Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a type of hormonal therapy that reduce the levels of oestrogen in the body. They work by blocking the production of oestrogen in body tissues.
Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the main hormonal therapy used in postmenopausal women. Women are usually prescribed an aromatase inhibitor, such as anastrozole, letrozole or exemestane, for a number of years.
The drugs are taken daily as tablets. Side effects can include:
AIs can also cause bone thinning (osteoporosis) over a long period of time. You’ll have a scan called a DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan, to assess your bone health (density) before you start taking an AI.
If you’re at risk of osteoporosis, your cancer specialist may prescribe drugs called bisphosphonates to protect your bones. You will probably also be advised to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to help with your bone strength - your cancer specialist can talk to you about this.