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Chemotherapy and other systemic treatment regimens may change due to COVID-19. Find out more at Systemic Treatment Regimens During COVID-19.

fulvestrant

( FULL-ves-trant )
Funding:
ODB - General Benefit
  • fulvestrant
Other Name(s): Faslodex®
Appearance: Clear, colourless to yellow liquid in pre-filled syringes for injection

Medication Information Sheet
fulvestrant (FULL-ves-trant)
This document provides general information about your medication. It does not replace the advice of your health care professional. Always discuss your therapy with your health care professional and refer to the package insert for more details.

Other Name: Faslodex®

Appearance:
Clear, colourless to yellow liquid in pre-filled syringes for injection

What is this medication for?
  • For treating a certain type of hormone sensitive breast cancer
What should I do before I have this medication?

Tell your health care team if you have or had significant medical condition(s), especially if you have / had: 

  • bleeding problems or you are receiving blood thinners (such as warfarin),

  • bone thinning / loss or bone fractures (or if you have family members that have / had either of these), or

  • liver problems, or

  • any allergies.

     

Remember to:

  • Tell your health care team about all of the other medications you are taking.

     

  • Keep taking other medications that have been prescribed for you, unless you have been told not to by your health care team.

How will this medication affect sex, pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Talk to your health care team about:

  • How this medication may affect your sexual health.

  • How this medication may affect your ability to have a baby, if this applies to you.

  • If there is any chance of pregnancy happening, you and your partner together must use 2 effective forms of birth control at the same time for at least 2 years after your last dose. Talk to your health care team about which birth control options are best for you.

  • Do not breastfeed while on this medication.

  • This medication may harm an unborn baby. Tell your health care team if you or your partner are pregnant, become pregnant during treatment, or are breastfeeding.

How is this medication given?
  • This drug is usually given by injection into the muscle of the buttock. Talk to your health care team about your treatment schedule.

  • Be sure to visit your doctor for your repeat injection. Talk to your health care team to see what you need to bring for your next visit (such as medications and/or supplies).

  • If you missed your treatment appointment, talk to your health care team to find out what to do.

What else do I need to know while on this medication?

Will this medication interact with other medications or natural health products?

  • This medication can interact with other medications, vitamins, foods and natural health products. Interactions can make the treatment not work as well or cause severe side effects.

  • Tell your health care team about all of your:

    • prescription and over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications and all other drugs, such as marijuana (medical or recreational)

    • natural health products such as vitamins, herbal teas, homeopathic medicines, and other supplements

  • Check with your health care team before starting or stopping any of them.

  • Do not take any treatment containing estrogen (including herbal supplements) while you are on fulvestrant, as this can make your treatment not work as well.

 

What to DO while on this medication:

  • DO check with your health care team before getting any vaccinations, surgery, dental work or other medical procedures.

     

  • DO talk to your health care team about your risk of getting osteoporosis after this treatment.

 

What NOT to DO while on this medication:

  • DO NOT smoke or drink alcohol while on treatment without talking to your health care team first. Smoking and drinking can make side effects worse and make your treatment not work as well.

  • DO NOT drive, operate machinery or do any tasks that need you to be alert if you feel tired.

How should I safely store this medication?
  • Keep this medication in the original packaging in the refrigerator, but do not freeze. Keep out of sight and reach of children and pets.

  • Do not throw out any unused medications at home. Bring them to your pharmacy to be thrown away safely.

What are the side effects of this medication?

The following table lists side effects that you may have when getting fulvestrant. The table is set up to list the most common side effects first and the least common last. It is unlikely that you will have all of the side effects listed and you may have some that are not listed.

Read over the side effect table so that you know what to look for and when to get help. Refer to this table if you experience any side effects while on fulvestrant.

 

Less Common Side Effects (10 to 24 out of 100 people)
Side effects and what to do When to contact health care team

Mild joint, muscle pain or cramps

What to look for?

  • New pain in your muscles or joints, muscle cramps, or feeling achy.

What to do?

