurred in 15% of exemestane treated patients on the IES compared to 2.6% of tamoxifen treated patients, and in 14% of exemestane treated patients compared to 7% of placebo treated patients in study 027. Creatinine elevations occurred in 6% of exemestane treated patients and 4.3% of tamoxifen treated patients on the IES and in 6% of exemestane treated patients and 0% of placebo treated patients in study 027.
5.5 Use in Premenopausal Women
AROMASIN is not indicated for the treatment of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
5.6 Embryo-Fetal Toxicity
Based on findings from animal studies and its mechanism of action, AROMASIN can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. In animal reproduction studies, administration of exemestane to pregnant rats and rabbits caused increased incidence of abortions and embryo-fetal toxicity. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with AROMASIN and for 1 month after the last dose [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1), (8.3) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.1)].