Herceptin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: trastuzumab (tras TOO zoo mab)
Brand Names: Herceptin

What is Herceptin?

Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Herceptin is used to treat certain types of breast cancer or stomach cancer. Other cancer medicines are sometimes used in combination with Herceptin.

Herceptin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Do not use Herceptin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Before receiving Herceptin, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, congestive heart failure, a history of heart attack, or any allergies or breathing problems.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Some people receiving a Herceptin injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, weak, itchy, or short of breath during the injection.

Before receiving Herceptin

Before using Herceptin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • heart disease;

  • congestive heart failure;

  • a history of heart attack; or

  • any allergies or breathing problems.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive Herceptin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. Herceptin can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use Herceptin without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

If you are pregnant, your name may need to be listed on a Cancer and Childbirth registry when you start using this medication.

It is not known whether trastuzumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is Herceptin given?

Herceptin is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The injection must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 90 minutes to complete.

Before you receive this medication, you may need to undergo a biopsy to make sure Herceptin is the right medication to treat your cancer.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your heart function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Herceptin is usually given once every week or every 3 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your Herceptin injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of some of the side effects listed in this medication guide.

What should I avoid?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Herceptin side effects

Some people receiving a Herceptin injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, weak, itchy, or short of breath during the injection.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Herceptin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • cough or wheezing;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat; or

  • pale skin, trouble concentrating, easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin.

Less serious Herceptin side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss;

  • headache, muscle pain;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sinus pain, sneezing, sore throat;

  • mild rash;

  • altered sense of taste; or

  • tired feeling.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Herceptin?

There may be other drugs that can interact with Herceptin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Herceptin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Herceptin only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01. Revision Date: 2012-08-15, 12:09:21 AM.

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