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trastuzumab (cont.)

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

Before using trastuzumab, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • heart disease;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • a history of heart attack; or
  • any allergies or breathing problems.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive trastuzumab, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. Trastuzumab can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use trastuzumab without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

If you are pregnant, your name may need to be listed on a Cancer and Childbirth registry when you start using this medication.

It is not known whether trastuzumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is trastuzumab given (Herceptin)?

Trastuzumab is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to 90 minutes to complete.

Before you receive this medication, you may need to undergo a biopsy to make sure trastuzumab is the right medication to treat your cancer.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your heart function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Trastuzumab is usually given once every 7 days. Follow your doctor's instructions.

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.

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