Generic Name: daunorubicin (daw-noe-ROO-bi-sin)
Must be given into a rapidly flowing IV infusion and must never be given by the IM or subQ route, as severe local tissue necrosis will occur if there is extravasation during administration. Myocardial toxicity manifested in its most severe form by potentially fatal congestive heart failure may occur either during therapy or months to years after termination of therapy. The incidence of myocardial toxicity increases after a total cumulative dose exceeding 400 to 550 mg/m(2) in adults, 300 mg/m(2) in children more than 2 years of age, or 10 mg/kg in children less than 2 years of age. Severe myelosuppression occurs when used in therapeutic doses; this may lead to infection or hemorrhage. Dosage should be reduced in patients with impaired hepatic or renal function .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on July 31, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Chemical Class: Anthracycline
Uses for daunorubicin
Daunorubicin belongs to the general group of medicines known as antineoplastics. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer.
Daunorubicin seems to interfere with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by daunorubicin, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects, like hair loss, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used.
Before you begin treatment with daunorubicin, you and your doctor should talk about the good daunorubicin will do as well as the risks of using it.
Daunorubicin is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Before using daunorubicin
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For daunorubicin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to daunorubicin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Although daunorubicin is used in children, there is no specific information comparing use in children with use in other age groups.
Heart problems are more likely to occur in the elderly, who are usually more sensitive to the effects of daunorubicin. The elderly may also be more likely to have blood problems.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking daunorubicin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using daunorubicin with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
- Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
- Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Varicella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Zoster Vaccine, Live
Using daunorubicin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Adenovirus Vaccine
- Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine, Live
- Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
- Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
- Smallpox Vaccine
- Typhoid Vaccine
- Yellow Fever Vaccine
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of daunorubicin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
- Herpes zoster (shingles)—Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body
- Gout (history of) or
- Kidney stones—Daunorubicin may increase uric acid in the body, which can cause gout or kidney stones
- Heart disease—Risk of heart problems caused by daunorubicin may be increased
- Infection—Daunorubicin can decrease your body's ability to fight infection
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Effects of daunorubicin may be increased because of slower removal from the body
Proper use of daunorubicin
Daunorubicin is sometimes given together with certain other medicines. If you are using a combination of medicines, it is important that you receive each one at the proper time. If you are taking some of these medicines by mouth, ask your health care professional to help you plan a way to take them at the right times.
While you are receiving daunorubicin, your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids so that you will pass more urine. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well.
Daunorubicin often causes nausea and vomiting. However, it is very important that you continue to receive it, even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects.
The dose of daunorubicin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of daunorubicin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Precautions while using daunorubicin
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that daunorubicin is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
While you are being treated with daunorubicin, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval. Daunorubicin may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not take oral polio vaccine since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have taken oral polio vaccine. Do not get close to them, and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
Daunorubicin can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
If daunorubicin accidentally seeps out of the vein into which it is injected, it may damage some tissues and cause scarring. Tell the doctor or nurse right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at the place of injection.
Daunorubicin side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Cough or hoarseness
- fever or chills
- irregular heartbeat
- lower back or side pain
- pain at place of injection
- painful or difficult urination
- shortness of breath
- swelling of feet and lower legs
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in urine or stools
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Sores in mouth and on lips
- Joint pain
- Skin rash or itching
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Nausea and vomiting
Less common or rare
- Darkening or redness of skin
Daunorubicin causes the urine to turn reddish in color, which may stain clothes. This is not blood. It is perfectly normal and lasts for only 1 or 2 days after each dose is given.
Daunorubicin often causes a temporary and total loss of hair. After treatment with daunorubicin has ended, normal hair growth should return.
After you stop using daunorubicin, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:
- Irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- swelling of feet and lower legs
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
More about daunorubicin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
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- Drug class: antibiotics/antineoplastics
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