Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Risks and side effects of biotherapy include:

  • Swelling

  • Redness or infection at the injection site

  • Rashes

  • Allergic reactions

  • Flulike symptoms, such as:

    • Fever

    • Muscle aches

    • Chills

    • Fatigue

  • Digestive problems

  • Changes in blood pressure

  • Heart inflammation

  • Kidney failure

  • Low levels of white (infection-fighting) blood cells

  • Thinning hair

  • Infection, including TB, especially in people with prior exposure

Interferons may be associated with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Trastuzumab (Herceptin) can cause the heart to pump less vigorously leading to heart failure. Usually heart function will improve when the drug is stopped.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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