  • Take pain medication (acetaminophen or opioids such as codeine, morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone) as prescribed.
  • Rest often and try light exercise (such as walking) as it may help.

Ask your health care team for the Pain pamphlet for more information.

Talk to your health care team if it does not improve or if it is severe

Liver problems (may be severe)

Your health care team may check your liver function with a blood test. The liver changes do not usually cause any symptoms.

What to look for?

  • Rarely, you may develop yellowish skin or eyes, unusually dark pee or pain on the right side of your belly. This may be severe.

What to do?

If you have any symptoms of liver problems, get emergency medical help right away.

Get emergency medical help right away

Reactions at the injection site 

What to look for?

  • Your skin may become red, itchy, bruised, and/or swollen where the injection was given.
  • Site reactions are usually mild and go away within one to three days.

What to do?

  • You may need to apply hot compresses or ice/cold compresses if you have mild redness or discomfort. This depends on which medication caused the reaction.
  • Talk to your health care team to find out which treatment is right for you.
  • Rarely, reactions may be severe with pain and weakness in your legs. If this happens, get emergency help right away.
Talk to your health care team if this bothers you

Fatigue 

What to look for?

  • Feeling of tiredness or low energy that lasts a long time and does not go away with rest or sleep.

 

What to do?

  • Be active. Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise (you are able to talk comfortably while exercising) on most days.
  • Check with your health care team before starting any new exercise.
  • Pace yourself, do not rush. Put off less important activities. Rest when you need to.
  • Ask family or friends to help you with things like housework, shopping, and child or pet care.
  • Eat well and drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water or other liquids every day (unless your health care team has told you to drink more or less).
  • Avoid driving or using machinery if you are feeling tired.

Ask your health care team for the Fatigue pamphlet for more information. 

 

Talk to your health care team if it does not improve or if it is severe

Nausea and vomiting (generally mild)

What to look for?

  • Nausea is feeling like you need to throw up. You may also feel light-headed.
  • You may feel nausea within hours to days after your treatment.

 

What to do?

To help prevent nausea:

  • It is easier to prevent nausea than to treat it once it happens.
  • Drink clear liquids and have small meals. Get fresh air and rest.
  • Do not eat spicy, fried foods or foods with a strong smell.
  • Limit caffeine (like coffee, tea) and avoid alcohol.

 

If you have nausea or vomiting:

  • Take your rescue (as-needed) anti-nausea medication(s) as prescribed.
  • Ask your health care team for the Nausea & Vomiting pamphlet for more information.
  • Talk to your health care team if:
    • nausea lasts more than 48 hours
    • vomiting lasts more than 24 hours or if it is severe
Talk to your healthcare team if nausea lasts more than 48 hours or vomiting lasts more than 24 hours or if it is severe

You may experience symptoms of having low estrogen levels such as:

  • hot flashes, feeling or wave of warmth
  • vaginal dryness (possibly with discharge or bleeding)
  • memory loss
  • mood changes, depression

Talk to your health care team if you have any questions.

 

Other rare, but serious side effects are possible.
If you experience ANY of the following, speak to your cancer health care provider or get emergency medical help right away:

 

 

Who do I contact if I have questions or need help?          

My cancer health care provider is: ______________________________________________

During the day I should contact:________________________________________________

Evenings, weekends and holidays:______________________________________________

 

Other Notes:

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________


November 2020 Updated/Revised info sheet

For more links on how to manage your symptoms go to www.cancercareontario.ca/symptoms.

The information set out in the medication information sheets, regimen information sheets, and symptom management information (for patients) contained in the Drug Formulary (the "Formulary") is intended to be used by health professionals and patients for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or side effects of a certain drug, nor should it be used to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for a given condition.

A patient should always consult a healthcare provider if he/she has any questions regarding the information set out in the Formulary. The information in the Formulary is not intended to act as or replace medical advice and should not be relied upon in any such regard. All uses of the Formulary are subject to clinical judgment and actual prescribing patterns may not follow the information provided in the Formulary.