THIS MEDICATION CAN CAUSE HARM TO YOUR BABY:
Trastuzumab is expected to cause fetal harm and should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
What is trastuzumab?
Trastuzumab is a toxic medication used to treat breast cancer.
What is trastuzumab used to treat?
Trastuzumab is a prescription medication used to treat human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) positive breast cancer that has spread within the body, stomach cancer, and esophageal cancer. This medication may be used in combination with other medications such as paclitaxel.
How does trastuzumab work?
Trastuzumab is an antibody that binds to the HER-2 receptors in cancerous cells that have a high number of these receptors, leading to death of cancerous cells.
If I am taking trastuzumab, can it harm my baby?
It is unknown if trastuzumab human placenta to reach the developing baby. Only 6 case reports of women who took trastuzumab during pregnancy are available. Three of the six women stopped trastuzumab during the first trimester. No birth defects were identified in the six births; however, toxic effects on the kidneys have been reported due to low or deficient amniotic fluid levels in the mother with second and third trimester exposure to the medication. Maternal discontinuation of trastuzumab reversed any kidney damage that was reported in these cases. Other side effects in the baby due to low amniotic fluid levels include underdevelopment of the lungs, abnormal skeletal development, and death. Further studies are needed to understand the risks of this medication to the developing baby. HER-2 receptors are present within the baby's tissues and blocking these receptors with trastuzumab may be harmful for the baby's development. Trastuzumab may improve the pregnancy outcome, but it is generally recommended to avoid this medication while pregnant unless it is required.
If I am taking trastuzumab and become pregnant, what should I do?
It is recommended to use contraception to avoid pregnancy while on trastuzumab therapy and for at least 7 months after stopping therapy. Pregnancy testing is performed in women before to starting this medication. If trastuzumab therapy is required during pregnancy, the woman must be advised on the safety risks. European guidelines and some studies recommend delaying trastuzumab therapy until after pregnancy in women with HER-2 positive breast cancer who become pregnancy while on this medication. Women on this medication during pregnancy will be monitored and the baby's development will also be monitored. The manufacturer of trastuzumab maintains records on pregnancy exposure to the medication.
If I am taking trastuzumab, can I safely breastfeed my baby?
Breastfeeding should be avoided while taking this medication and for at least 7 months after stopping this medication. Although the effects of trastuzumab exposure in breastfeeding infants is unknown, adult side effects with trastuzumab therapy include heart dysfunction/failure, diarrhea, anemia, and decreased white blood cell counts with increased infection risk.
If I am taking trastuzumab, will it be more difficult to get pregnant?
Animal studies have not identified any impairments in fertility with trastuzumab.
If I am taking trastuzumab, what should I know?
Trastuzumab is a toxic anticancer medication that should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding to prevent side effects in the baby.
If I am taking any medication, what should I know?
This report provides a summary of available information about the use of HER-2 receptor inhibitors during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Content is from the product label unless otherwise indicated.
You may find Pregistry's expert reports about oncology here, reports about the individual medications used to treat cancer here, and a report about cancer here. Additional information can also be found in the resources below.
For more information about trastuzumab during and after pregnancy, contact http://www.womenshealth.gov/ (800-994-9662 [TDD: 888-220-5446]) or check the following link:
Gene.com: Herceptin Prescribing Information