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Generic name: daunorubicin [ DAW-noe-ROO-bi-sin ]
Brand name: Cerubidine
Dosage forms: intravenous powder for injection (20 mg), intravenous solution (5 mg/mL)
Drug class: Antibiotics / antineoplastics

Medically reviewed by on Aug 31, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin is used in combination chemotherapy to treat leukemia.

Daunorubicin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Daunorubicin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Daunorubicin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of daunorubicin may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Daunorubicin may cause dangerous effects on your heart, and can also increase your risk of bleeding or infection. Call your doctor at once if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling or rapid weight gain, fever, chills, tiredness, easy bruising or unusual bleeding.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use daunorubicin if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Using daunorubicin may increase your risk of developing other types of leukemia. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.

Daunorubicin may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using daunorubicin.

How should I use daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Before you receive each dose of daunorubicin, your heart function may need to be checked with an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). Your kidney and liver function may also need to be checked.

You may be given other medications to help prevent serious side effects or an allergic reaction. Keep using these medicines for as long as your doctor has prescribed.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when daunorubicin is injected.

Skin accidentally exposed to daunorubicin should be rinsed thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Daunorubicin can increase your risk of bleeding or infection. You will need frequent medical tests. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your daunorubicin injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while using daunorubicin?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

What other drugs will affect daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin can harm your liver, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, tuberculosis, birth control, hormone replacement, high cholesterol, heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, pain, or arthritis (including Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve).

Other drugs may affect daunorubicin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.