Frequently Asked Questions about Perjeta™ (Pertuzumab)
Class: Biological Therapy
Generic Name: Pertuzumab
Trade Name: Perjeta™
How is Perjeta used? Perjeta is used for the treatment of HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer. It is given in combination with Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and Taxotere® (docetaxel), and is intended for people who have not previously been treated with chemotherapy or HER2-targeted therapy for metastatic breast cancer.
What is the mechanism of action? Perjeta targets a protein that is involved in the growth of some breast cancers: the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
How is Perjeta given (administered)? Perjeta is given as an intravenous (into a vein) infusion.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with Perjeta. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells and to monitor functions of some organ systems. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy.
What are the most common side effects of treatment with Perjeta when Perjeta is used in combination with Herceptin and Taxotere?
- Hair loss
- Low white blood cell counts
- Upset stomach
- Damage to nerves (numbness, tingling, or pain in hands or feet)
What are some of the other, potentially serious side effects of Perjeta?
- If taken during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects and death of the unborn baby.
- Heart problems
- Severe allergic reactions
- Reactions related to infusion of the drug
This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.
Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
- Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions, and discuss side effects with your physician.
- Use effective birth control during treatment with Perjeta and for six months after the last dose. If Perjeta is taken during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects or death in the unborn child.
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
- Patients should inform their physician of any other medication they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter), as they may interact with treatment.
- Patients should inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a family in the near future.
- Patients should inform their physician about all other medical conditions.
When should patients notify their physician?
Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. Also tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
Important Limitations of Use
The information provided above on the drug you have selected is provided for your information only and is not a substitute for consultation with an appropriate medical doctor. We are providing this information solely as a courtesy and, as such, it is in no way a recommendation as to the safety, efficacy or appropriateness of any particular drug, regimen, dosing schedule for any particular cancer, condition or patient nor is it in any way to be considered medical advice. Patients should discuss the appropriateness of a particular drug or chemotherapy regimen with their physician.
As with any printed reference, the use of particular drugs, regimens and drug dosages may become out-of-date over time, since new information may have been published and become generally accepted after the latest update to this printed information. Please keep in mind that health care professionals are fully responsible for practicing within current standards, avoiding use of outdated regimens, employing good clinical judgment in selecting drugs and/or regimens, in calculating doses for individual patients, and verifying all dosage calculations.
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES
CANCERCONNECT SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS AND EXCLUDES ALL EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES AS TO QUALITY, ACCURACY (INCLUDING TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS), MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN. CANCERCONNECT DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY OR DAMAGES ARISING FROM ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION.
The prescribing physician is solely responsible for making all decisions relating to appropriate patient care including, but not limited to, drugs, regimens, dose, schedule, and any supportive care.