Have you suffered heart failure after taking Herceptin?

Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, created Herceptin, tratuzumab, to treat certain types of cancer.  The FDA approved Herceptin in 1998 for treatment of adjuvant breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and metastatic gastric cancer.

Herceptin works by interfering with the process involved in cell growth by cancerous tumors.  In effect, the drug will hamper the tumor growth by not allowing the cells to multiply.  Generally, cancerous cells grow much faster than a body’s normal immune system is able to combat, which makes the disease so deadly.  Cancer treatments can be very expensive, and a full course of Herceptin may cost up to $70,000.


Adverse Side Effect Associated with Herceptin

Although Herceptin is an extremely popular anti-cancer drug, there have been numerous reports of various adverse side effects from patients who take the medication.  Most of the problems involve heart damage.  The side effects have become so prevalent and severe that the FDA has included a “black box” warning on the label of the medication.  The black box warning is the most severe warning the FDA hands out to prescription medication.  The warnings on Herceptin currently show that the anti-cancer medication may cause:

  • Left ventricular cardiac dysfunction
  • Arrhythmias
  • Hypertension
  • Disabling cardiac failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac death
  • Asymptomatic decline in left ventricular ejection fraction

According to reports, taking Herceptin increases the likelihood of a patient experiencing one or more of these events up to six times.  If a woman taking Herceptin is also on a chemotherapy program that includes anthracycline, her risk of heart damage is severely increased.


Legal Steps

If you or someone you love has taken the anti-cancer drug Herceptin and has suffered severe side effects like the ones listed above, you may have a case.  It is important for you to contact us right away to determine the best course of action for your personal situation.