Reader’s Choice : Letrozole & Endometriosis

Bottle of Letrozole
Photo courtesy of JLD

One of my local EndoWarriors has started a new medication to help with her Endometriosis pain and symptoms, based upon the recommendation of her new physician.  It’s Letrozole, which I had never heard of.  And she asked me if I had any info on it…so…now I’m inspired to do some research!

What is Letrozole?

Letrozole is the generic name for Femara, a drug classified as an aromatase inhibitor.  What is aromatase?  It’s an enzyme that is crucial in the creation of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors have been FDA approved for treating breast cancer in post-menopausal patients.  However, it has piqued the interest of the medical community in controlling Endometriosis symptoms.  It is not yet FDA approved for this treatment, but is used as an off-label, accepted treatment among the medical community. As of today’s research, there are no indications that drug manufacturers are going to seek FDA approval for aromatase inhibitors to treat Endometriosis.

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Endometriosis and Infertility

fertility goddess figurine

Many women with Endometriosis also suffer from infertility.  Why? Well, that very question spawned today’s research…

It is believed that Endometriosis is present in 24-78% of infertile women (depending on who you ask).  That’s a huge figure! Infertility associated with Endometriosis may occur at any state of the disease (I to IV; mild to severe).  It’s believed that the Stage of Endo may effect the rate of infertility:  people with “mild” Endo have been known to conceive 2-4.5% per month; people with moderate to severe Endo drop to less than 2%.  Normal, fertile couples conceive at a rate of 15-20% per month.  It’s a big difference all across the board.

The medical and scientific community do not have answers as to why Endo may make women infertile; only theories:

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