Herceptin

(Trastuzumab)

Skip to: drug prices sectionSkip to: what to expect sectionSkip to: side effects sectionSkip to: risks and warnings sectionSkip to: common concerns from users and pharmacists
ADVERTISEMENT

Treats breast and stomach cancer.

Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.

Our 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.

Quick facts about Herceptin
  • Drug class: Cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Upsides

  • 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.
Tried Herceptin? Write a review!

Downsides

  • 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.
How it works

Herceptin (Trastuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It stops tumor growth by inhibiting a specific protein in cancer cells.

Quick facts about Herceptin
  • Drug class: Cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available
Tried Herceptin? Write a review!
Skip side effects section. Skip to risks and warnings section.

Side effect rates for Herceptin (Trastuzumab)

From 3386 clinical trials of Herceptin when taken for breast cancer
  • Fatigue
    30%30%
    22%22%
  • Infection
    24%24%
    13%13%
  • Hot flashes
    17%17%
    15%15%
  • Anemia
    12%12%
    7%7%
  • Dyspnea
    12%12%
    5%5%
  • Arthralgia
    12%12%
    9%9%
  • Nail changes
    12%12%
    7%7%
  • Rash/desquamation
    11%11%
    8%8%
  • Leukopenia
    11%11%
    8%8%
  • Headache
    10%10%
    3%3%
  • Arthralgia
    8%8%
    6%6%
  • Nasopharyngitis
    8%8%
    3%3%
  • Asymptomatic cardiac dysfunction
    8%8%
  • Diarrhea
    7%7%
    1%1%
  • Nausea
    6%6%
    1%1%
  • Pyrexia
    6%6%
  • Neutropenia
    6%6%
    4%4%
  • Headache
    6%6%
    4%4%
  • Pain
    6%6%
    3%3%
  • Cough
    5%5%
    2%2%
  • Back Pain
    5%5%
    3%3%
  • Edema Peripheral
    5%5%
    2%2%
  • Chills
    5%5%
  • Aesthenia
    5%5%
    2%2%
  • Asymptomatic cardiac dysfunction
    5%5%
  • Edema
    5%5%
    3%3%
  • Hypertension
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Dizziness
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Ejection Fraction Decreased
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Influenza
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Vomiting
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Myalgia
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Rash
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Insomnia
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Palpitations
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Dyspnea
    3%3%
    2%2%
  • URI
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Bone Pain
    3%3%
    2%2%
  • Muscle Spasm
    3%3%
  • UTI
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Cardiac Failure Congestive
    2%2%
  • Rhinitis
    2%2%
  • Pharyngolaryngeal Pain
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Sinusitis
    2%2%
  • Epistaxis
    2%2%
  • Constipation
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Dyspepsia
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Upper Abdominal Pain
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Paraesthesia
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Nail Disorders
    2%2%
  • Pruritus
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Influenza-like Illness
    2%2%
  • Dyspnea
    2%2%
  • Diarrhea
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Herceptin.

Herceptin (Trastuzumab)
Placebo

People taking Herceptin felt side effect more

People taking Herceptin felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Herceptin (Trastuzumab)

Skip risks section. Skip to common concerns 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.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Pharmacist Q&A

Herceptin (Trastuzumab) questions for

Frequently Asked Questions

This medication is used as adjuvant (add-on) treatment in people with HER2 overexpressing breast cancer.

Who is this drug for?

This medication is used as adjuvant (add-on) treatment in people with HER2 overexpressing breast cancer.

Common concerns from people taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab)

Final section. Do you want to return to drug navigation?
Pregnancy

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.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Herceptin
DWeigh risks vs. benefits
Kidneys and liver
  • Not the best choice if you have heart, kidney, or lung problems.