Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 30, 2023.
- This medicine may cause severe heart problems like heart failure. This can happen during treatment or years after your last dose. Sometimes, these problems will not go away or may be deadly. The chance may be higher if you have ever had heart problems or chest area radiation, or are using other drugs that may cause heart problems. The chance may be higher if you have ever had doxorubicin (conventional) or other drugs like this one. Ask your doctor if you are not sure if any of your drugs may cause heart problems. The chance of heart problems depends on the dose of this drug and your health problem. In children, the chance of heart problems later in life is higher. Heart problems may happen even without any risk factors. Call your doctor right away if you have cough, fast or slow heartbeat, abnormal heartbeat, swelling in the arms or legs, shortness of breath, sudden weight gain, or feel very tired or weak.
- You will need to have heart function tests while taking doxorubicin (conventional). Talk with the doctor.
- 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.
- The risk of a very bad bone marrow problem and second cancer (type of leukemia) may be raised after treatment with doxorubicin (conventional). 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 (conventional).
- If you are allergic to doxorubicin (conventional); any part of doxorubicin (conventional); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- 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, trastuzumab, or verapamil.
- If you are taking dexrazoxane.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with doxorubicin (conventional).
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 (conventional) 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 doxorubicin (conventional). 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, diarrhea, or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- 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 of some vaccines with doxorubicin (conventional) may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- If side effects like upset stomach or throwing up, diarrhea, or mouth sores keep you from eating or drinking like normal, call your doctor right away.
- If you have had or will be having radiation treatment, talk with your doctor. Worse side effects from radiation treatment have happened with doxorubicin (conventional).
- Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may affect fertility. Fertility problems may lead to not being able to get pregnant or father a child. In both men and women, this may go back to normal but sometimes it may not. Talk with your doctor.
- Periods may stop in women treated with doxorubicin (conventional). This may not go back to normal. Women treated with doxorubicin (conventional) may go through menopause at a younger age than normal. Talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Women must use birth control while taking doxorubicin (conventional) and for some time after the last dose. Ask your doctor how long to use birth control. If you get pregnant, call your doctor right away.
- Men with a partner who may get pregnant must use birth control while taking doxorubicin (conventional) and for some time after the last dose. Ask your doctor how long to use birth control. If your partner gets pregnant, call the doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Doxorubicin) best taken?
Use doxorubicin (conventional) 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.
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, swallowing, 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 or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Patients with cancer who take doxorubicin (conventional) may be at a greater risk of getting a severe health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS).This may lead to death. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast or abnormal heartbeat; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, 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:
- Hair loss.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Change in nails.
- Color of urine is orange or red for 1 to 2 days after getting doxorubicin (conventional).
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 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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 (conventional) 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 all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about doxorubicin (conventional), 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.
Frequently asked questions
- What is the chemo drug called the Red Devil?
- What is the strongest chemotherapy drug for breast cancer?
- How is Lartruvo administered?
- What is the lifetime or cumulative dose for Adriamycin?
- How does AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan [cyclophosphamide]) work for Breast Cancer?
- What are the long-term side effects of Adriamycin?
- Does Adriamycin cause heart failure?
More about doxorubicin
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- Reviews (9)
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: antibiotics/antineoplastics
- En español
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.