Herceptin Side Effects
Generic name: trastuzumab
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 21, 2022.
Note: This document contains side effect information about trastuzumab. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Herceptin.
Common side effects of Herceptin include: febrile neutropenia, infection, asthenia, dizziness, fever, headache, nausea, pain, skin rash, vomiting, abdominal pain, back pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, neutropenia, pharyngitis, rhinitis, chills, and anorexia. Other side effects include: urinary tract infection, anemia, arthralgia, depression, edema, ostealgia, paresthesia, sinusitis, and tachycardia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to trastuzumab: intravenous powder for solution
Intravenous route (Powder for Solution)
CardiomyopathyAdministration of trastuzumab products can result in subclinical and clinical cardiac failure. The incidence and severity were highest in patients receiving trastuzumab with anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens. Evaluate left ventricular function in all patients prior to and during treatment with trastuzumab-dttb. Discontinue trastuzumab-dttb treatment in patients receiving adjuvant therapy and withhold trastuzumab-dttb in patients with metastatic disease for clinically significant decrease in left ventricular function.Infusion Reactions, Pulmonary ToxicityAdministration of trastuzumab products can result in serious and fatal infusion reactions and pulmonary toxicity. Symptoms usually occur during or within 24 hours of administration. Interrupt trastuzumab-dttb infusion for dyspnea or clinically significant hypotension. Monitor patients until symptoms completely resolve. Discontinue trastuzumab-dttb for anaphylaxis, angioedema, interstitial pneumonitis, or acute respiratory distress syndrome.Embryo-Fetal ToxicityExposure to trastuzumab products during pregnancy can result in oligohydramnios and oligohydramnios sequence manifesting as pulmonary hypoplasia, skeletal abnormalities, and neonatal death. Advise patients of these risks and the need for effective contraception.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, trastuzumab (the active ingredient contained in Herceptin) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking trastuzumab:
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- bloody urine
- body aches or pain
- chest pain
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- difficulty in breathing
- dilated neck veins
- dry mouth
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- ear congestion
- extreme tiredness or weakness
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- increased blood pressure
- increased cough
- increased thirst
- irregular breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- loss of voice
- lower back or side pain
- mood changes
- muscle pain or cramps
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- rapid weight gain
- sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tightness in the chest
- trouble in swallowing
- trouble sleeping
- troubled breathing with exertion
- ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight gain or loss
- voice changes
- Bladder pain
- blindness or vision changes
- blurred vision
- burning of the face or mouth
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, painful, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- cloudy urine
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- frequent urge to urinate
- painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
- pounding in the ears
- slow heartbeat
- weakness in the hands or feet
- Decreased ability to exercise
- hives, itching, skin rash
- joint stiffness or swelling
- neck tenderness or swelling
- redness of the skin
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of trastuzumab may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Back pain
- bone pain
- change in or loss of taste
- cracked lips
- difficulty in moving
- lack or loss of strength
- stomach pain
- swelling or inflammation of the mouth
- trouble sleeping
- weight decreased
- muscle spasm
- stabbing pain
- stomach discomfort or upset
- upper stomach pain
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to trastuzumab: intravenous powder for injection
The most common adverse events were fever, nausea, vomiting, infusion reactions, diarrhea, infections, increased cough, headache, fatigue, dyspnea, rash, neutropenia, anemia, stomatitis, weight loss, thrombocytopenia, mucosal inflammation, nasopharyngitis, dysgeusia, and myalgia.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Neutropenia (78%), leukopenia (52%), anemia (36%), febrile neutropenia (23%), thrombocytopenia (16%)
