Joint aches with herceptin .. what helps???

Hello ladies

Have been taking herceptin for just over a year and for the last two cycles have been suffering horrible joint aches all over. Am on a painkilling regime of codeine phosphate and paracetamol anyway, and take a tramadol instead at night, but I don’t find that these painkillers help with the joint aches.

If anyone can share a treatment that helps I’d be grateful.



Just bumping this up for someone to help you. I didn’t know Herceptin caused joint problems, I thought it was Tamoxifen and Arimedex that did that.

bumping up in case anyone can help.


Hi Alison,

I am on Herceptin but have only had 6 so far. The first 2 were fine and then I got joint aches. I saw my doc and he prescribed anti-inflams called Diclofenac Sodium 50MG. These are enteric coated so don’t upset your stomach as they don’t dissolve until they reach the bowel. You can take paracetamol at the same time but that should be enough. All those pain killers are not good for you. I took the tablets for a week and felt better after 2 days. The aches came back after No3 H so I took the tablets again. I have not had any problems since.

Do see your doctor as pain killers alone will not help.

Good luck,



I’m on Herceptin and Tamoxifen. I thought it was the my Tamoxifen that caused the sore hips and joints? Anyway, it was suggested to me to take cod liver oil capsules which I have for the last 6 weeks and I must admit I have noticed a big difference. Can I ask if someone has told you what might be causing your pain as you are on specific pain killers for it? If not, I would mention this new symptom to your oncologist… especially if it is a new pain, I was told to report any changes if they last for longer than two weeks…


Fiona xx

Hi i had my 4th herceptin on wednesday,i mentioned to the chemo nurse that my knees wrists ankles and soles of feet had been sore/stiff,i can hardly walk down stairs on a morning and if i sit down through the day its the same,i struggle to get up out of chair,anyway she just told me to take paracetamol before my herceptinthen again that evening then the next morning she didnt seem that bothered.I saw my gp today he thinks it might be arthritis and told me to take ibupropen, so im not sure whats causing the pain but it only started since the herceptin.I havnt been given an appointment with the oncologist but if it gets worse i will definatly ask to see him and see what he says.



I forgot to say that I did speak to my Oncologist and he said that joint aches are a side effect of Herceptin.


Hi all, thanks for your responses.

Yes, I think I knew that joint aches are a side effect of the herceptin. Thankfully I don’t seem to have any others. But I need to manage this pain if I’m likely to have it every few weeks while I’m on the herceptin. Like you, Julie, I get so stiff/sore first thing in the morning and after even just a short spell of sitting down that I feel twice my age.

Emmbee - I will try the diclofenac and see if that helps. My other ongoing pain is because of bone mets in spine and recent-ish hip replacemet op.

Alison x

Hi I came on this site to see if there were others experiencing similar probs Have been on Herceptin and Tamoxifen for about 6 months and am having terrible probs with my back. I get cramping in the legs for about 1-2 weeks after my Herceptin- I can live with that. My back is so stiff in the morning I struggle to get dressed and suffer from shooting pains sometimes if I bend down. I have had an xray done and the doc says its wear and tear and to take painkillers(which are helping) However I am convinced its a side effect of the Herceptin.I have had back probs before but nothing like this.


I came across this site when searching the net for info on Herceptin. I finished my year of Herceptin last November and have spent a year with back problems. The winter months seem to be the most painfull and I live on pain killers that no longer seem to work. My most comfortable position is laying on my side with a pillow between my knees. Standing causes pain across the lower back which then comes across the hips and into my stomach. Moving out of a chair can also be difficult sometimes I just have to sit where I am as I know that if I try to stand I will be in trouble. I use my hands to ladder climb up my legs to stand up. I also have problems with bending and seem to lean to the side to put things down. I wonder if it is the Herceptin or the Chemo that has caused this or just that I am now in my 50’s.

Hi ladies,

So glad I found this thread. I started one on this very subject last week trying to get to the bottom of what was causing my joint pain. I can pinpoint the start of the pain to the day the weather turned cold and is exactly as Alison and Julie describe. It feels like arthritis but is in every joint.

I had 2 sessions of Herceptin, then a break while I had surgery and radiotherapy. I also had 3 sessions of Taxotere. My BCN thinks the pain is a hangover from the Taxotere but it’s really hard to be sure as the Herceptin was given along with Taxotere. I still have a year to go on Herceptin so was really hoping that wasn’t the cause. I find 400mg of Ibuprofen 3 times a day and keeping warm does help to dull the pain but admit it gets on top of me sometimes.

Cross my fingers (if I could) that it won’t last.

Jan xx

Hello ladies

I’ve got my next herceptin this friday and I’m seeing my onc next week, so will ask at both sessions what the pain is likely to be caused by (Like you, Jan, I also had taxotere, which finished december last year - can’t believe this is a hangover from that, although also still have really cra**y nails which I’ve always put down to the chemo not the herceptin…). I’ll let you know what the verdict is.


Thanks Alison. My rads don’t finish until 18th December so I won’t see my Onc 'til January so would be really interested in the verdict.

Jan xx

Hi Ladies

My Chemo Treatment was a 3 x EC & 3 x Taxotere then a year on Herceptin. Sailed through the Herceptin with no problems it was only after I had finished that I realised how tired I had been on it.

Like Alison I also have poor nails that seem to be split down the middle and the ends flake.

I don’t see the back/Bone specialist until the 3rd December so would be interested in what you find out Alison.