Doxorubicin is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain types of cancer.
Doxorubicin is given intravenously (into the vein) via a drip. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer this medicine to you.
Before the drip is started, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Doxorubicin. These medicines may be given as tablets or as injections.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of 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 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:
- low platelet, red or white blood cell count associated with previous cancer treatments
- heart disease e.g. recent heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure
- severe liver disease
as Doxorubicin may not be suitable for you.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while on Doxorubicin, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods while being treated with Doxorubicin. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- renal disease
- previous chest radiotherapy
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 this medicine.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor may need to do routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, daily inspection of mouth and throat) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor may also need to perform tests to make sure that your liver function, kidney function, and heart function are normal before you use Doxorubicin and thereafter depending on your doctor’s advice.
Doxorubicin may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects may include any of the following: weakness, nausea, vomiting, mouth pain or sores, diarrhoea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, hair loss, discolouration of skin and nails, red coloured urine, absence of menstrual periods and pain, irritation, and swelling at the injection site.
This medicine may also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors and avoid direct or prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes
- chest pain, coughing while lying down, swelling of your feet or ankles, and rapid, pounding or fluttering heartbeats
- severe nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- frequent and persistent sore throat with fever, unusual bleeding or bruising
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 any of these medicines:
- other medicines for cancer e.g. cyclophosphamide, dacarbazine, fluorouracil, mitomycin C, trastuzumab
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin
- medicines for mood disorders e.g. clozapine
- medicines for heart disease e.g. digoxin, verapamil
- medicines for tuberculosis or TB e.g. rifampicin
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. ritonavir
- medicines for fungal infections e.g. amphotericin B
- medicines for organ transplant and certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin
- stomach medicines e.g. cimetidine
- herbal medicines e.g. St. John’s wort
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Doxorubicin.
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.
As the storage temperatures are product specific, please check with your doctor or pharmacist on how it should be stored.
Store Doxorubicin in its original carton to protect from light.
Keep away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.