Frequency not reported: Hypoprothrombinemia[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, hypotension, asymptomatic cardiac dysfunction, ejection fraction decreased, palpitation, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac failure, heart beat irregular, cardiac flutter, lymphedema, hot flush, thrombotic adverse event, supraventricular tachyarrhythmia, vasodilation
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ventricular dysfunction, pericardial effusion
Very common (10% or more): Infusion-related reactions (54%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity, allergic reaction
Very common (10% or more): Cough (43%), dyspnea (42%), rhinitis (22%), Grade 2 to 5 pulmonary toxicity (14%), nasopharyngitis (13%), wheezing, epistaxis, rhinorrhea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pulmonary infiltrates, pulmonary hypertension, interstitial pneumonitis
Frequency not reported: Pulmonary insufficiency, pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory distress, respiratory failure, lung infiltration, acute pulmonary edema, acute respiratory distress syndrome, bronchospasm, hypoxia, oxygen saturation decreased, laryngeal edema, pulmonary edema, orthopnea
Postmarketing reports: Bronchospasm, hypoxia, pleural effusions, non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Infection (47%), herpes simplex (38%), antibody to trastuzumab (the active ingredient contained in Herceptin) (15%), flu syndrome (12%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Sepsis[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Renal impairment/failure (18%)
Common (1% to 10%): Grade 3 or 4 renal failure, renal disorder, hyperbilirubinemia
Frequency not reported: Glomerulonephritis membranous, glomerulonephropathy, renal failure
Very common (10% or more): Nausea (76%), vomiting (53%), diarrhea (45%), abdominal pain (34%), stomatitis (24%), anorexia (14%)
Very common (10% or more): Headache (44%), asthenia (42%), fatigue (35%), insomnia (29%), dizziness (24%), paresthesia (23%), peripheral neuritis (23%), neuropathy (13%), dysgeusia (10%), dizziness (13%), tremor, hypoesthesia
Common (1% to 10%): Hypertonia, somnolence, ataxia
Rare (less than 0.1%): Paresis
Frequency not reported: Brain edema[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria
Frequency not reported: Angioedema[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (37%), back pain (34%), bone pain (24%), muscle tightness, myalgia
Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (31%), hypokalemia (28%), weight loss (23%)
Frequency not reported: Hyperkalemia
Postmarketing reports: Volume overload[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Asthenia (62%), pain (61%), fever (56%), chills (41%), accidental injury (13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Malaise
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Deafness
Rare (less than 0.1%): Sudden death
Postmarketing reports: Oligohydramnios or oligohydramnios sequence (including pulmonary hypoplasia, skeletal abnormalities, and neonatal death)[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Hepatocellular injury, hepatitis, liver tenderness
Rare (less than 0.1%): Jaundice
Frequency not reported: Hepatic failure[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Conjunctivitis, lacrimation increased
Common (1% to 10%): Dry eye
Very common (10% or more): Depression (20%), insomnia (14%)
Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety, thinking abnormal
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Depression[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Autoimmune thyroiditis[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Malignant neoplasm progression, neoplasm progression[Ref]
Frequently asked questions
- What are the biosimilars of Herceptin?
- What is the difference between Herceptin and Herceptin Hylecta?
- What is the difference between Herzuma and Herceptin?
- How many biosimilars have been approved in the United States?
- What is Herceptin? Is Herceptin a chemo drug? How does it work?
- How long can you stay on Herceptin and Perjeta?
- How long does Herceptin stay in your body?
- What happens after Herceptin treatment?
- How do Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Perjeta (pertuzumab) work together?
- What is tdm1 chemotherapy?
- How effective is Herceptin for Breast & Gastric Cancer?
- Does Herceptin (trastuzumab) stop menstrual periods?
- Do Herceptin (trastuzumab) injections hurt?
- What is the difference between Ogivri and Herceptin?
- How is Herceptin Injection and Herceptin Hylecta administered?
More about Herceptin (trastuzumab)
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Reviews (9)
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- En español
- Drug class: HER2 inhibitors
- FDA approval history
Related treatment guides
1. "Product Information. Herceptin (trastuzumab)." Genentech (2001):
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
4. "Product Information. Ogivri (trastuzumab)." Mylan GmbH (2017):
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.