Letrozole v Tamoxifen - hair loss

I started taking letrozole last June after a Grade 1 4 mm invasive tumour was found following an mx for DCIS (I’m very small and the DCIS was behind the nipple so I went for the whole thing and reconstruction). I have the usual shedload of SEs but 2 cause me real distress, itchy skin and hair loss. A chunk even came out at the hairdressers causing the poor lad (and me) to have palpitations. The onc suggested having a month off and if these particular side effects got better he might switch me to Tamoxifen. I’ve also had blood tests to rule out other causes which were negative.

I’m seeing him next week. I’m not sure the hair loss is any better and the itchy skin definitely isn’t. Because I have small bald patch I can see that there is no regrowth, even though it’s 10 weeks since it happened. And I understand hair loss can be a SE of Tamoxifen. Has anyone any experience of hair loss on either or both of these therapies and does it get better if you stop?


Hello Foxy

I am now on Letrozole, on year 3 after 5 years of Tamoxifen. I have noticed hair thinning since starting on Letrozole but not whilst on Tamoxifen.

Everyone seems to have different SEs, the only one I had with Tamoxifen was weight gain and with Letrozole I have a very bad dry mouth which has now been diagnosed with Burning Mouth Syndrome, the jury is out whether it is solely because of Letrozole. I have lost the weight I put on whilst on Tamoxifen but additional weight is still coming off which is becoming worrying.


Hi Foxy
I have been on Tamoxifen for seven months now and although I suffer with very painful,stiff aching joints I have had no problems with my hair in fact since it returned after FEC it is much thicker and curlier than it was before. I see my onc next week as scans have shown another growth in my liver so I assume she will be changing me to something else. I will let you know what it is going to be.

Good luck

Hi foxy,

I’ve not taken tamoxifen but have definitely noticed hair loss with letrozole.

I have been on this drug for 10 years and first noticed the hairloss after 3 years. My hair has continued to thin since then particularly around my forehead. Letrozole completely blocks oestrogen so I think the hair thinning is related to this. I did wear a wig for a time several years ago but found it too hot in warm weather so decided to try without. I loved the feeling of the wind blowing through my hair when I stopped wearing the wig!

I have my hair cut in a bob style - no layers and find that hair colourants and dry shampoo seems to thicken it a bit. My friends tell me that my hair loss isn’t that obvious but when I look in the mirror, I can definitely tell and I think it ages me. Unfortunately I can’t have hair extensions as my hair is too weak.

Letrozole has proved a very effective drug for me - still in remission after a secondary 10 years ago - so I daren’t change. I hope that Tamoxifen proves to be an effective solution for you all round.

Take care.