Highlights for pertuzumab
Pertuzumab is a drug that’s used to treat metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body). It is also used as a neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment. This means it is given before another, main treatment.
Pertuzumab is given by intravenous (IV) infusion. This drug will be given by your healthcare provider in a clinic or hospital.
Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, rash, hair loss, or nerve pain.
Pertuzumab may cause infusion-related reactions. These can include fever, chills, tiredness, weakness, headache, or vomiting.
You shouldn’t use this drug if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Pertuzumab can cause birth defects or death in your unborn child.
What is pertuzumab?
Pertuzumab is a prescription drug. It is available as an intravenous (IV) infusion, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
Pertuzumab may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.
Why it's used
Pertuzumab is used to treat metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of your body). This type of cancer affects a protein in your body called HER2.
How it works
Pertuzumab belongs to a class of drugs called HER2/neu receptor antagonists. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They are often used to treat similar conditions.
pertuzumab Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The more common side effects that can occur with pertuzumab include:
low blood cell counts
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life-threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Heart problems: Symptoms include:
- swollen parts of the body (fluid retention)
- weight gain
- shortness of breath
- racing heartbeat
- trouble sleeping
- trouble concentrating
Infusion-related reactions. Symptoms include:
Pertuzumab may cause drowsiness. Tiredness is a common side effect of the medication.
pertuzumab May Interact with Other Medications
Pertuzumab can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.
Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.
How to Take pertuzumab (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
Pertuzumab comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all
If you don’t take pertuzumab as prescribed by your doctor, your breast cancer may get worse.
If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule
Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.
If you take too much
You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. You are at a higher risk for developing the more common side effects caused by the drug. These include:
- alopecia (hair loss)
- peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems in your hands or feet)
If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local Poison Control Center, or go to the nearest emergency room.
What to do if you miss a dose
If you miss a dose, call your doctor right away to reschedule your treatment.
How to tell if the drug is working
Your doctor will do tests to see how your breast cancer is responding to the drug.
Pertuzumab can be a short-term or long-term drug treatment, as determined by your doctor.
- Perjeta – pertuzumab injection, solution, concentrate. (2015, March). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=17f85d17-ab71-4f5b-9fe3-0b8c822f69ff
- Adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer. (2015, May). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/adjuvant-fact-sheet
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on August 20, 2015