What is doxorubicin?
Doxorubicin (also called Adriamycin®) is an anticancer medicine. Doxorubicin is a red liquid given by vein (IV).
Doxorubicin can pose a health hazard to caregivers. All caregivers should take safety precautions while giving this drug. For 48 hours after this drug is given, the patient’s body fluids can contain the drug. During that 48-hour period, caregivers should follow safety guidelines when handling the patient’s vomit, blood, urine, and bowel movements, including diapers. These guidelines include wearing gloves when cleaning up body fluids. For a complete list of safety precautions, see “Do you know… Protecting caregivers from drug hazards.”
Possible side effects of doxorubicin
- Irritated tissue and skin damage at the IV site
- Loss of appetite
- Red urine
Later (more than a day after treatment starts)
- Mouth sores
- Low blood counts, usually after 10 to 14 days
- Hair loss
- Decreased liver function
- Injury to the heart
- Change in skin color to site of previous radiation therapy
These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.
In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.
Special instructions for doxorubicin
- Doxorubicin can cause nausea and vomiting. The doctor may prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up after you receive doxorubicin.
- Tell the nurse right away if you have pain or redness at the IV site.
- Drink plenty of liquids while you are receiving doxorubicin.
- It may be easier for you to get infections while you are receiving doxorubicin. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections. (See “Do you know… How to prevent infection.”)
- This medicine may make your mouth sore and irritated. The doctor or nurse may give you oral rinses to keep your mouth clean after you receive doxorubicin.
- Blood samples will be taken on a regular basis to check for changes in kidney or liver function and to check blood counts.
- Tests to check your heart function might be done while you receive doxorubicin.
- Some medicines may interact with doxorubicin, including:
- Ketoconazole, and
- Always tell the doctor if you are taking any of these medicines, or if you start taking any new medicines while you are receiving doxorubicin.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).
ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).
تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1 (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).