Trastuzumab – Composition, Uses, Side-Effects, Substitutes, Warnings

What is Trastuzumab?

Trastuzumab is a prescription medicine used to treat breast cancer and stomach cancer. Generally, it is prescribed along with other medication or alone depending on the patient’s health condition.

Type of drug

Trastuzumab belongs to Recombinant IgG1 monoclonal antibody (also called as monoclonal antibodies) group of medication.

Use in brief

Trastuzumab is prescribed in the treatment of breast cancer and stomach cancer.


Trastuzumab itself is an active ingredient in different brands used to treat breast cancer and stomach cancer.


Trastuzumab is prescribed to treat breast cancer and stomach cancer.

How does Trastuzumab work?

Trastuzumab belongs to the group of drugs called as recombinant IgG1 monoclonal antibody. Trastuzumab helps to destroy the cancer cells by inhibiting HER2 receptors. It works against the human epidermal growth factor receptor proteins which are in short called HER2 receptors. These receptors are known to be responsible for excessive growth of cancer cells in breast cancer and stomach cancer patients.

How to Take Trastuzumab?

Form of medicine – Trastuzumab medicine is available in the form of injection and in two different variations, injection for infusion through intravenous mode and subcutaneous mode.

Read about similar medication used to treat breast cancer

When and How to use?

This medicine comes in injection form and is administered by medical professional and is not for self-usage. It is prescribed either as an injection to give through intravenous mode or through subcutaneous mode depending on the patient’s health condition.

Common Dosage for Trastuzumab

Treatment regimen includes:

  • Trastuzumab with Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide, and either Paclitaxel or Docetaxel
  • Trastuzumab with Docetaxel and Carboplatin
  • Trastuzumab as a single agent following multi-modality anthracycline based therapy.

Dosage form and strength

  • 440 mg lyophilized powder per multi-use vial.

Different dosages are recommended for breast and gastric cancers. Dose modifications are done during the therapy depending on the condition. Follow the instruction by your doctor. There is very rare chance of missing or over dosage as this is done by experienced medical professionals by not with self-help.

When to Avoid Trastuzumab?

Trastuzumab is not advised to use in patients suffering from some health conditions such as:

  • Patients suffering with anaemia, a low count of RBC (Red Blood Cells)
  • Patients suffering with a low count of WBC (White Blood Cells) which are also called as neutrophils
  • Patients with high and low blood pressures.
  • Patients with cardiomyopathy
  • Patients with possibility of heart related health issues
  • Patients suffering with inflammation of the lung called as interstitial pneumonitis
  • Patients suffering with acute respiratory distress syndrome or any other lungs related health issues
  • Women in pregnancy stage

Side-effects of Trastuzumab

Trastuzumab may possibly show some side effects in some patients. It is advised to consult your doctor immediately if any of such side effects are noticed. Below mentioned are some possible side effects by Trastuzumab.

  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Heart Problems
  • Infection
  • Insomnia
  • Cough
  • Rash

Effects on organs

Administration of Trastuzumab has the possibility of toxicity such as Cardiomyopathy, Infusion Reactions, Embryo-Fetal Toxicity, and Pulmonary Toxicity. It may increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions and pulmonary disorders in patients already suffering from such issues. It is advised to consult the doctor and share detailed information about your current health condition so that the doctor can alter the dosage depending on your health condition.

Reported Allergic Reactions?

Allergic Infusion reactions consist of a symptom complex characterized by fever and chills, and on occasion included nausea, vomiting, pain (in some cases at tumour sites), headache, dizziness, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, and asthenia.

Effect on menstrual cycle

Generally, treatment of chemotherapy and Trastuzumab usage may show effect on menstrual cycle. You may consult your gynaecologist.

Drug Interactions to Be Careful About

Trastuzumab may possibly show drug interaction with some other medication if they are used together. It is advised to share the medication details that you might be using any with your doctor before he prescribes this medicine to you.

Some of the drugs with which Trastuzumab shows interaction include:

  • Abciximab
  • Abituzumab
  • Abrilumab
  • Adecatumumab
  • Aducanumab
  • Trastuzumab
  • Bapineuzumab
  • Bezlotoxumab
  • Pegfilgrastim
  • Paclitaxel

Food interactions

Limited data is available about food interaction of Trastuzumab. Consult your doctor while under this for proper guidance regarding the precautions about food interactions.

Interactions with laboratory procedures

Limited data is available about the interaction of Trastuzumab with laboratory procedures, but it is always good to share details about your current medication before attending any lab tests so that you doctor and lab technician is aware of.

Is Trastuzumab Addictive?

No drug addiction is noticed in the case of Trastuzumab.

Can I have Trastuzumab with alcohol?

Limited data is available regarding the interaction of this medicine with alcohol. Consult with your doctor if you have a habit of regular intake of alcohol.

Can I have Trastuzumab When Pregnant?

Not advised to use in general in pregnant women. But with consultation and supervision in case if unavoidable and the intended benefits are more compared to possible side effects.

Can I have Trastuzumab when feeding a baby?

Not advised to use in general in breastfeeding women. But with consultation and supervision in case if unavoidable and the intended benefits are more compared to possible side effects.

Can I drive after taking Trastuzumab?

It may cause drowsiness or dizziness in some patients. In such conditions, it is not advised to do activities such as driving which require alertness.

Effect of overdose Trastuzumab

Since it is administered under medical supervision in hospital environment chances of overdosage is very less. Emergency medical care would be carried out by the doctors if any overdosage happens.

Effect of using expired Trastuzumab?

Since it is given by medical professionals, proper care is taken while administering this medicine. It is advised not to use any medicine that is expired to avoid any adverse effects. It is advised to check the label while purchasing the medicine to verify the expiry date to be safe.

Effect of missing a dose of Trastuzumab

This medicine is used under supervision of medical experts in hospital environment, hence the chances of missing a dose is very rare. But if you miss the schedule by any chance, bring it to your doctor’s notice.

Storage requirements for Trastuzumab

Storage of this medicine requires refrigeration and away from direct sunlight. Keep away from the reach of the children and pets.

Available brands of Trastuzumab

Below mentioned brands of medicine contain Trastuzumab as active ingredient with similar composition and strength hence your doctor may prescribe these as alternate option to treat your condition.

  • Vivitra – Manufactured by Zydus Cadila Ltd
  • Biceltis – Manufactured by Cipla Ltd
  • Hersima – Manufactured by Alkem Laboratories Ltd
  • Hervycta – Manufactured by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd
  • Eleftha – Manufactured by Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Trasturel – Manufactured by Reliance Life Science Pvt Ltd.
  • Herceptin-manufactued by Genentech Inc.


Trastuzumab - Composition, Uses, Side-Effects, Substitutes, Warnings
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