Generic name: ado-trastuzumab emtansine [AY-doe-tras-TOOZ-ue-mab-em-TAN-seen]
Type of drug: HER2 inhibitors are a type of drug.

Describe Kadcyla.

Kadcyla is a medicine for cancer that stops cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Kadcyla is used to treat breast cancer that is caused by HER2.

Kadcyla is used for both early breast cancer and breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Most of the time, Kadcyla is given after other cancer treatments have failed.

Herceptin (trastuzumab) should not be used instead of Kadcyla.


Do not use Kadcyla if you are pregnant. It could hurt the baby in the womb. Use birth control that works, and tell your doctor if you get pregnant while you’re being treated.

Before starting this treatment, you may need to make sure that you are not pregnant by taking a test.

Kadcyla can harm your liver. Call your doctor right away if you have pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of hunger, dark pee, stools that look like clay, or jaundice, which is when your skin or eyes turn yellow.

Before each Kadcyla shot, your heart activity may need to be checked with an electrocardiograph, or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

Before you take this drug

If you are allergic to ado-trastuzumab emtansine, you shouldn’t use Kadcyla.

Do not use Kadcyla if you are pregnant. It could hurt the baby or cause problems when the baby is born. Use a reliable method of birth control to avoid getting pregnant while you’re taking this medicine and for at least 7 months after you’ve finished taking it.

Tell your doctor if you get pregnant while you are getting treated.

To make sure Kadcyla is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems;
  • liver disease (especially hepatitis B or C);
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder like hemophilia;
  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, or another breathing disorder.

If you are breastfeeding, you shouldn’t take this medicine.

How do you get Kadcyla?

Kadcyla is put into a vein as a treatment. This shot will be given to you by a health care professional.

This medicine must be given slowly, and the injection can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to finish.

Tell your providers if the area around the IV needle hurts, burns, or swells when Kadcyla is given.

Most of the time, Kadcyla is given every 3 weeks. The length of your treatment will be decided by your doctor.

You may need to go to the doctor often to make sure this medicine isn’t hurting you. Depending on the results, your cancer treatments may be put off for a while.

Information dosage

For adults with breast cancer, the usual dose is 3.6 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks (21-day cycle) until the cancer gets worse or the side effects are too bad.

Maximum dose: 3.6 mg/kg IV every 3 weeks

Comments: The first injection should be given over 90 minutes. The next infusions can be given as tolerated over the next 30 minutes.

-Watch the patient during the infusion and for at least 90 minutes after the first dose for fever, chills, or other effects that could be caused by the infusion.

-Patients should make sure that their tumors are HER2 positive before starting treatment.

-Don’t use trastuzumab emtansine instead of or in place of trastuzumab.

-If a planned amount is late or missed, it should be given as soon as possible. Do not wait until the next planned cycle.

Use: As a single drug for patients with HER2-positive, advanced breast cancer who have already been treated with trastuzumab and a taxane, either separately or together. Patients should have:

-Had treatment for advanced disease before OR -Had a return of the disease during or within 6 months of finishing adjuvant therapy

What will happen if I don’t take a dose?

If you miss your Kadcyla treatment visit, you should call your doctor to find out what to do.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a doctor in a hospital, it is rare that an overdose will happen.

What not to do

Don’t do things that could make you bleed or hurt yourself. When you shave or brush your teeth, be extra careful not to cut yourself.

Ado-trastuzumab emtansine can get into urine, poop, and vomit. After getting a dose, you shouldn’t let your body fluids touch your hands or other objects for at least 48 hours. Caregivers should wear plastic gloves when cleaning up a patient’s body fluids, changing diapers, or handling dirty trash or laundry. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Separate the dirty clothes and bedding from the rest of the laundry.

Effects of Kadcyla

If you are allergic to Kadcyla and have hives, trouble breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, call 911 right away.

During the treatment, there may be some side affects. Tell your provider right away if you feel cold, dizzy, hot, or sweaty, or if your chest hurts, your heart beats quickly, or you have trouble breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple or red spots under your skin;
  • coughing up blood or throwing up what looks like coffee grounds;
  • bloody or tarry stools;
  • chest pain, wheezing, dry cough, feeling short of breath;
  • unusual tiredness, feeling lightheaded;
  • pale skin, cold hands and feet;
  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet;
  • sudden numbness or weakness
  • Symptoms of liver problems include loss of hunger, pain in the upper right side of the stomach, dark pee, and jaundice, which is when the skin or eyes turn yellow.
  • Signs that tumor cells are breaking down are confusion, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, a fast or slow heart rate, less urine, and tingling in your hands, feet, or mouth.

If you have certain side effects, your cancer treatments may be put on hold or stopped for good.

Common side effects of Kadcyla include:

  • easy bruising or bleeding (especially from the nose),
  • sickness,
  • constipation,
  • pain in the joints or muscles,
  • headache, or
  • feeling tired.

This isn’t a full list of all possible side effects, and there may be others. You should talk to your doctor about any side effects. You can call 1-800-FDA-1088 to tell the FDA about side affects.

How will other medicines change Kadcyla?

There are times when it is not safe to take certain medicines together. Some drugs can change how much of another drug is in your blood, which can make side effects worse or make the drug less effective.

Other drugs, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal items, may combine with ado-trastuzumab emtansine. Tell your doctor about all the drugs you are taking now, as well as any you start or stop taking.

For more details

Remember to keep this and all other medicines away from children, never give your medicines to other people, and only use Kadcyla for what it was given for.

Talk to your doctor or other healthcare source to make sure that the information on this page applies to your situation.

Disclaimer for Medical Use Copyright 1996–2023 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02.

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