Generic Name: Doxorubicin (Conventional) (doks oh ROO bi sin con VEN sha nal)
Brand Name: Adriamycin
- This medicine may cause very bad heart problems like heart failure. This can happen during care or months to years after you get doxorubicin (conventional). Sometimes, these heart problems will not go away or may be deadly. The chance of heart problems may be raised if you are using other drugs that may cause heart problems or if you have ever had heart problems or radiation to the chest area, or if you have ever had this medicine or other drugs like this one. Ask your doctor if you are not sure if any drugs you take may cause heart problems. Your chance of heart problems depends on your dose of doxorubicin and your health problem. Heart problems may happen even if you do not have any risk factors. In children, the chance of heart problems later in life is raised. Call your doctor right away if you have cough, fast or slow heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, swelling in the arms or legs, shortness of breath, sudden weight gain, or feeling very tired or weak.
- This medicine may lower the ability of your bone marrow to make blood cells that your body needs. This can lead to needing a blood transfusion and very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems or infections. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any bruising or bleeding; or if you feel very tired or weak.
- If you have liver disease you may need a lower dose. Talk with your doctor.
- The risk of a very bad bone marrow problem and second cancer (type of leukemia) may be raised after treatment with this medicine. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause tissue damage if the drug leaks from the vein. Tell your nurse if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid where the drug is going into your body.
Uses of Doxorubicin:
- It is used to treat cancer.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Doxorubicin?
- If you have an allergy to doxorubicin or any other part of doxorubicin.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have any of these health problems: Anemia, heart problems, liver disease, a low platelet count, or a low white blood cell count.
- If you have had a recent heart attack.
- If you have had daunorubicin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, idarubicin, or mitoxantrone before, talk with your doctor.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Phenobarbital, phenytoin, St. John's wort, or verapamil.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take doxorubicin with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Doxorubicin?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- To help with mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush or cotton swabs and rinse the mouth. Do not use mouth rinses that have alcohol in them.
- Use care to keep body fluids from coming in contact with family members or caregivers. Wash soiled clothing right away and use gloves when touching body fluids for at least 5 days after each treatment.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with doxorubicin may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- You will need to have heart function tests while taking this medicine. Talk with the doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- If you have had or will be having radiation treatment, talk with your doctor. Worse side effects from radiation treatment have happened with doxorubicin.
- Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may affect sperm in men. This may affect being able to father a child. Talk with the doctor.
- If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during care and for 6 months after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust.
- This medicine may cause menstrual periods to stop in females who can get pregnant. This may affect being able to have children. It is not known if this will go back to normal. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine, call your doctor right away.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking doxorubicin and for 6 months after stopping this medicine.
- If you or your sex partner gets pregnant while taking doxorubicin (conventional) or within 6 months after stopping this medicine, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Doxorubicin) best taken?
Use doxorubicin as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Chest pain.
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
- Patients with cancer who take this medicine may be at a greater risk of getting a bad health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat or a heartbeat that does not feel normal; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools, or not able to eat; or feel sluggish.
What are some other side effects of Doxorubicin?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Hair loss.
- Change in nails.
- Not hungry.
- More thirst.
- Weight gain or loss.
- Belly pain.
- Urine and other body fluids may change to an orange or red color. This is normal.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Doxorubicin?
- If you need to store doxorubicin at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take doxorubicin or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 doxorubicin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
Review Date: September 6, 2017
More about doxorubicin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
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- Drug class: antibiotics/antineoplastics
Other brands: Adriamycin