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Can Tykerb damage my heart?

Taking Tykerb (lapatinib), a drug that treats certain kinds of breast cancer, can damage your heart, although such damage is rare. Tykerb is prescribed along with other medicine to treat HER2-positive breast cancer in people who have received other treatments for the disease in the past. (HER2 stands for human epidermal receptor type 2, a kind of receptor found on breast cells.) Some people on Tykerb develop an abnormal heartbeat; the heart can also stop pumping as strongly. In studies, only a small percentage of people who took Tykerb experienced these symptoms, and the problems went away when Tykerb treatment stopped.

Before you take Tykerb, be sure to tell your doctor if you have experienced problems with your heart in the past. Your doctor will probably monitor your heart function closely before and during your treatment with Tykerb. If your doctor detects any problems, he or she may tell you to stop taking Tykerb.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms that might signal a heart problem, including:
  • feeling like your heart is pounding or racing
  • dizziness
  • light-headedness
  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.