Slideshows Images Quizzes


Last reviewed on RxList: 5/22/2017
Herceptin Patient Information Including Side Effects

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:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss;
  • headache, muscle pain;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sinus pain, sneezing, sore throat;
  • mild rash;
  • altered sense of taste; or
  • tired feeling.

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.

Herceptin Patient Information including How Should I Take

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 injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Trastuzumab must be given slowly, and the IV infusion 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 week or every 3 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Herceptin Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Herceptin)?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your trastuzumab injection.

What happens if I overdose (Herceptin)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of some of the side effects listed in this medication guide.

What should I avoid while receiving trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What other drugs will affect trastuzumab (Herceptin)?

There may be other drugs that can interact with trastuzumab. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about trastuzumab.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2013 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01. Revision date: 8/15/2012.

Your use of the content provided in this service indicates that you have read,understood and agree to the End-User License Agreement,which can be accessed by clicking on this link.


Health Solutions From Our Sponsors