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Herceptin or trastuzumab is a medication that is used in biological therapy in breast cancer. It is most commonly applied in those women whose HER-2 receptors of the tumor are positive. As any other medication Herceptin possesses a variety of side effects. Prior the usage the doctor will have to perform thorough cardiovascular and pulmonary examination as Herceptin cannot be administered in all the patients. If one is allergic to any of the components of Herceptin the drug is not administered. In case that after administration anaphylaxis develops Herceptin is discontinued. Herceptin can be used alone and in combination with other medications.

Generally, this medication can cause pain, high body temperature followed by chills, asthenia, infections, and flu syndrome. Headache and pain may be present as well.

Cardiovascular Side Effects

There are several cardiovascular side effects of trastuzumab. Heart failure is the most common. Apart from heart failure a patient may develop rapid heart beat, angioedema and drop in LVEF. High blood pressure can be another possible side effect of this medication.

Herceptin can be toxic for peripheral blood vessels. Certain chemotherapeutics may lead to cardiovascular complications and damage the function of the heart. It has been proven in randomized trials that a combination of Herceptin and chemotherapeutics can lead to greater damage of the heart which is not so severe in case that only chemotherapeutics have been administered.

If a patient develops drop in blood pressure during application of this medicine Herceptin must be discontinued. This also refers to patients who have experienced angioedema.

Gastrointestinal Side effects

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are most common gastrointestinal side effects of Herceptin. Anorexia is usually a consequence of conjoined nausea and vomiting.

Respiratory Side Effects

Herceptin may be toxic for respiratory tract and this is the reason why it is not supposed to be administered in patients who have already been suffering from some lung diseases. Even in healthy individuals if there are any signs of lung toxicity the medication is discontinued.

Dermatologic Side Effects

Rash and acne may occur during the treatment with Herceptin. Even cases of herpes simplex virus infection have been reported.

Nervous System Side Effects

Problems with sleeping, lightheadedness and depression may be present if Herceptin is used. Parestesia and peripheral neuritis or neuropathy may occur as well.

Metabolic Side Effects

Edema is the only possible metabolic side effects of Herceptin.

Musculoskeletal Side Effects

Myalgia and pain in joints have been reported after administration of Herceptin.

Hematologic Side Effects

Low counts of red blood cells, platelets and leukocytes as well as febrile neutropenia have been registered.

Genitourinary Side Effects

Infections of urinary tract may affect small percentage of patients who receive Herceptin.

Oncologic Side Effect

It has been reported increased number of the occurrence of brain metastases in patients who have received Herceptin.

Hepatic Side Effects

In some patients Herceptin may be hepatotoxic.

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