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Generic Name: ado-trastuzumab emtansine (AY doe tras TOOZ ue mab em TAN seen)
Brand Names: Kadcyla
Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. Includes Kadcyla side effects, interactions and indications.
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Drug Information:
Kadcyla (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Kadcyla is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer. Kadcyla is used both for early breast cancer and for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic). Kadcyla is usually given after other cancer medications have been tried without success. Kadcyla should not be used in place of Herceptin (trastuzumab). Do not use Kadcyla if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Learn more

Kadcyla Side Effects

Kadcyla Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about ado-trastuzumab emtansine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Kadcyla.

In Summary

Common side effects of Kadcyla include: increased serum bilirubin, increased serum transaminases, cough, decreased platelet count, dyspnea, fatigue, fever, peripheral neuropathy, and thrombocytopenia. Other side effects include: chills. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to ado-trastuzumab emtansine: intravenous powder for solution


Intravenous route (Powder for Solution)

Do not substitute ado-trastuzumab emtansine with or for trastuzumab. Hepatotoxicity, liver failure, reductions in left ventricular ejection fraction, and death have occurred in ado-trastuzumab emtansine-treated patients. Monitor hepatic function and left ventricular function before beginning treatment and before each dose. Modify, hold, or discontinue treatment as necessary. Exposure to ado-trastuzumab emtansine during pregnancy can result in embryo-fetal harm. Advise patients of these risks and the need for effective contraception.

Along with its needed effects, ado-trastuzumab emtansine (the active ingredient contained in Kadcyla) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking ado-trastuzumab emtansine:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bladder pain
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • blurred vision
  • burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations
  • chills
  • convulsions
  • cough
  • decreased urine
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fever
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • mood changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nervousness
  • nosebleeds
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • rapid weight gain
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sore throat
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unsteadiness or awkwardness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet

Less common

  • Chest pain
  • dilated neck veins
  • extreme fatigue
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • irregular breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • skin rash
  • thickening of bronchial secretions


  • Dark-colored urine
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • light-colored stools
  • stomach bloating or pain
  • vomiting blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach tenderness
  • itching

Some side effects of ado-trastuzumab emtansine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • change in taste
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of taste
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain in the joints
  • stomach discomfort or upset
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • trouble sleeping

Less common

  • Burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • discharge or excessive tearing
  • redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to ado-trastuzumab emtansine: intravenous powder for injection


Common (1% to 10%): Left ventricular dysfunction, hypertension, peripheral edema


Very common (10% or more): Rash (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus, alopecia, nail disorder, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome, urticaria


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (40%), constipation (24%), vomiting (20%), diarrhea (20%), dry mouth (16%), abdominal pain (16%), stomatitis (15%), stomatitis

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspepsia, gingival bleeding


Very common (10% or more): Urinary tract infection (12%)


Very common (10% or more): Hemorrhage (35%), thrombocytopenia (25%), anemia (15%), hemorrhage

Common (1% to 10%): Neutropenia, leucopenia


Very common (10% or more): Transaminases increased (12%)

Common (1% to 10%):

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatotoxicity, hepatic failure, nodular regenerative hyperplasia, portal hypertension

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Portal hypertension, hepatic failure, nodular regenerative hyperplasia


Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity


Common (1% to 10%): Immunogenicity


Very common (10% or more): Hypokalemia (11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Blood alkaline phosphatase increased


Very common (10% or more): Musculoskeletal pain (36%), arthralgia (19%), myalgia (13%)

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (28%), peripheral neuropathy (23%), asthenia, chills

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, dysgeusia, memory impairment


Common (1% to 10%): Dry eye, conjunctivitis, blurred vision, lacrimation increased


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (37%), pyrexia (23%), asthenia (16%), chills (10%)


Very common (10% or more): Insomnia (12%)


Very common (10% or more): Epistaxis (24%), cough (20%), dyspnea (13%)

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pneumonitis


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site extravasation, infusion-related reactions

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Kadcyla