Treats breast and stomach cancer.
Our pharmacists’ bottom line
Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is an effective, first-line option when used together with other medicines for certain types of breast and stomach cancers, but it has many side effects and needs a lot of monitoring.
- Taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab) with other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines can improve response and lower relapse in people with a certain type of breast cancer.
- Taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab) with other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines can increase the chance of living longer in people with a certain type of stomach cancer.
- Treats breast and stomach cancer in people whose tumor has an excess of a specific protein (HER2).
- First-line treatment option when used with other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines for certain metastatic breast and stomach cancers.
- Not the best choice if you have heart, kidney, or lung problems.
- Your heart function will have to be checked regularly while you're taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab). This will be done before, during, and after treatment.
- Herceptin (Trastuzumab) can cause birth defects. Birth control is recommended while you're taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab) and for 6 months after you finish. Talk to your doctor before starting Herceptin (Trastuzumab) if you're concerned about getting pregnant.
- There's no generic available and it can be very expensive.
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Side effects for Herceptin (Trastuzumab)
From clinical trials of Herceptin / Breast cancer ( 3386)
- FatigueFatigue30% for Herceptin vs.22% for placebo
- InfectionInfection24% for Herceptin vs.13% for placebo
- Hot flashesHot flashes17% for Herceptin vs.15% for placebo
- Shortness of breathShortness of breath12% for Herceptin vs.5% for placebo
- Low red blood cellsLow red blood cells12% for Herceptin vs.7% for placebo
- Joint painJoint pain12% for Herceptin vs.9% for placebo
- Nail changesNail changes12% for Herceptin vs.7% for placebo
- Low white blood cellsLow white blood cells11% for Herceptin vs.8% for placebo
- Rash/desquamationRash/desquamation11% for Herceptin vs.8% for placebo
- HeadacheHeadache10% for Herceptin vs.3% for placebo
What to expect when you start Herceptin (Trastuzumab)Skip what to expect section. Skip to Risks & Warnings section.
- Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is a medicine that’s infused into your veins (intravenous infusion) in a clinic or hospital.
- You’ll need to be watched in case you have a serious reaction during the infusion. Symptoms, such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, or swelling usually happen within the first 24 hours.
- Can cause heart problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you have shortness of breath (especially at night), swelling in your arms or legs, or a cough that's new or worse.
- Can cause lung problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that's new or worse.
- Only used for specific types of breast and stomach cancer. You'll have to take a test first to determine if Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is the right medicine for you.
Risks and Warnings for Herceptin (Trastuzumab)Skip Risks and Warnings section. Skip to Tips section.
- Higher risk if:
- › History of heart problems
- › Taking other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines
Herceptin (Trastuzumab) can increase your risk of heart failure. Heart tests may be required before starting treatment, during treatment, and after finishing treatment.
This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.
Tips from pharmacists and people taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab)Final section. Do you want to return to drug navigation?
- Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
- › Not the best choice if you have heart, kidney, or lung problems.