Trastuzumab injection may cause serious or life-threatening heart problems. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart disease. Your doctor will order tests before and during your treatment to see if your heart is working well enough for you to safely receive trastuzumab. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are being treated with radiation therapy to your chest or anthracycline medications for cancer such as daunorubicin (Daunoxome, Cerubidine), doxorubicin (Doxil), epirubicin (Ellence), and idarubicin (Idamycin). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: cough; shortness of breath; swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles or lower legs; weight gain (more than 5 pounds [about 2.3 kilograms] in 24 hours); dizziness; loss of consciousness; or fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat.
Trastuzumab injection may cause serious or life-threatening reactions that may occur while the medication is being given or up to 24 hours afterward. Trastuzumab injection may also cause severe lung damage. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lung disease or if you have a tumor in your lungs, especially if it has caused you to have difficulty breathing. Your doctor will watch you carefully when you receive trastuzumab injection so that your treatment can be interrupted if you experience a serious reaction. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor immediately: fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, pain, headache, dizziness, weakness, rash, hives, itching, tightening of the throat; or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Trastuzumab may harm your unborn baby. You should use birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment and for 6 months after your treatment. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you. If you become pregnant during your treatment with trastuzumab, call your doctor immediately.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to trastuzumab injection.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving trastuzumab injection.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Trastuzumab injection is used along with other medications or after other medications have been used to treat a certain type of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Trastuzumab injection is also used during and after treatment with other medications to decrease the chance that a certain type of breast cancer will return in women. Trastuzumab is also used with other medications to treat certain types of stomach cancer that have spread to other parts of the body. Trastuzumab is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It works by stopping the growth of cancer cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Trastuzumab injection comes as a liquid to be injected into a vein by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or medical facility. When trastuzumab injection is used to treat breast cancer that has spread, it is usually given once a week. When trastuzumab injection is used to prevent the return of breast cancer, it is usually given once a week during treatment with other chemotherapy medications, and then once every 3 weeks after treatment with the other medications is completed for up to 52 weeks. When trastuzumab injection is used to treat stomach cancer, it is usually given once every 3 weeks. The length of your treatment depends on how well your body responds to the medication and the side effects that you experience.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving trastuzumab injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to trastuzumab, medications made from Chinese hamster ovary cell protein, any other medications, or benzyl alcohol. Ask your pharmacist if you are not sure if a medication you are allergic to is made from Chinese hamster ovary cell protein or contains benzyl alcohol.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and paclitaxel (Abraxane, Taxol). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any of the conditions mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section or any other medical condition.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving trastuzumab injection.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Call your doctor right away if you are unable to keep an appointment to receive a dose of trastuzumab injection.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Trastuzumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- loss of appetite
- back, bone, joint, or muscle pain
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- hot flushes
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms, hands, feet, or legs
- changes in the appearance of nails
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- sore throat, fever, chills, difficulty urinating, pain when urinating, and other signs of infection
- nosebleeds and other unusual bruising or bleeding
- excessive tiredness
- pale skin
Trastuzumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to trastuzumab injection.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.