Idarubicin is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat leukemia (a type of cancer where the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells).
Idarubicin is to be given intravenously (into the vein) via a free-flowing infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on your condition.
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 Idarubicin.
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.
Do not use Idarubicin if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to similar medicines such as Doxorubicin or Mitoxantrone.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe liver disease
- severe kidney disease
- bone marrow depression (a condition in which the blood cells are low)
- previously received a full course of treatment with the maximum dose of Idarubicin or any other similar medicine
as Idarubicin may not be suitable for you.
Idarubicin should not be used if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Idarubicin may cause harm to your unborn child. It is important that you do not get pregnant while you are on treatment with this medicine. You must use proven birth control methods. Men should use an effective contraception for at least 3 months after stopping the treatment.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- mild to moderate kidney disease
- liver disease
- heart disease
- stomach problems
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Idarubicin.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count, electrolyte) while you are being treated with Idarubicin.
- Regular monitoring of heart, liver and kidney function may also be needed. Your doctor will advise you on how often you will need to have these tests.
Idarubicin may cause any of the following side effects: infections, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain or discomfort, mouth sore, and hair loss.
This medicine may cause your urine to change to a darker colour. This is normal while you are being treated with this medicine; do not be alarmed.
Idarubicin 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).
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat, difficulty in breathing
- chest pain, abnormal heartbeat
- pass out blood or black, tarry stools or vomit coffee-ground-like vomitus
- pain, redness, burning sensation, and irritation at the injection site
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 and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease
- vaccines e.g. flu vaccine
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.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.
Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, return any unused or expired medicine to your pharmacist, clinic or hospital for disposal.