trastuzumab - injection, Herceptin (cont.)
USES: Trastuzumab is used alone or with other medications to treat certain types of breast cancer. It is also used along with other medications to treat certain types of stomach cancer. The types of cancers trastuzumab is used to treat are tumors that produce more than the normal amount of a certain substance called HER2 protein.This medication is called a monoclonal antibody. It works by attaching to the HER2 cancer cells and blocking them from dividing and growing. It may also destroy the cancer cells or signal the body (immune system) to destroy the cancer cells.
HOW TO USE: Trastuzumab is not the same as trastuzumab emtansine or ado-trastuzumab emtansine. Do not substitute trastuzumab emtansine or ado-trastuzumab emtansine for trastuzumab.This medication will be given by a health care professional. It is given slowly by vein (IV), usually once a week for breast cancer or once every 3 weeks for stomach cancer or as directed by your doctor. Your first infusion will be given over at least 90 minutes.The dose, the speed of your injection, and the length of time you receive trastuzumab depends on your body weight, condition, other treatments, and response to trastuzumab treatment.To get the most benefit from this medication, do not miss any doses. To help you remember, mark the days on the calendar when you need to receive the medication.Your doctor may prescribe other medications (e.g., acetaminophen, diphenhydramine) for you to take before the start of your treatment to help prevent serious side effects.
SIDE EFFECTS: Diarrhea, redness/irritation at injection (IV) site, muscle/joint/back pain, stomach/abdominal pain, trouble sleeping, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: bone pain, increased coughing, swelling of the hands/ankles/feet, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness, severe headache, severe dizziness, tingling/numbness (e.g., in the hands, feet, leg), mental/mood changes, fast/pounding heartbeat.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, vision changes, confusion.This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, or persistent sore throat.This medication can sometimes cause a serious infusion (IV) reaction. Immediately tell your doctor of the following side effects that occur while this drug is being given or within 24 hours after your treatment is finished, such as chills, fever, flushing, nausea, headache, dizziness, fainting, rash, and weakness. (See also Warning section.)Trastuzumab can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Therefore, tell your doctor immediately if you develop any rash.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Back to Medications Index