Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine (Generic Name)

Other Names: Kadcyla®

About This Drug

Ado-trastuzumab emtansine is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Headache
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in your liver function.  Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people.
  • Skin and tissue irritation may involve redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This happens if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.
  • Effects on the heart: This drug can weaken the heart and lower heart function. Your heart function will be checked as needed. You may have trouble catching your breath, mainly during activities. You may also have trouble breathing while lying down, and have swelling in your ankles.

 

Infusion Reactions

While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain.

Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms any time during the infusion and/or for the first 24 hours after getting this drug:

  • fever, chills, or shaking chills
  • feeling dizzy or light headed
  • headache
  • nausea or throwing up

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • During the IV infusion, please tell your doctor nurse right away if you have any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion.
  • If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.

Food and Drug Interactions

Certain foods may affect how your body reacts to ado-trastuzumab emtansine. Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.

There are known interactions of ado-trastuzumab emtansine with some other medicines and products like acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Ask your doctor what over-the-counter medicines you can take for fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Bleeding or bruising that is not usual
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or light headed

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms happen:

  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired or weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment. Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine in case of an exposure during pregnancy.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised June 2014

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