Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
This medication must be given slowly into a vein only. It is very important not to inject this medication into a muscle or beneath the skin. If this medication accidentally leaks into surrounding tissue, the skin/muscle may be severely damaged. Notify your doctor right away if redness, blistering, sores, pain, or swelling occur at or near the injection site.
Doxorubicin may cause heart problems, including possibly fatal heart failure. Heart problems may occur during doxorubicin therapy or months to years after receiving this medication. Your risk of developing heart problems depends on your dose, medical history (including previous heart disease, radiation therapy in the chest area), and previous use of this and other drugs (including daunorubicin and cyclophosphamide). Children are at higher risk and should be monitored later in life for delayed heart problems. See also Side Effects section.
Very rarely, people with cancer who are treated with this type of medication have developed other cancers (e.g., secondary leukemia). The risk is greater if you are over age 50 or have received certain types of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Consult your doctor for more details.
This medication may cause certain severe (rarely fatal) blood disorders (bone marrow suppression leading to low red blood cells/white blood cells /platelets). This can lower your body's ability to fight infection and stop bleeding. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat), unusual tiredness, or easy bleeding/bruising.
Your doctor will closely monitor you while you are being treated with this medication.
Different types of this medication work in different ways. Do not switch types of this medication without your doctor's permission.
Before using doxorubicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to lincomycin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a current infection, low blood cell counts (e.g., anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia), gout, heart problems (e.g., recent heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat), a history of receiving any anthracycline-type drug (e.g., doxorubicin, idarubicin, daunorubicin, mitoxantrone), kidney problems, liver disease, severe mouth sores (stomatitis), radiation treatment (especially to the chest area).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lower the risk of bleeding gums.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially to radiation recall in the lungs, heart problems, or another cancer later on in life. Doxorubicin, in combination with other chemotherapies, may also slow the growth of children before puberty.
This medication may lower sperm count or may cause abnormal sperm to form, possibly causing infertility or birth defects. Consult your doctor for more details.
This medication can affect menstruation in females and cause premature menopause. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. It is recommended that men and women use effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while being treated with this medication and for 6 months after stopping the medication. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control.
This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet and lifestyle, such as eating several small meals and limiting activity, may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects continue or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist.
Doxorubicin may give a reddish color to your urine, tears, and sweat. This effect may start in the first hours after treatment and may last up to several days. This is a normal effect of the drug and should not be mistaken for blood in your urine.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Nail changes (including fungal infections in the nail beds) may rarely occur.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: cough/hoarseness, persistent diarrhea, redness/flushing of face, eye redness/itching, unusual tiredness, joint pain, pain in the lower back/side/stomach/abdomen, painful/difficult urination, stopped/missed menstrual periods, black/tarry stools, bloody mucus or discharge in stools, fast/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling of ankles/feet, decreased urination.
Painful sores on the lips, mouth and throat may occur. To decrease the risk, limit hot foods and drinks, brush your teeth carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain.
Within days to weeks after doxorubicin treatment, a serious skin reaction that looks likes a severe sunburn (radiation recall) may develop on any area of skin that has been previously treated with radiation. Tell your doctor right away if you develop skin redness, pain, tenderness, swelling, peeling, or blisters. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help your skin heal faster and reduce the swelling. In addition, you should avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
In children, radiation recall may occur in the lungs. Tell the doctor right away if you notice wheezing or trouble breathing in the child.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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Information expires December 2017.