Herceptin and Heart Disease - Newly Announced Warning

Herceptin (trastuzumab), a drug used for breast cancer patients, may significantly increase the risk of heart problems, specifically cardiotoxicity, according to a study through the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. The drug's manufacturer Genentech, Inc. sent a letter to healthcare professionals updating information of cardiotoxicity. Cardiac toxicity can lead to serious heart problems such as heart failure and even death.. The FDA released the Herceptin letter on its Medwatch website at: [FDA MED WATCH]

On August 31st, the drug manufacturer Genetech and the Food and Drug Administration announced that they had sent a warning to the US medical community based on results of a recent trial involving the popular anti-cancer drug Herceptin. The study showed a "significant" increase in heart problems compared to those receiving other forms of chemotherapy.

The drug's label currently warns about possible adverse cardiac effects, but this recent study was an attempt to quantify the extent of the cardiac risks involved. In the study of 2,043 breast cancer patients, 1,109 of those taking the medication showed significantly higher risk of damage to the heart.

The FDA letter states that "congestive heart failure and cardiac death was observed in patients who received the Herceptin containing regimen" showing an incidence of 4.1 percent, compared to an incidence of .08 percent in patients receiving other forms of therapy.

The FDA released the letter on it's website on the 31st of August.

Genetech spokespeople stated that they do not believe this new information will significantly impact the sale of Herceptin, since they state the cardiac risk was already known and many doctors consider the possible cardiac dangers less important than the life-saving and/or life prolonging benefits of the medication. It is considered one of the most popular forms of Chemotherapy used in the treatment of breast cancer.

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Reader Comments

Posted by

This is for my mother Hearing loss that the DR. said would come back at the time she was taking it and did no come back t. Lost 80% of Hearing in her left ear and 60% in her right ear. Lost total vision in her left eye. Hair loss that didn't come back. Her teeth are crumbling and her Dentist said it was the chemotherapy that was the cause of her teeth just to crumble and crack .This should be taking off the market it is worse than the cancer it self . From 10-27-18 to 11-2-18 she has spent $4.000.00, on her teeth and last night she was brushing her teeth and a pice of her tooth just fell out . (TAXOTERE =DOCETAXEL), (TRASTUZUMAB (440)=,HERCEPTIN, ) 1 OF THE TREATMENTS was 09-03-15 . I am her son and someone needs to look in to this . My name is Jason Lee and I live with her but call my number at 423-653-0866 Thanks .PS I have photo's of the bag's they gave her to and were not singe off on by the DR.

Posted by

Still have left sided weakness and issues from using this drug in conjunction with other breast cancer drugs.

Posted by

My sister is in the hospital suffering from congestive heart failure after using Herceptin for almost a year. She was being treated for breast cancer and is only 40 years old. We both feel this is going to greatly impact her quality of life.

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