Side Effects of Biological Therapy

The side effects you experience while using biological therapies depend mainly on the particular drugs with which you’re being treated. While some treatments may cause mild, flu-like symptoms, others can cause severe, and occasionally dangerous, reactions. So be sure to discuss the risks of treatment with your doctor.

Herceptin

Managing Pain

Learn how to conquer pain and improve your quality of life in Your Guide to Cancer Care.

Some women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer receive Herceptin, which is designed to bind to certain proteins on cancer cells and destroy them. The most common side effects of this widely used biological therapy include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rashes

Most of these side effects become less severe after the first treatment.

However, Herceptin can also have more serious effects such as heart damage, which may lead to heart failure. It can also affect the lungs, causing breathing problems that require immediate medical attention.

Your oncologist will check you for heart or lung problems before prescribing Herceptin. You’ll also be monitored for serious complications throughout your treatment.

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