The Herceptin is used in the treatment of certain forms of breast cancer and, in some patients, the stomach or esophagus cancer .
What is Trastuzumab?
Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody , a molecule designed to exploit particular weaknesses of cancer cells. It works by recognizing cancer cells and preventing them from growing and reproducing.
How is Trastuzumab taken?
Trastuzumab is taken by infusion into a vein (commonly called an “IV”). It can be used alone or in combination with other drugs.
Side effects of Trastuzumab
Trastuzumab can reduce the body’s ability to fight infections , lower the number of platelets and trigger serious lung or heart problems.
A severe reaction has been observed in some patients after taking the drug; your symptoms usually appear within 24 hours after the infusion.
Other possible side effects of Trastuzumab include:
- back, bone or joint pain
- nail alterations
- loss of appetite
- mild fever, chills
- mild muscle pain
- irritation of nose, paranasal sinuses or throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- stomach pain or discomfort
- He retched
- weight loss
It is important to contact a doctor immediately in case of:
- breathing difficulties
- feeling of tightness or chest pain
- swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
- burning, numbness or tingling
- pain, redness, swelling or sensitivity in the legs or calves
- changes in the amount of urine produced
- painful or difficult urination
- fast or irregular heart beat
- muscle pain, weakness or cramps
- appearance of cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing or their worsening
- pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
- pain, swelling or sores in the mouth or on the tongue
- dizziness, light-headedness or severe or persistent headache
- strong or persistent nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- skin infections
- sudden and unexplained weight gain
- swelling of the hands, ankles or feet
- symptoms of infection
- bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Contraindications and warnings on the use of Trastuzumab
Trastuzumab must not be taken during pregnancy .
Before treatment it is important to tell your doctor:
- any allergies to the active substance, to its excipients, to any other drug, to foods or to other substances (in particular to the proteins of the cells of the Chinese hamster ovary and to Benzyl Alcohol);
- of medicinal products, herbal remedies and supplements taken , particularly anthracyclines;
- if you suffer (or have suffered) from lung or respiratory problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, chronic infections and bone marrow problems;
- in case of previous treatment with Anthracycline or with radiation;
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding ;
It is important to inform doctors, surgeons and dentists about taking Trastuzumab.
During treatment you should not undergo vaccines containing live microorganisms.
In addition, women of childbearing potential must use effective contraceptive methods both during therapy and in the 7 months following its discontinuation.
Trastuzumab can impair your ability to drive or operate dangerous machinery . This side effect can be aggravated by alcohol and some medicines.