trastuzumab (generic name)

Herceptin (brand name)

It targets a protein called HER2
(tras TOO zoo mab)
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What is this medicine?

TRASTUZUMAB (tras TOO zoo mab) is a monoclonal antibody. It targets a protein called HER2. This protein is found in some stomach and breast cancers. This medicine can stop cancer cell growth. This medicine may be used with other cancer treatments.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • heart disease
  • heart failure
  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
  • lung or breathing disease, like asthma
  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to trastuzumab, benzyl alcohol, or other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. This medicine is not approved for use in children.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss a dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • cyclophosphamide
  • doxorubicin
  • warfarin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

You may experience fever, chills and shaking during your first infusion. These effects are usually mild and can be treated with other medicines. Report any side effects during the infusion to your health care professional. Fever and chills usually do not happen with later infusions.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or other health care professional as soon as possible:
  • breathing difficulties
  • chest pain or palpitations
  • cough
  • dizziness or fainting
  • fever or chills, sore throat
  • skin rash, itching or hives
  • swelling of the legs or ankles
  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or other health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • loss of appetite
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • nausea

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

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.

Last Updated: October 22, 2010
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