Epirubicin is used on its own or together with other medicine to treat cancer of the breast, stomach, ovary, lungs, and bladder.
Epirubicin is to be given intravenously (into the vein) or via a drip. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
You will need to rest in the hospital ward or clinic while you are receiving this medicine. Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of Epirubicin 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 Epirubicin.
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:
- severe liver disease
- previous or existing heart disease
- bone marrow depression (a condition in which the blood cells are low) associated with previous cancer treatments
- unstable angina (chest pain/severe chest pain which occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen)
- previous treatment with Epirubicin and other similar medicines such as Doxorubicin or Mitoxantrone (in high doses)
as Epirubicin may not be suitable for you.
Do not use Epirubicin if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while on this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Epirubicin may cause harm to your unborn child. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods while being treated with this medicine. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor. Avoid pregnancy or fathering a child for at least six (6) months after you stop taking this medicine.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Epirubicin.
DO NOT take Epirubicin with cimetidine, a medicine used to neutralise stomach acid.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- previous chest radiotherapy
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. The vaccine may not work well or may cause an infection when used together with Epirubicin. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
Do not participate in activities in which you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (e.g. too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Avoid strenuous exercise and activities like going to the sauna. Drink more water to prevent dehydration.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor may need to do routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor may also need to perform tests to make sure that your liver function and heart function are normal before you use Epirubicin and thereafter depending on your doctor’s advice.
Epirubicin may cause any of the following side effects: loss of appetite, hot flashes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, ulcers in the mouth, hair loss, rash and pain, redness, and itching at the injection site.
This medicine may cause women's menses to stop during Epirubicin use and menses may not return after stopping treatment. Epirubicin may damage sperms in men. Discuss with your doctor if you are concerned about these side effects.
This medicine may cause red discolouration of your urine for up to 2 days after your treatment. Do not be alarmed.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- swelling of the face, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat with difficulty in breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- 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.
Do not take Epirubicin with cimetidine, a medicine used to neutralise stomach acid.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for cancer e.g. paclitaxel, docetaxel, trastuzumab, mitomycin C, cyclophosphamide, fluorouracil, cisplatin
- medicine to treat TB (lung infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease e.g. verapamil, nifedipine
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin
- other medicines that may affect your bone marrow e.g. chloramphenicol, sulfonamides
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Epirubicin.
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 Epirubicin in its original carton to protect from light.
Keep away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.