What condition does Trastuzumab treat?

Trastuzumab is used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat breast cancer. The types of cancer that this drug is used to treat are tumors. It is those that make more than the usual total of a certain substance called HER2 protein. This medicine may also be used to treat certain types of stomach cancer.

Trastuzumab is called a monoclonal antibody. This is available for intravenous administration. This medication is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How does Trastuzumab work?

Trastuzumab works by targeting the HER2 receptor on cancer cells.  The HER2 gene creates a protein receptor on the cell surface that signals normal cell growth. It is by telling the cell to split and grow.  Some cancerous breast tissue has too much HER2. It triggers the cells to split and grow very fast. 

This medicine attaches to the HER2 receptors to prevent cells from increasing. It also prevents further cancer growth and slows the progression of cancer.  It may also work by stimulating an immune mechanism.

What is the recommended dosage for Trastuzumab?

This medication is given by slow injection into a vein. Each dose should be given by a healthcare professional or a doctor. It is given usually once every week or once every 3 weeks. The first injection is given over for about 90 minutes.

The amount of this medication that you will receive depends on several factors such as your general health or other health problems, height and weight, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule. Follow very carefully the prescription of your doctor. To help you remember, mark the days on the calendar when you need to receive the medication.

What are the side effects of Trastuzumab?

  • Irritation or redness at the injection site
  • Diarrhea
  • Join/muscle/back pain
  • Headache
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Cold symptoms (sinus pain, sneezing, or stuffy nose)

What are the precautions in taking Trastuzumab?

  • Before starting this treatment inform your doctor about any other medicines you are taking (vitamins or herbals remedies).
  • It is unknown if this medicine passes into breastmilk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding while using this medicine and for 7 months after stopping treatment.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or get pregnant while using this drug.
  • Get plenty of rest and maintain good nutrition.
  • To lower the chance of getting bruised, cut, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like nail cutters or razors, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
  • Older adults may be at greater risk for heart problems such as heart failure while having this medication.
  • Do not have immunizations or vaccinations without the consent of your doctor while having treatment with this medication. Avoid interaction with individuals who have recently received live vaccines like flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages while having this treatment.