Perjeta®

(pertuzumab)

Pronounced Pur-jet-a

Perjeta, also known as pertuzumab, is a targeted therapy for the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.

Perjeta is used in combination with Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy.  Perjeta for the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer is not funded. This means you will need to pay for it privately.

When used for the treatment of advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, Perjeta is fully funded by PHARMAC for those who meet pre-defined criteria.   

Clinical trials have shown that Perjeta is effective in treating early HER2-positive breast cancer and advanced HER2-positive breast cancer
Ask your doctor if  Perjeta is right for you.

Perjeta for early HER2-positive breast cancer

Perjeta in combination with Herceptin (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy may be given before surgery (neoadjuvant treatment) and/or after surgery (adjuvant treatment).

Neoadjuvant therapy

Your doctor may choose neoadjuvant treatment to shrink the size of your tumour before surgery.  Neoadjuvant treatment may also help reduce or eliminate cancer cells before surgery and helps the doctor know if certain therapies are likely to work after surgery

To learn more about Perjeta as neoadjuvant therapy, download the Perjeta neoadjuvant patient booklet by clicking here.

Adjuvant (after surgery) therapy

HER2-positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer. Despite having surgery to remove the cancer, it may recur, or come back. Your doctor will look at a variety of factors, such as lymph node status, hormone receptor status, tumour size and grade, and others, to determine if the cancer you have has a high likelihood of coming back.  An explanation of these terms are available to cdownload in the What does my pathology report mean? patient booklet by clicking here. 

Your doctor may prescribe Perjeta after surgery if your breast cancer has a high likelihood of coming back.  The goal of adjuvant treatment is to kill cancer cells that may be left in your breast or in the rest of your body after surgery.  Perjeta and Herceptin-based therapy after surgery has been shown to lower the risk of early HER2-positive early breast cancer coming back in certain patients.

Perjeta helps most people with HER2-positive breast cancer but it may have some unwanted side effects.  Sometimes these are serious, most of the time they are not.  For more information on what to expect during treatment with Perjeta, see page 5 of the Perjeta Consumer Medicine Information by clicking here. 

Perjeta for the treatment of early HER2-positive breast cancer is not funded by PHARMAC which means you will need to pay privately for your treatment.

Ask your doctor if Perjeta is right for you


Perjeta for advanced HER2-positive breast cancer  

In advanced HER2-positive breast cancer, Perjeta in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy is fully funded for those who meet pre-defined criteria. 

The following resources contain useful information on Perjeta such as what it is for, how it works, things to consider before starting treatment and what to expect during treatment including side effects. 

How to access Perjeta

Perjeta for advanced HER2-positive breast cancer is fully funded for those who meet pre-defined criteria. 

Perjeta for early HER2-positive breast cancer is not currently funded by PHARMAC.  This means you will need to pay for it privately.

If you have health insurance, carefully check what’s covered — every health insurance provider has different rules and benefits that cover cancer treatment, surgery, tests and appointments. Roche also offer support through a Cost Share Programme.  

The Perjeta Cost Share Programme
• offers assistance with the cost of your medicine. A number of doses (or cycles) of the medicine are provided at no charge (the cost of the medicine only).  The total amount you will pay for Perjeta is capped.
• once a patient has reached the cap, Roche will provide ongoing Perjeta at no cost. However, other costs such as doctor fees and administration costs will still apply.
• for more information on the Perjeta Cost Share Programme, talk to your doctor.

Ready to take the next step

Making decisions about treatment options involves working through the advantages and disadvantages, so you can decide what may work best for you and your loved ones. 

Because every situation is different, it’s important to speak to your doctor to find out if Perjeta is right for you.

Talking to your doctor about Perjeta

To help you in this process, we’ve put together a discussion guide to help you begin a conversation with your doctor. Print it off, take it along to your next appointment, and take notes in the spaces provided.

For further information about private treatment providers click here.

You can also talk to your current doctor about referral to a private doctor or treatment centre.

To learn more about how medicines become available in New Zealand, click here.

Handy resources

The following resources contain useful information on Perjeta such as what it is for, how it works, things to consider before starting treatment and what to expect during treatment including side effects. 

Perjeta® (pertuzumab), 420mg vial, is a Prescription Medicine used to treat breast cancer before surgery (neoadjuvant), after surgery (adjuvant) or metastatic (spreading) breast cancer. It is only used for patients whose tumour has tested positive to HER2.

Tell your doctor if: you have a history of heart problems such as heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias (an abnormal or rapid heartbeat), poorly controlled high blood pressure, or a recent heart attack; you have previously received chemotherapy treatment with medicines known as anthracyclines; you have experienced heart problems during previous treatment with Herceptin (trastuzumab); you have inflammation of the digestive tract, e.g. sore mouth or diarrhoea; you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant or breast-feed.

Tell your doctor immediately or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Centre if you notice any of the following: swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat with difficulty breathing; swelling of other parts of your body such as your hands or feet; shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing; severe chest pain, spreading out to the arms, neck, shoulder or back; abnormal or irregular heartbeat; rash, itching or hives on the skin; fever or chills or severe coughing. Possible common side effects may also include: diarrhoea (loose or frequent stools) or constipation; indigestion or stomach pain; sore mouth, throat or gut; getting tired more easily after light physical activity; shortness of breath especially when lying down or being woken from your sleep with shortness of breath; nail problems; hair loss; feeling dizzy, tired, looking pale; hot flushes; frequent infections with fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers; nose bleeds; eye problems such as producing more tears; insomnia (trouble sleeping); weak, numb, tingling, prickling or painful sensations mainly affecting the feet and legs; loss of appetite; loss of or altered taste; joint or muscle pain or muscle weakness.

Perjeta has risks and benefits. Ask your oncologist if Perjeta is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. For further information on Perjeta, please talk to your health professional or visit www.medsafe.govt.nz for Perjeta Consumer Medicine Information.

Perjeta is a funded medicine for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who meet pre-defined criteria.

Perjeta is not a PHARMAC funded medicine for the neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer.

A prescription charge and normal Doctor’s fees may apply.

Consumer panel dated 16.04.2019