Herceptin - treatment time

Hi all,

I was told at my latest treatment session that in future my herceptin would be iven to me over a 30 minute period instead of the usual 1hr 30 mins. I’m told that this is fairly common throughout the country. Anyone else know about this. I can be cynical about these things, and I do wonder if this is a cost cutting manouvre rather than something that benefits my health.

Hi Celeste

I haven’t had Herceptin, but am on Avastin which is similar. The first time the infusion was very slow in case I had a reaction, and subsequent ones a little faster - but not a whole hour faster! Certainly worth checking.


Hi Celeste,

I have been aware for some time now that a lot of hospitals do have a much shorter infusion time. I am treated at the Marsden where they do(did) it over 90mins. They are now introducing shorter times so last time I went it was done over 60mins, and I was told next time it would be 30mins. It does make sense if they find most people tolerate it. Don’t know about your hospital but at ours there always seems to be a shortage of comfortable recliners in the treatment room.


I’ve been having my Herceptin over 30mins for quite a few now. No porblems at all with it. Also I used to get Paracetamol and Anti Histimine with it but not now. Again no problems with it. Means I’m not sleepy with it. I’m on Herceptin number 42 and find that the shorter time means I’m out and home before kids are out of school which works well for me.


I have just had dose 10 of herceptin. The 1st and 2nd dose was over 90mins, then it was gradually deceased until by dose 6 I was having it over 30 mins. The 1st few doses are to see if you have an allergic reaction which although rare could be dangerous if you had left the hospital.

good luck with your treatment

Apart from the loading dose(and one after), I have always had it over 30 mins!! I thought that this was the norm !!??

Julie x

Same as Julie: first two slow, the rest over 30 mins.

I’ve had to have a break due to a heart reaction, so if I start up again I guess I’ll have to go through tge loading doses again. So annoying. Next heart scan in two weeks…

I too have my herceptin over 30 mins - have done for ages, just had 112th treatment. I still have paracetamol and half the dose of piriton (5mg I believe) and that makes me sleep. I did try to do without it but felt a bit queasy so the hospital a happy to let me continue with my piriton and wake me up when it is all over. At least it makes me relax and take it easy on the day of my treatment.

…why do people get anti histamine and paracetamol with it?

Thanks for the herceptin info - but it does rather seem that I will still be there all day, because I have a portacath, and they take bloods for the pamidronate as soon as they’ve accessed the port, and those bloods take ages to come back. I’m rather assuming that everyone has their pamidronate over 90 minutes - is that so?

Hi Celeste

I have my Herceptin over an hour. I was offered it over 30 mins but declined because I am slightly allergic to it. I was never offered anti histamine with it, but worked that out for myself after several months’ worth of runny nose and red/itchy eyes. I now find that Loratadine and an antihistamine eye drop, the name of which escapes me (but I can repost here if anyone would like me to) keep reasonably on top of the reaction. I also take the max daily dose of Paracetamol alongside other painkillers - the pain is a combination of bone pain and also joint/muscle/bone pain which I believe is caused by the Herceptin.

Pamidronate - I used to have that over an hour, but they recently increased the dosage so I do now have it over more like 90 mins. Like you, they used to take the bloods for it same day and then I’d have to wait until the bloods came back. But some months ago they realised that they could use the bloods from the previous week, which saves a lot of time. Could you suggest the same to your team, and say that this is done elsewhere (Newcastle in my case) if they query it?

Best wishes.
Alison x

Hi there,

I’m on number 13 and the last few have been over 30 mins. The nurses told me that they’ve had new instructions that the majority of people tolerate it very well and to reduce it where possible. If you have any kind of reaction they will re-adjust it. My boss very kindly gives me the day off so I’m quite happy to be out of the hospital as soon as possible especially when the weather is good.

Jan xx

Hi Alison - thanks for the info - unfortunately I don’t have bloods from the pre vious week - I now only attend hospital every 3 weeks for herceptin/pamidronate treatment. Perhaps there is a solution out there somewhere.

Thanks to all for their help on this.

Celeste I don’t understand why you have to wait for blood results to come back for them to administer your pamidronate. I am on herceptin and zometa but for 6 years was on pamidronate (they changed me over to zometa about 6 mths ago). They do take my bloods but immediately go on to set up the zometa or herceptin. Like you I only attend hospital every 3 weeks.


Hi Celeste - I’m the same as Dawn - except I have Pamidronate every four weeks but they use the blood results from the previous month and get on with it straightaway - I’m usually in and out within an hour and a half including hand-warming, bloods, flush etc.

Hi Celeste

Sorry, I didn’t mean the previous week, I meant the previous visit, ie three weeks previously. Do push them to do it this way. Sounds like there are a few of us where this is the norm.

Alison x

Hi all,

I checked with my onc whether they could use the bloods from the previous 3 weeks for my pamidronate infusion, and whether that would be a good idea. I was told that at my hospital the protocol is to use bloods no more than 7days old, and that if the bloods indicated any problem (sorry cannot quite remember what he said here specificaly) - then clearly giving me pamidronate would not be a good thing at all. So I think I’ll stick to the longer but safer protocol, but thanks for all your input on this issue.