Pertuzumab is an anti-cancer or cytotoxic chemotherapy drug used for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. This is a type of cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). It promotes the growth of cancer cells. Breast cancer symptoms vary widely; from lumps to swelling to skin changes and many breast cancers have no obvious symptoms at all. Some signs and symptoms may include:
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk
- Scaliness, redness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A lump in the underarm area
These changes can also be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous. It’s important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor. HER2 is present in excessive amounts on the surface of some cancer cells. Its presence stimulates the growth of these cancer cells.
This medication is in the class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. This blocks the growth and spread of cancer. They target and interfere with processes in the cells that cause cancer to grow. This binds to a different area of the HER2 protein. Pertuzumab injection is a sterile, clear to slightly opalescent, and colorless to pale brown liquid for intravenous use. Each single-use vial contains 420 mg of Pertuzumab at a concentration of 30mg/mL.
How does Pertuzumab work?
Pertuzumab works in a similar way to the natural antibodies produced by our immune system. Our natural antibodies recognize foreign invaders and bind to them. This helps our immune systems to attack them and protect us from infections. Monoclonal antibodies like this drug are effective in attacking cancer cells.
This drug specifically recognizes and binds to the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from growing and multiplying. Pertuzumab also triggers the immune system to attack and kill the cancerous cells. This prescription-only works in people who have high levels of the HER2 protein. There may be various tests to measure the levels of HER2.
How to use Pertuzumab?
This medication is to be injected slowly into a vein as directed by your doctor. This is usually given once every 3 weeks. Your first infusion will be given over 60 minutes. The dosage, the speed of your injection, and the length of time you receive this drug are based on your condition and response to the treatment. It may as well depend on other treatments that you are taking. Your doctor may direct you to start at a low dose and gradually increase it. You must take each dose exactly as it is prescribed. Do not take more or less than it is given by your doctor. Your doctor should watch you for at least 60 minutes after your first infusion is finished. To make sure you do not have an infusion reaction, your doctor will check also for at least 30 minutes after the following infusions.
Before using this product, check it visually for discoloration or particles. Do not use the liquid if either is present. Clean the injection with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. To get the most benefit from it, use the medication regularly. Remember to use the prescription at the same time each day. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Inform your doctor if your condition gets worse or does not improve.
What are the side effects of Pertuzumab?
Common side effects:
- Heart problems
- Loss of appetite
- Dry skin
- Itching or rash
- Numbness or tingling in your hands
- Cold symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, or sore throat
- Temporary hair loss
Call your doctor right away if you these unlikely but serious side effects:
- New or worsening cough or shortness of breath
- Dizziness, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest
- Swelling in your lower legs
- Low blood cell counts (mouth sores, chills, skin sores, unusual bleeding, or pale skin)
- Signs of tumor cell breakdown (weakness, confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting, or tingling in your hands/feet/around your mouth)
Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction:
- Difficulty breathing
- Hives or itching
- Swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat
Warnings and Precautions
- Before taking Pertuzumab, tell your doctor if you are allergic to it. This may not be recommended for use if you have a history of an allergic reaction. Tell as well if you have any allergies. This drug may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
- You may experience infusion-related reactions while having this treatment. These are usually mild to moderate but can be more severe.
- This drug has been associated with causing heart failure. For this reason, your heart function will be checked before treatment is started and regularly throughout your treatment.
- Pertuzumab may lower the number of healthy white blood cells in your blood. It may increase your risk of getting infections.
- As the medicine may be harmful to an unborn baby, women who could get pregnant should use effective contraception. It is to prevent pregnancy both during treatment and for at least 6 months after treatment is finished.
- Before starting this treatment, discuss with your doctor about fertility. Your ability to become pregnant or father a child may be affected.
- Consult your doctor first if you are breastfeeding women.
- This prescription should be used with caution in elderly people over 65 years old, those who have a history of heart failure, and other heart diseases such as an irregular heartbeat.
- You should also use this with caution in people with decreased liver function or severely decreased kidney function.
- Do not have any immunizations or vaccinations without the consent of your doctor.
- Keep this far from heat, moisture, and reach of children/pets.