Skip to Content
New To Chronic Myeloid Leukemia? Get Information Today >>

Idarubicin

Generic Name: idarubicin (EYE-da-ROO-bi-sin)
Brand Name: Idamycin PFS

Idarubicin must be given slowly and directly into a vein (intravenously [IV]) along with other IV fluids. If idarubicin accidentally leaks into surrounding tissue, the skin and/or muscle may be severely damaged. Notify the doctor immediately if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid at (or around) where the medicine is going into your body.

Idarubicin may cause severe and possibly life-threatening heart problems (eg, heart failure). These problems may occur during therapy or sometimes months to years after receiving idarubicin. In some cases, heart problems are irreversible. The risk may be increased if you are using certain medicines that may affect heart function (eg, cyclophosphamide, paclitaxel, trastuzumab), or have a history of heart problems, radiation treatment to the chest area, or previous therapy with other anthracyclines (eg, epirubicin). The risk of developing heart problems varies depending on your dose and condition, although it can occur at any dose whether or not you are at risk. You will need to have your heart function checked before, during, and after treatment. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop cough; fast or irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; sudden, unexplained weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Idarubicin may lower the ability of your bone marrow to make blood cells that your body needs. This can lead to severe and sometimes fatal bleeding problems or infections. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat), unusual bruising or bleeding, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you have kidney or liver problems, talk with your doctor. You may need a lower dose.


Idarubicin is used for:

Treating a certain type of cancer (acute myeloid leukemia [AML]). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Idarubicin is a cytotoxic agent. It works by inhibiting activities of the cancer cell necessary for life and growth. This prevents the cancer cell from reproducing and results in death of the cancer cell.

Do NOT use idarubicin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in idarubicin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Setting The Record Straight: Erectile Dysfunction

Before using idarubicin:

Some medical conditions may interact with idarubicin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are of childbearing age, pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are of childbearing age
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a high bilirubin level, a weakened immune system, bone marrow problems (eg, low white blood cell count, anemia, low blood platelet levels) or an infection
  • if you have a history of heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat), or if you have previously received idarubicin or similar medicines (eg, epirubicin, daunorubicin)
  • if you are receiving radiation therapy or plan to receive radiation to the chest
  • if you are taking medicines that may affect heart function (eg, cyclophosphamide, paclitaxel, trastuzumab). Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines may affect heart function.

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with idarubicin. However, no specific interactions with idarubicin are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if idarubicin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use idarubicin:

Use idarubicin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Idarubicin is administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • If you miss a dose of idarubicin, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use idarubicin.

Important safety information:

  • If you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lessen these effects.
  • Idarubicin may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Idarubicin may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Check with your doctor before having vaccinations while you are using idarubicin.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use idarubicin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use idarubicin with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially heart problems.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Idarubicin may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking idarubicin.

Possible side effects of idarubicin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; hair loss; headache; nausea; stomach cramps; stomach pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); mental or mood problems; mouth sores or irritation; redness or irritation of the palms of hands or soles of feet; severe or persistent diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting; symptoms of heart problems (eg, fast or irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; sudden, unexplained weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet); symptoms of bleeding (eg, throwing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; unusual vaginal bleeding; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; any bleeding that is severe or that you cannot stop); symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, painful urination, mouth sore, wound that will not heal); unusual tiredness or weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of idarubicin:

Idarubicin will be handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about idarubicin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Idarubicin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take idarubicin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about idarubicin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to idarubicin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using idarubicin.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015
Database Edition 15.2.1.003
Copyright © 2015 Clinical Drug Information, LLC

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide