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  • Generic Name: (trastuzumab)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 04/2016
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Herceptin is an anticancer medicine used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat a certain type of breast cancer. Herceptin is also used to treat a certain type of stomach cancer. Herceptin is administered intravenously (through a vein in your arm).

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Herceptin works by stopping the growth of cancer cells, thereby improving your condition.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: By stopping the growth of cancer cells, Herceptin may help to relieve your symptoms associated with cancer.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Herceptin may cause heart problems such as heart failure or reduced heart function, especially if you are receiving Herceptin with certain other cancer medicines (such as daunorubicin). Your healthcare provider may perform certain tests to check your heart function before and during treatment with Herceptin.

      Herceptin can also cause serious or life-threatening infusion-related reactions and lung problems. Symptoms may occur during or within 24 hours after receiving Herceptin. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience shortness of breath or a condition involving swelling of the face, extremities, eyes, lips, and tongue.

      Herceptin can harm your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

      Common side effects in people with breast cancer may include: headache, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever, infection, congestive heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body), trouble sleeping, cough, rash.

      Common side effects in people with stomach cancer may include: low white or red blood cell counts, diarrhea, tiredness, mouth sores, weight loss, upper respiratory infection, fever, low platelet (a type of blood cell that forms clots to help stop bleeding) counts, inflammation in your mouth, common cold, changes in your sense of taste.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will not administer Herceptin to you if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Herceptin. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart or lung problems, are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your condition and may adjust your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will administer Herceptin to you.

      It is important for women to use appropriate forms of contraception during treatment with Herceptin and for at least 7 months after treatment. Discuss with your healthcare provider about effective forms of birth control.

      If you experience new or worsening shortness of breath, cough, swelling of the ankles or legs, swelling of the face, fluttery or throbbing heartbeat, weight gain of more than 5 pounds in 24 hours, dizziness, or loss of consciousness, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Herceptin is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Herceptin with certain other cancer medicines (such as daunorubicin).

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Herceptin can harm your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. The effects of Herceptin during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

      If you become pregnant while receiving Herceptin or within 7 months following the last dose of Herceptin, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the MotHER Herceptin Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety of this medicine during pregnancy.

      In addition, there is a pregnancy pharmacovigilance program for Herceptin. If Herceptin is administered during pregnancy, or if you become pregnant while receiving Herceptin or within 7 months following the last dose of Herceptin, notify your healthcare provider.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      Herceptin should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider for advice.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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