Doxorubicin is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain cancers of the blood, breasts, lungs, and ovaries.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Doxorubicin injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein) as an infusion (drip). It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
Before the drip is started, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Doxorubicin.
The dose and schedule of administration of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Doxorubicin.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- persistent and severely low blood cell counts
- severe heart problems e.g. recent heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm
- any infection in the body
- severe liver disease
- previously treated with high doses of this medicine or other similar medicines for cancer e.g. daunorubicin, idarubicin, epirubicin
as Doxorubicin may not be suitable for you.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- with or a history of heart disease
- previous or currently receiving radiation therapy in the chest area
- liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Doxorubicin. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods during therapy and for 6 months after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine to a child, elderly or obese individual. Children, elderly and obese people may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before initiation of treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to use.
- Routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, heart, liver and kidney function, electrolytes and uric acid level) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring of the infusion site may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Doxorubicin may cause any of the following side effects: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mouth pain or sores, diarrhoea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, hair loss, discolouration of skin and nails, and eye redness.
This medicine may cause irregular or absence of menstrual periods and infertility in women. It may also reduce the sperm count in men. Discuss with your doctor if you are concerned about these side effects.
Your urine may look slightly red in colour for 1 to 2 days after your drip of Doxorubicin. This is normal while you are being treated with this medicine.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- chest pain, new or worsening cough, swelling in the ankles or feet, irregular or abnormal heartbeat
- severe loss of strength or energy
- severe redness, pain, swelling or irritation at the injection site
Doxorubicin will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- other medicines for cancer e.g. cyclophosphamide, paclitaxel, trastuzumab, mercaptopurine
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin
- verapamil (medicine for irregular heartbeat)
- ciclosporin (medicine for organ transplant and certain immune disorders)
- St. John’s wort (herbal medicine)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Doxorubicin.
Avoid vaccinations during treatment with this medicine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Available products of Doxorubicin may vary with its storage requirements. Refer to the full product insert for further information.
Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired medicine to the clinic, hospital, or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.