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Pertuzumab Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Pertuzumab has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people receiving the drug were documented and compared to those reactions that occurred in a group given pertuzumab in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and docetaxel (Taxotere®) and a group who received trastuzumab, docetaxel, and a placebo (a product similar to pertuzumab but without any active ingredients). As a result, it was possible to see how much pertuzumab increased the risk of side effects.
 
In these studies, the most common side effects of the pertuzumab/trastuzumab/docetaxel combination included:
 
  • Hair loss -- in up to 67 percent of people
  • Diarrhea -- up to 66.8 percent 
  • Low neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) -- up to 64.9 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 42.3 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 37.6 percent
  • Rash -- up to 33.7 percent
  • Unusual sensations like numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands or feet -- up to 32.4 percent.
 
It is important to understand that many of these side effects were due almost entirely to the other drugs (trastuzumab and docetaxel) rather than pertuzumab. For instance, in one study, 60.9 percent of people taking all three drugs had hair loss; however, almost the exact number of people (60.5 percent) taking the two drugs without pertuzumab also experienced hair loss.
 
Other common side effects, occurring in 10 percent to 30 percent of people, included:
 
  • General weakness
  • Swelling and water retention in the hands, ankles, and feet
  • Inflammation in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Nail problems
  • Itching
  • Dry skin
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Mouth sores
  • Anemia
  • Low white blood cells
  • Headache
  • Distorted sense of taste
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (like the common cold)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased tear production (watery eyes)
  • Insomnia.
 
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