Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available

Herceptin Alternatives

(Trastuzumab)

  • Infusion (IV)
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Compare Herceptin (Trastuzumab) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Herceptin (Trastuzumab) or used for similar purposes.

Herceptin
(Trastuzumab)

Nolvadex
(Tamoxifen)

Treats breast and stomach cancer. 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.Lowers risk of and treats breast cancer. Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is an effective, first-line option for certain types of breast cancers, but it has many severe side effects and needs a lot of monitoring.
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Side effects
HerceptinNolvadex
  • Infection 11%
  • Mouth and lip swelling 9%
  • Weight decrease 9%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 9%
  • Diarrhea 9%
  • Low red blood cells 7%
  • Common cold 7%
  • Mucosal inflammation 7%
  • Fatigue 7%
  • Low white blood cells 5%
More Herceptin side effects »
  • Vaginal discharge 15%
  • Irregular menses 6%
  • Weight loss (>5%) 5%
  • Any side effect 5%
  • Skin changes 4%
  • Holding water 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Thrombocytopenia 2%
More Nolvadex side effects »
How it works
HerceptinNolvadex
Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It stops tumor growth by inhibiting a specific protein in cancer cells.Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is an estrogen receptor antagonist. It stops tumor growth by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue.
Type of medication
HerceptinNolvadex
Anticancer
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Anticancer
Estrogen receptor antagonist
Prescription only
Available as
HerceptinNolvadex
  • Infusion (IV)
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
HerceptinNolvadex
  • Breast cancer (treatment and prevention)
Risk factors for serious side effects
HerceptinNolvadex
  • History of heart problems
  • Taking other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines
  • History of lung problems
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Taking other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines
Detailed Herceptin (Trastuzumab) risks & warnings »
Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
HerceptinNolvadex
DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.
  • Take Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) once a day with a full glass of water. It can be taken with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
  • Not the best choice if you have heart, kidney, or lung problems.
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
HerceptinNolvadex
  • 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.
  • In studies, postmenopausal women who were at high risk for breast cancer took Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) for 5 years and lowered their risk by about 50%.
  • Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is the only medicine approved to lower risk of breast cancer regardless of menopausal status. Other medicines are approved only for postmenopausal women.
  • Effective in treating metastatic breast cancer in men and women.
  • Available in both tablets and a sugar-free solution.
Downsides and risks
HerceptinNolvadex
  • 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.
  • If you're taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) to lower your risk for breast cancer, it can raise your risk of having a stroke or getting a blood clot, especially if you have a history of blood clots or you're currently taking a blood thinner, like warfarin. Tell your doctor about any health conditions before you start taking Nolvadex (Tamoxifen).
  • Can raise the risk of fractures in premenopausal women.
  • There are many drug interactions, including antidepressants and other chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes.
  • Requires regular blood tests and doctor exams to monitor for side effects.
  • Not the best choice if you have eye or liver problems.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
HerceptinNolvadex
  • 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.
  • Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) can raise your risk of getting uterine or endometrial cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding or an irregular menstrual cycle.
  • Common side effects include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Take Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) once a day with a full glass of water. It can be taken with or without food.
  • If you're taking the solution, make sure to keep it at room temperature and protect it from light. Throw it away after 3 months, even if you haven't finished all of it.
  • Drinking grapefruit juice with Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) can raise your risk of side effects.
Learn more
More about HerceptinSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about NolvadexSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert