What is a Patient Information Leaflet and why is it useful?

The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.

Below is a text only representation of the Patient Information Leaflet, the original can be viewed in PDF format using the link above.

The text only version may be available from RNIB in large print, Braille or audio CD. For further information call RNIB Medicine Leaflet Line on 0800 198 5000. The product code(s) for this leaflet is: EU/1/00/145/001.

Herceptin 150mg powder for concentrate for solution for infusion

PACKAGE LEAFLET: INFORMATION FOR THE USER

Herceptin 150 mg powder for concentrate for solution for infusion

Trastuzumab

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this medicine because it contains important information for you.

  • Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
  • If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. See section 4.

In this leaflet:

1. What Herceptin is and what it is used for
2. What you need to know before you are given Herceptin
3. How Herceptin is given
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Herceptin
6. Contents of the pack and other information

1. What Herceptin is and what it is used for

Herceptin contains the active substance trastuzumab, which is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies attach to specific proteins or antigens. Trastuzumab is designed to bind selectively to an antigen called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). HER2 is found in large amounts on the surface of some cancer cells where it stimulates their growth. When Herceptin binds to HER2 it stops the growth of such cells and causes them to die.

Your doctor may prescribe Herceptin for the treatment of breast and gastric cancer when:

  • You have early breast cancer, with high levels of a protein called HER2.
  • You have metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has spread beyond the original tumour) with high levels of HER2. Herceptin may be prescribed in combination with the chemotherapy medicine paclitaxel or docetaxel as first treatment for metastatic breast cancer or it may be prescribed alone if other treatments have proved unsuccessful. It is also used in combination with medicines called aromatase inhibitors with patients with high levels of HER2 and hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer (cancer that is sensitive to the presence of female sex hormones).
  • You have metastatic gastric cancer with high levels of HER2, when it is in combination with the other cancer medicines capecitabine or 5-flououracil and cisplatin.

2. What you need to know before you are given Herceptin

Do not use Herceptin if:

  • you are allergic to trastuzumab, to murine (mouse) proteins, or to any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed in section 6).
  • you have severe breathing problems at rest due to your cancer or if you need oxygen treatment.

Warnings and precautions

Your doctor will closely supervise your therapy.

Heart checks

Treatment with Herceptin alone or with a taxane may affect the heart, especially if you have ever used an anthracycline (taxanes and anthracyclines are two other kinds of medicine used to treat cancer). The effects may be moderate to severe and could cause death. Therefore, your heart function will be checked before, during (every three months) and after (up to two to five years) treatment with Herceptin. If you develop any signs of heart failure (inadequate pumping of blood by the heart), your heart function may be checked more frequently (every six to eight weeks), you may receive treatment for heart failure or you may have to stop Herceptin treatment.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before you are given Herceptin if:

  • you have had heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease (heart murmurs), high blood pressure, taken any high blood pressure medicine or are currently taking any high blood pressure medicine.
  • you have ever had or are currently using a medicine called doxorubicin or epirubicin (medicines used to treat cancer). These medicines (or any other anthracyclines) can damage heart muscle and increase the risk of heart problems with Herceptin.
  • you suffer from breathlessness., especially if you are currently using a taxane. Herceptin can cause breathing difficulties, especially when it is first given. This could be more serious if you are already breathless. Very rarely, patients with severe breathing difficulties before treatment have died when they were given Herceptin.
  • you have ever had any other treatment for cancer.

If you receive Herceptin with any other medicine to treat cancer, such as paclitaxel, docetaxel, an aromatase inhibitor, capecitabine, 5-fluorouracil, or cisplatin you should also read the patient information leaflets for these products.

Children and adolescents

Herceptin is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 years.

Other medicines and Herceptin

Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you are taking, have recently taken or may take any other medicines.

It may take up to 7 months for Herceptin to be removed from the body. Therefore you should tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse that you have had Herceptin if you start any new medicine in the 7 months after stopping treatment.

Pregnancy

  • If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse for advice before taking this medicine.
  • You should use effective contraception during treatment with Herceptin and for at least 7 months after treatment has ended.
  • Your doctor will advise you of the risks and benefits of taking Herceptin during pregnancy. In rare cases, a reduction in the amount of (amniotic) fluid that surrounds the developing baby within the womb has been observed in pregnant women receiving Herceptin. This condition may be harmful to your baby in the womb and has been associated with the lungs not developing fully resulting in foetal death.

Breast-feeding

Do not breast-feed your baby during Herceptin therapy and for 7 months after the last dose of Herceptin as Herceptin may pass to your baby through your breast milk.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.

Driving and using machines

It is not known whether Herceptin can affect your ability to drive a car or operate machines. However, if during treatment you experience symptoms, such as chills or fever, you should not drive or use machines until these symptoms disappear.

3. How Herceptin is given

Before starting the treatment your doctor will determine the amount of HER2 in your tumour. Only patients with a large amount of HER2 will be treated with Herceptin. Herceptin should only be given by a doctor or nurse. Your doctor will prescribe a dose and treatment regimen that is right for you. The dose of Herceptin depends on your body weight.

Two different types (formulations) of Herceptin exist:

  • one is given as an infusion into a vein (intravenous infusion)
  • the other is given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection).

It is important to check the product labels to ensure that the correct formulation is being given as prescribed. Herceptin intravenous formulation is not for subcutaneous use and should be given as an intravenous infusion only.

Your doctor may consider switching your Herceptin intravenous treatment to Herceptin subcutaneous treatment (and vice versa) if considered appropriate for you.

Herceptin intravenous formulation is given as an intravenous infusion (“drip”) directly into your veins. The first dose of your treatment is given over 90 minutes and you will be observed by a health professional while it is being given in case you have any side effects. If the first dose is well tolerated the next doses may be given over 30 minutes (see section 2 under “Warnings and precautions”). The number of infusions you receive will depend on how you respond to the treatment. Your doctor will discuss this with you.

In order to prevent medication errors it is important to check the vial labels to ensure that the medicine being prepared and given is Herceptin (trastuzumab) and not trastuzumab emtansine.

For early breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and metastatic gastric cancer, Herceptin is given every 3 weeks. Herceptin may also be given once a week for metastatic breast cancer.

If you stop using Herceptin

Do not stop using this medicine without talking to your doctor first. All doses should be taken at the right time every week or every three weeks (depending on your dosing schedule). This helps your medicine work as well as it can.

It may take up to 7 months for Herceptin to be removed from your body. Therefore your doctor may decide to continue to check your heart functions, even after you finish treatment.

If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

4. Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Herceptin can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Some of these side effects may be serious and may lead to hospitalisation.

During a Herceptin infusion, chills, fever and other flu like symptoms may occur. These are very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people). Other infusion-related symptoms are: feeling sick (nausea), vomiting, pain, increased muscle tension and shaking, headache, dizziness, breathing difficulties, wheezing, high or low blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances (palpitations, heart fluttering or irregular heart beat), swelling of the face and lips, rash and feeling tired. Some of these symptoms can be serious and some patients have died (see section 2 under “Warnings and precautions”).

These effects mainly occur with the first intravenous infusion (“drip” into your vein) and during the first few hours after the start of the infusion. They are usually temporary. You will be observed by a health care professional during the infusion and for at least six hours after the start of the first infusion and for two hours after the start of other infusions. If you develop a reaction, they will slow down or stop the infusion and may give you treatment to counteract the side effects. The infusion may be continued after the symptoms improve.

Occasionally, symptoms start later than six hours after the infusion begins. If this happens to you, contact your doctor immediately. Sometimes, symptoms may improve and then get worse later.

Other side effects can occur at any time during treatment with Herceptin, not just related to an infusion. Heart problems can sometimes occur during treatment and occasionally after treatment has stopped and can be serious. They include weakening of the heart muscle possibly leading to heart failure, inflammation (swollen, red, hot, and in pain) of the lining around the heart and heart rhythm disturbances. This can lead to symptoms such as:

  • breathlessness (including breathlessness at night),
  • cough,
  • fluid retention (swelling) in the legs or arms,
  • palpitations (heart fluttering or irregular heart beat).

Your doctor will monitor your heart regularly during and after treatment but you should tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms.

If you experience any of the above symptoms when your treatment with Herceptin has finished, you should see your doctor and tell them that you have previously been treated with Herceptin.

