Aromasin and Depression

Side effects can occur with Aromasin, and depression has been reported in women taking the drug. However, because depression is also common in the general population and typically affects people with cancer, it is difficult to know if Aromasin is causing the depression or if other factors are responsible. If you are taking Aromasin and depression symptoms develop, talk to your healthcare provider.

Aromasin and Depression: An Overview

Several side effects are possible for women taking Aromasin® (exemestane), and depression may be one of them.
Clinical studies have shown that up to 13 percent of women taking the drug reported depression as a side effect. This data comes from clinical trials that extensively studied Aromasin in thousands of people and documented its side effects. The challenge with Aromasin and depression, however, is that given how rarely depression is reported with the drug and how common it is within the general population (particularly in women with breast cancer), it is difficult to tell whether depression is caused by Aromasin, other factors, or a combination of both.

Aromasin and Depression: Understanding Clinical Trials

Before most medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies where thousands of people are given a particular medicine and are then compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, the side effects are always carefully documented. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
However, sometimes it is unethical to not treat a condition. This is the case in cancer studies. Because it would be unethical to not treat breast cancer, Aromasin cannot be compared to a placebo ("sugar pill"). Therefore, it is difficult to tell if a side effect is due to Aromasin, other factors, or a combination of both.
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