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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 that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Trastuzumab is used to treat certain types of breast cancer or stomach cancer. Other cancer medicines are sometimes used in combination with trastuzumab.

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:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • cough or wheezing;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat; or
  • pale skin, trouble concentrating, easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin.

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 trastuzumab if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

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.

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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