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Generic Name: ado-trastuzumab emtansine (AY doe tras TOOZ ue mab em TAN seen)
Brand Names: Kadcyla

Medically reviewed on Jun 11, 2018

What is Kadcyla?

See also: Kisqali

Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Kadcyla is used to treat a certain type of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Kadcyla is usually given after other cancer medications have been tried without success.

Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab) should not be used in place of Herceptin (trastuzumab).

Important information

Do not use Kadcyla if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Kadcyla can harm your liver. Call your doctor at once if you have upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Before you receive each Kadcyla injection, your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Kadcyla if you are allergic to ado-trastuzumab emtansine, or if you are pregnant.

To make sure Kadcyla is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia; or

  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, or other breathing disorder.

Do not use Kadcyla if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects.

Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 7 months after your last dose.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether ado-trastuzumab emtansine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using Kadcyla.

How is Kadcyla given?

Before you receive Kadcyla, your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure ado-trastuzumab emtansine is the right medication to treat your cancer.

Kadcyla is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when Kadcyla is injected.

Kadcyla is usually given once every 3 weeks until your body no longer responds to the medication. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

You may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office to be sure Kadcyla is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Kadcyla dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

Usual dose: 3.6 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks

Maximum dose: 3.6 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks

Duration of therapy: Until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity

Comments: Administer the first infusion over 90 minutes. Subsequent infusions may be administered over 30 minutes as tolerated.

Do not substitute ado-trastuzumab emtansine for or with trastuzumab.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Kadcyla injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while taking Kadcyla?

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Ado-trastuzumab emtansine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Kadcyla side effects

Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel cold, light-headed, feverish or sweaty, or have chest tightness, rapid heartbeats, or trouble breathing.

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

Kadcyla can harm your liver. Call your doctor at once if you have signs of liver problems - upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

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

  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • sudden severe headache, confusion, severe drowsiness, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body;

  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement;

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough, feeling short of breath;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain, severe dizziness;

  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; or

  • low white blood cell counts - fever, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough, trouble breathing.

Common Kadcyla side effects may include:

  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • nausea, constipation;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • headache, tired feeling; or

  • abnormal liver function tests.

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.

What other drugs will affect Kadcyla?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using during your treatment with Kadcyla, especially:

  • imatinib;

  • isoniazid;

  • nefazodone;

  • an antibiotic - clarithromycin, telithromycin;

  • a blood thinner - warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven;

  • antifungal medication - itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;

  • heart medication - nicardipine, quinidine;

  • hepatitis C medications - boceprevir, telaprevir;

  • HIV/AIDS medication - atazanavir, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir; or

  • medicine used to prevent blood clots, such as alteplase, clopidogrel, dipyridamole, ticlopidine, and urokinase.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with ado-trastuzumab emtansine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Kadcyla only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.