Shorter time for Herceptin infusion

Yesterday I went for my usual Herceptin, my 11th dose and was rather concerned to be told that instead of the hour and a half it usually takes, it has now been cut to only half an hour. I understand that the dose is the same but dripped through much quicker. The nurse said that this is what they do in other hospitals and in America. As this was the first time on this regime I had to wait for another hour in case of a reaction.

After a while my hand began to really hurt, it felt like a very bad cramp with lots of pressure. When I mentioned this I felt that the nurse thought I was making it up and told me to relax and that I was anxious. It got really painful and when another nurse asked if I was ok I told her. She said next time insist on the hour and a half. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this shortened time and if you have had any pain in the hand? It would be nice to get out quicker but I would rather sit for a longer time in comfort than be desperate for the cannula to be removed.

I wonder if this is being done in other hospitals or only in Leicester.

Best wishes to everyone

Hi Judy

I have just had my last Herceptin this week. Mine has always been over half an hour as not reaction. But there is one lady who comes to the unit and she has her infusion over and hour and half because of severe reaction.

I would certainly ask for the longer time.

Liz x

At the Royal Marsden where I am treated they will only do it over 90mins. I have been on Herceptin now for over 5 years with no reaction at all but still have it over this length of time.


It’s not only in Leicester. My Herceptin was given over 90 minutes for the first 11 or so infusions, then I was told the guidelines had changed and I was to have it over only 30 minutes. I didn’t like the idea as I’d had no problems having it over 90 and so was apprehensive about changing, and as I would still have to remain in the chemo unit for the same amount of time anyway, it made no difference to anyone except myself, so I continued having it over the hour and a half.

However a different nurse set the drip up one day, and unbeknown to me it was set for 30 mins. I had no probs with it, so didn’t mind having the next one over the reduced time…then before I could have my final infusion, my Echo cardiogram showed a big drop in my left ventrical heart function so my Herceptin was stopped :((( I don’t suppose it had anything to do with the quicker infusion, but it has made me wonder!


Thank you all for your replies. I felt so uncomfortable with the 30 minutes drip I will certainly ask for the longer one if I have the choice.

I had my 8th Herceptin today at the RLI in Leicester. There were four patients, including me, there first thing today for their Herceptin. I was cannulated as normal being number three and then the fourth patient was asked if she wanted to try the infusion over half an hour instead of the usual hour and a half.She was told that in future this may be the norm but today she would have to wait for another hour afterwards to make sure she didn’t have a reaction. She was having her fourteenth Herceptin. Seems a bit pointless if a time saving exercise if you still have to wait the extra hour.

pollysue I think the wait for an extra hour is only for the first time that the half hour infusion is given. If you have no reaction then I think in future you can be discharged as soon as you have had the shorter time plus flush.

However, I think I will still see if I can have the hour and a half as the pressure in my hand was very uncomfortable as I have been told that my veins are very narrow due to chemo which left my arm with cording which I am pleased to say is now looking much better.