Cardiotoxicity and Herceptin

Monitoring for Cardiotoxicity With Herceptin

The manufacturer of Herceptin recommends a thorough cardiovascular assessment, consisting of a physical examination and either an echocardiogram or MUGA scan (tests to assess heart function) before starting Herceptin. Monitoring is suggested at each of the following times:
  • Immediately before starting Herceptin
  • Once every three months while taking Herceptin
  • Once upon completing Herceptin therapy
  • Once every six months (for two years) after stopping Herceptin
  • Three months after taking Herceptin alone (after stopping paclitaxel)
  • Three months after stopping Herceptin.
If you have to temporarily stop taking Herceptin due to cardiotoxicity, the monitoring is recommended to be performed once a month.

Final Thoughts on Cardiotoxicity and Herceptin

As with many monoclonal antibodies, Herceptin appears to increase the risk of congestive heart failure. However, for many people, the potential benefits of Herceptin outweigh the risks of cardiotoxicity. With careful monitoring and patient selection, these risks can be reduced.
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