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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Herceptin

Generic Name: trastuzumab (Pronunciation: tras TOO zoo mab)

What is trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

Trastuzumab is a cancer medication. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in your body.

Trastuzumab is used to treat breast cancer that has progressed after treatment with other chemotherapy.

Trastuzumab may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

Some people receiving a trastuzumab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, weak, itchy, or short of breath during the injection.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • cough or wheezing;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips; or
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms.

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before receiving trastuzumab, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, congestive heart failure, a history of heart attack, or any allergies or breathing problems. You may not be able to receive trastuzumab, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Some people receiving a trastuzumab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, weak, itchy, or short of breath during the injection.



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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