How is Herceptin given?
Herceptin treatment is given as an IV infusion (drip) and treatment usually starts after you’ve had surgery and chemotherapy and are normally given every 1 or 3 weeks. This usually takes place in the cancer department at a hospital or clinic. You may receive Herceptin by itself or in combination with other breast cancer treatments. Your specialist will decide which combination of treatments is best for you.
How long will the infusion take?
The first infusion of Herceptin will generally be given over 90 minutes.
After the infusion you will need to wait for a short time to make sure you don’t have a reaction to the Herceptin.
Subsequent infusions will generally take 30 minutes if you receive Herceptin weekly, or 90 minutes if you receive Herceptin once every three weeks.
The infusion may take longer if it is slowed or interrupted, if you experience side effects or have an allergic reaction.
Can you drive after the Herceptin infusion?
Herceptin does not generally cause any problems with your ability to drive or operate machinery. However, Herceptin can cause side effects such as chills and light-headedness, particularly after the first infusion.
It’s important not to drive until these symptoms have cleared or until you know how Herceptin affects you. It’s a good idea to bring a friend or family member to drive you home the first time you have Herceptin.
1 year of Herceptin treatment is fully funded in New Zealand.
Women with HER2-positive eBC may be eligible for 1 year funded Herceptin. If you have been diagnosed with HER2-positive eBC it is important to discuss and understand all your treatment options with your breast cancer specialist before commencing treatment.
Why should I choose 1 year of Herceptin?
Clinical best practice and evidence from four large international studies confirm 1 year of Herceptin offers women with HER2 positive eBC the best chance of survival.
People respond differently to medicines, so it is difficult to express exactly how much Herceptin will help individual patients. In clinical studies of early breast cancer patients, Herceptin was shown to approximately halve the risk of the cancer returning. That is to say, after eBC is diagnosed and tested, your specialist will estimate the risk of a negative outcome, whatever percentage this is, one year of Herceptin will cut it in half.
Your specialist will consider all aspects of your diagnosis and should be able to give you an idea of your prognosis.