Very common side effects of Herceptin: may affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • infections
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • heartburn (dyspepsia)
  • weakness
  • skin rashes
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • joint pain
  • low counts of red blood cells and white blood cells (which help fight infection) sometimes with fever
  • muscle pain
  • conjunctivitis
  • watery eyes
  • nose bleeds
  • runny nose
  • hair loss
  • tremor
  • hot flush
  • dizziness
  • nail disorders
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • altered taste
  • low platelet count
  • bruising
  • numbness or tingling of the fingers and toes
  • redness, swelling or sores in your mouth and/or throat
  • pain, swelling, redness or tingling of hands and/or feet
  • breathlessness
  • headache
  • cough
  • vomiting
  • nausea

Common side effects of Herceptin: may affect up to 1 in 10 people

  • allergic reactions
  • throat infections
  • bladder and skin infections
  • shingles
  • inflammation of the breast
  • inflammation of the liver
  • kidney disorders
  • increased muscle tone or tension (hypertonia)
  • pain in the arms and/or legs
  • itchy rash
  • sleepiness (somnolence)
  • haemorrhoids
  • itchiness
  • dry mouth and skin
  • dry eyes
  • sweating
  • feeling weak and unwell
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • abnormal thinking
  • asthma
  • infection of lungs
  • lung disorders
  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • bone pain
  • acne
  • leg cramps

Uncommon side effects of Herceptin: may affect up to 1 in 100 people:

  • deafness
  • bumpy rash
  • blood infection

Rare side effects of Herceptin: may affect up to 1 in 1000 people

  • weakness
  • jaundice
  • inflammation or scarring of the lungs

Other side effects that have been reported with Herceptin use: frequency cannot be estimated from the available data

  • abnormal or impaired blood clotting
  • anaphylactic reactions
  • high potassium levels
  • swelling of the brain
  • swelling or bleeding at the back of the eyes
  • shock
  • swelling of the lining of the heart
  • slow heart rate
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • respiratory distress
  • respiratory failure
  • acute accumulation of fluid in the lungs
  • acute narrowing of the airways
  • abnormally low oxygen levels in the blood
  • difficulty in breathing when lying flat
  • liver damage/failure
  • swelling of the face, lips and throat
  • kidney failure
  • abnormally low levels of fluid around baby in womb
  • failure of the lungs of the baby to develop in the womb
  • abnormal development of the kidneys of the baby in the womb

Some of the side-effects you experience may be due to your underlying cancer. If you receive Herceptin in combination with chemotherapy, some of them may also be due to the chemotherapy.

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

Reporting of side effects

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly (see details below).

By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

Ireland

HPRA Pharmacovigilance
Earlsfort Terrace
IRL - Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 6764971
Fax: +353 1 6762517
Website:www.hpra.ie
e-mail:medsafety@hpra.ie

Malta

ADR Reporting
Website:www.medicinesauthority.gov.mt/adrportal

United Kingdom

Yellow Card Scheme
Website:www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard

or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store

5. How to store Herceptin

Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children.

Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the outer carton and on the vial label after EXP. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.

Store in a refrigerator (2°C – 8°C).

Infusion solutions should be used immediately after dilution. Do not use Herceptin if you notice any particulate matter or discoloration prior to administration.

Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.

6. Contents of the pack and other information

What Herceptin contains

  • The active substance is trastuzumab. Each vial contains 150 mg trastuzumab that has to be dissolved in 7.2 mL of water for injection. The resulting solution contains approximately 21 mg/mL trastuzumab.
  • The other ingredient(s) are L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, L-histidine, α,α-trehalose dihydrate, polysorbate 20.

What Herceptin looks like and contents of the pack

Herceptin is a powder for concentrate for solution for intravenous infusion, which is supplied in a glass vial with a rubber stopper containing 150 mg of trastuzumab. The powder is a white to pale yellow pellet. Each carton contains 1 vial of powder.

Marketing Authorisation Holder

Roche Registration Limited
6 Falcon Way
Shire Park
Welwyn Garden City
AL7 1TW
United Kingdom

Manufacturer

Roche Pharma AG
Emil-Barell-Strasse 1
D-79639 Grenzach-Wyhlen
Germany

For any information about this medicine, please contact the local representative of the Marketing Authorisation Holder.

United Kingdom
Roche Products Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0) 1707 366000

This leaflet was last revised in October 2017

Detailed information on this medicine is available on the European Medicines Agency web site: http://www.ema.europa.eu

This leaflet is available in all EU/EEA languages on the European Medicines Agency website.

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