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Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Solution for injection

What is this medicine?

DOXORUBICIN (dox oh ROO bi sin) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat many kinds of cancer like Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, neuroblastoma, sarcoma, and Wilms' tumor. It is also used to treat bladder cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, and thyroid cancer.

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional. If you have pain, swelling, burning or any unusual feeling around the site of your injection, tell your health care professional right away.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.

  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine

  • signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness

  • breathing problems

  • chest pain

  • fast, irregular heartbeat

  • mouth sores

  • nausea, vomiting

  • pain, swelling, redness at site where injected

  • pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet

  • swelling of ankles, feet, or hands

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea

  • facial flushing

  • hair loss

  • loss of appetite

  • missed menstrual periods

  • nail discoloration or damage

  • red or watery eyes

  • red colored urine

  • stomach upset

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • cisapride

  • droperidol

  • halofantrine

  • pimozide

  • zidovudine

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • chloroquine

  • chlorpromazine

  • clarithromycin

  • cyclophosphamide

  • cyclosporine

  • erythromycin

  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances

  • medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bepridil, dofetilide, encainide, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine

  • medicines for seizures like ethotoin, fosphenytoin, phenytoin

  • medicines for nausea, vomiting like dolasetron, ondansetron, palonosetron

  • medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim

  • methadone

  • methotrexate

  • pentamidine

  • progesterone

  • vaccines

  • verapamil

Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen

  • aspirin

  • ibuprofen

  • ketoprofen

  • naproxen

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • blood disorders

  • heart disease, recent heart attack

  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)

  • irregular heartbeat

  • liver disease

  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to doxorubicin, other chemotherapy agents, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You will need important blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Your urine may turn red for a few days after your dose. This is not blood. If your urine is dark or brown, call your doctor.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Men and women of childbearing age should use effective birth control methods while using taking this medicine. Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Do not let others touch your urine or other body fluids for 5 days after each treatment with this medicine. Caregivers should wear latex gloves to avoid touching body fluids during this time.

There is a maximum amount of this medicine you should receive throughout your life. The amount depends on the medical condition being treated and your overall health. Your doctor will watch how much of this medicine you receive in your lifetime. Tell your doctor if you have taken this medicine before.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 4/15/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.