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Generic name: valrubicin [ val-ROO-bi-sin ]
Brand name: Valstar
Dosage form: intravesical solution (40 mg/mL)
Drug class: Antibiotics / antineoplastics

Medically reviewed by on Apr 12, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is valrubicin?

Valrubicin is used to treat bladder cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body.

Most people do not have a complete response to valrubicin. You may eventually need surgery to remove your bladder to keep the cancer from becoming metastatic (spreading to other parts of your body).

Valrubicin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medicine guide.

Valrubicin 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.

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

Common side effects of valrubicin 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.


You may not have a complete response to valrubicin, and your bladder may need to be surgically removed to prevent your cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with valrubicin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

It may be harder for you to get a woman pregnant while you are using valrubicin. You should still use birth control to prevent pregnancy because the medicine can harm an unborn baby.

Valrubicin can harm an unborn baby if the mother or the father is using this medicine.

Do not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 2 weeks after your last dose.

How is valrubicin given?

Valrubicin is injected directly into the bladder using a catheter inserted into the urethra (the tube for passing urine out of your bladder). A healthcare provider will give you this medicine, usually once per week for 6 weeks.

Valrubicin is usually given in a solution that amounts to about 2.5 ounces (1/3 cup). This entire amount is injected into the bladder and should be held in for 2 hours. Avoid using the bathroom during this time.

Tell your doctor if you have trouble holding in the medicine for the full 2 hours.

If this medicine accidentally gets on your skin, wash it thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Your will need frequent urine tests, and you may also need a bladder biopsy or a bladder exam using a scope.

Drink plenty of water after each time you receive valrubicin.

You may not have a complete response to valrubicin. After 3 months of treatment without response, your bladder may need to be surgically removed. This can help prevent your cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. Metastatic bladder cancer is usually fatal.

Valrubicin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Urinary Tumor:

Usual Adult Dose: 800 mg administered intravesically once a week for six weeks.

-Delay administration at least two weeks after transurethral resection and/or fulguration.
-Patients should retain the drug for two hours before voiding, if they are able. At the end of two hours, all patients should void.

Use: For intravesical therapy of BCG-refractory carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the urinary bladder in patients for whom immediate cystectomy would be associated with unacceptable morbidity or mortality.

What happens if I miss a dose?

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

What happens if I overdose?

Since valrubicin is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely but may cause worsening bladder symptoms.

What should I avoid while using valrubicin?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What other drugs will affect valrubicin?

Because valrubicin is not absorbed into the bloodstream, it is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

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.