What is Herceptin

Herceptin is the brand name of the drug Trastuzumab, which is used for the treatment of breast cancer. The question is Trastuzumab FDA approved is what most people want to know before thinking of the next step. It was approved by the FDA in 1998 for treating HER 2 over-expressing breast cancer. Various research has highlighted that using Trastuzumab 400 mg help in improving the survival rates of people suffering from early and late stage breast cancer. The drug help women to survive breast cancer largely. Trastuzumab breast cancer treatment seems to be effective for the treatment of breast cancer in both early and late stage of the disease.

Trastuzumab Mechanism of Action

For most people before taking a new medication, they want to know how it works. It is only on a rare case where people take medication without taking the time to know about its mechanism of action. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody, which interferes with the HER2 receptor. Monoclonal antibody is a term that describes a biological treatment for people suffering from cancer. This treatment may be used with chemotherapy or alone. Herceptin treatment works by:

  • Blocking the signals that inform the cancer cells to divide
  • Triggering the immune system to attack against any unwanted cells
  • Carrying radiation to the cancer cells.

Human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) proteins influence the adhesion, growth, migration, differentiation, and existence of cells in the body. This protein is found in a high level of cancer cells, why is why the cancer cells divide swiftly. HER2 is a kind of HER, which plays a significant role in breast cancer development.

The function of the HER receptor is to transfer molecular signals from the surface to the inside of the cells. However, in breast cancer, the receptor (HER2) is faulty. Herceptin help by preventing the epidermal growth factor from gaining access into the cancer cells. Through this, Herceptin inhibits the breast cancer cells from breeding nonstop.

Herceptin Dosing or Trastuzumab Dose

Normally, Herceptin is given in the form of infusion, intravenously. However, sometimes, Herceptin injection may be used. This involves injecting it under the skin. The Trastuzumab injection takes a period of one and three months.

At the moment, people with an early stage of the disease undergo the Trastuzumab Herceptin treatment for a year. Various studies have identified that it is more effective when the treatment is completed within a year than 6 months. If you observe an overdose, contact your doctor immediately. The same goes for those who missed their dose

Herceptin Side Effects

The side effects of Herceptin can be severe or mild depending on the history of the patient. This Herceptin chemo treatment is said to be cardiotoxic, meaning that it can damage your heart. The list below is not a comprehensive list of the various Trastuzumab side effects one may experience. Consult your doctor for a full list. Possible side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Stomach pain
  • Heart problems
  • Chest pain
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting

In rare cases, the patient may experience rash, itching, breathlessness, and allergic reactions. Nevertheless, these side effects are significantly different from one patient to another.

The Benefit of Herceptin Chemotherapy

Herceptin dose with other anti-cancer medications can be taken to help improve response while lowering relapses in patients with some kind of breast cancer. Besides this, it can help increase the likelihood of people living with stomach cancer to live longer. Furthermore, it is effective in treating people with stomach and breast cancer whose tumor has excess protein.

The downside of Herceptin Chemotherapy

For a patient suffering from lung, kidney, or heart problems, it is preferable to consult your doctor or check your heart regularly if you are taking Herceptin (Trastuzumab). This may be performed before, during or after the treatment. Studies have shown that Herceptin can cause birth defects, which is why it is recommended to use birth control when under the medication. If you feel concerned about getting pregnant, the wise thing to do is to consult your doctor.

What is Herceptin cost price?

The Herceptin price in the USA tends to be prohibitive to that of the cost of Herceptin in Canada. Nevertheless, people with insurance plan can buy Herceptin at a lower price. Generally, a single kit of Herceptin goes for $3,500. While many online pharmacies offer a discount if you buy Trastuzumab from them, it is important to verify they are genuine.  Averagely, the cost of Herceptin powder for the 150 mg injection is within $1,635; though it tends to varies from the particular store of purchase.

Is there a generic version of Herceptin?

If you think that Trastuzumab price is expensive, you may decide to opt for Tykerb, which is another effective treatment for breast cancer.


Always inform your doctor before using Herceptin. Trastuzumab contains inactive ingredients, which can lead to allergic reactions. Your doctor should be aware of your medical history including previous cancer treatments, virus infections, current infections, heart disease etc. If you decide to get pregnant, avoid the use of Herceptin because it poses a great risk for your baby. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers are not encouraged to use Trastuzumab for the treatment of breast cancer.

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