Doxorubicin (liposomal) is a special formulation of Doxorubicin in which it is enclosed in a fatty coating. This helps to deliver more medicine to cancer tissue rather than to healthy tissue.
This medicine is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain cancers of the blood, breasts, and ovaries.
Doxorubicin (liposomal) may also be used to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma (a type of cancer that forms in the lining of the lymph and blood vessels) in individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Doxorubicin (liposomal) 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 this medicine for you.
Before the drip is started, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Doxorubicin (liposomal).
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 (liposomal).
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.
Doxorubicin (liposomal) is not intended for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma in individuals with AIDS that may be treated with local therapy or certain systemic therapy.
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
- have received other similar medicines for cancer
- liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Doxorubicin (liposomal). 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.
Doxorubicin (liposomal) is not recommended for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma in individuals with AIDS who had undergone surgery to remove the spleen.
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 and liver function, electrolytes) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring of the infusion site for infusion-related reactions, and signs and symptoms of other serious side effects 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: headache, dizziness, nose bleed, nausea, vomiting, mouth pain or sores, diarrhoea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, difficulty sleeping, hair loss, and discolouration of skin and nails.
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 or other body fluids may look slightly red in colour. 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:
- chest pain, new or worsening cough, swelling in the ankles or feet, irregular or abnormal heartbeat
- burning, redness, swelling, small blisters or sores on the palms of the hand or soles of the feet
- chills, chest tightness, back pain, sweating, redness of the skin, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat
Doxorubicin (liposomal) 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 using other medicines for cancer e.g. cyclophosphamide and mercaptopurine.
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, Doxorubicin (liposomal) will become ineffective and should not be used.
Keep away from the reach of children.
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.