Information for Healthcare Providers / Patients

Herceptin® (trastuzumab)

Alert

  • Information regarding distribution change for hospitals for Herceptin: Learn more

Side Effect Reporting

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

What it Treats

Adjuvant Breast Cancer

Herceptin is approved for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer that is Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) and has spread into the lymph nodes, or is HER2+ and has not spread into the lymph nodes. If it has not spread into the lymph nodes, the cancer needs to be estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PR)-negative or have one high risk feature* Herceptin can be used in several different ways:

  • As part of a treatment course including the chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and either paclitaxel or docetaxel. This treatment course is known as "AC→TH"
  • With the chemotherapy drugs docetaxel and carboplatin. This treatment course is known as "TCH"
  • Alone after treatment with multiple other therapies, including an anthracycline (doxorubicin)-based therapy (a type of chemotherapy)

*High risk is defined as ER/PR-positive with one of the following features: tumor size >2 cm, age <35 years, or tumor grade 2 or 3.

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Herceptin has 2 approved uses in metastatic breast cancer:

  • Herceptin in combination with the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel is approved for the first line treatment of Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2-positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer
  • Herceptin alone is approved for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer in patients who have received one or more chemotherapy courses for metastatic disease

Gastric Cancer

Herceptin is approved, in combination with chemotherapy (cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil), for the treatment of HER2+ metastatic cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction (where the esophagus meets the stomach) in patients who have not received prior treatment for their metastatic disease.

Important Safety Information and Serious Side Effects

Possible Serious Side Effects With HERCEPTIN

Not all people have serious side effects, but side effects with HERCEPTIN therapy are common.

Although some people may have a life-threatening side effect, most do not.
Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects occur.

HERCEPTIN is not for everyone. Be sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • HEART PROBLEMS
    These include heart problems—such as congestive heart failure or reduced heart function—with or without symptoms. The risk for and seriousness of these heart problems were highest in people who received both HERCEPTIN and a certain type of chemotherapy (anthracycline). In a study of adjuvant (early) breast cancer, one patient died of significantly weakened heart muscle. Your doctor will check for signs of heart problems before, during, and after treatment with HERCEPTIN
  • INFUSION REACTIONS, including:
    • Fever and chills
    • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
    • Throwing up (vomiting)
    • Pain (in some cases at tumor sites)
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath

These signs usually happen within 24 hours after receiving HERCEPTIN.

Be sure to contact your doctor if you:

  • Are BREAST-FEEDING OR PREGNANT
    HERCEPTIN may harm a nursing child or an unborn baby
  • Are PLANNING TO BECOME PREGNANT
    Taking HERCEPTIN could result in death of an unborn baby or birth defects

If you stop treatment with HERCEPTIN, you should keep using birth control for at least 7 months before trying to become pregnant. If you are exposed to HERCEPTIN during pregnancy or within 7 months of becoming pregnant, you are encouraged to enroll in the MotHER Pregnancy Registry by contacting 1-800-690-6720.

Have any signs of SEVERE LUNG PROBLEMS, including

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Fluid in or around the lungs
  • Weakening of the valve between the heart and the lungs
  • Not enough oxygen in the body
  • Swelling of the lungs
  • Scarring of the lungs

Your doctor may check for signs of severe lung problems when he or she examines you.

Have LOW WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS
Low white blood cell counts can be life threatening. Low white blood cell counts were seen more often in patients receiving HERCEPTIN plus chemotherapy than in patients receiving chemotherapy alone.

Your doctor may check for signs of low white blood cell counts when he or she examines you.

Other Important Information

Before taking HERCEPTIN, you must have a HER2 test to determine if your cancer is HER2-positive. This is because the benefit of treatment with HERCEPTIN has been shown only in patients whose tumors are HER2-postive.

Side Effects Seen Most Often With HERCEPTIN

Some patients receiving HERCEPTIN for breast cancer had the following side effects:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • Feeling tired
  • Throwing up (vomiting)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Infusion reactions
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Low white and red blood cell counts
  • Infections
  • Muscle pain
  • Increased cough

Some patients receiving HERCEPTIN for metastatic stomach cancer had the following side effects:

  • Low white blood cell counts
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Low platelet counts
  • Low red blood cell counts
  • Swelling of the mucous membranes
  • Swelling of the mouth lining
  • Swelling of the nose and throat
  • Weight loss
  • Change in taste

You should contact your doctor immediately if you have any of the side effects listed above.

You are encouraged to report side effects to Genentech and the FDA. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1-888-835-2555.

Please see additional select Important Safety Information throughout, and the accompanying full Prescribing Information including Boxed WARNINGS.

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