Doxorubicin hydrochloride

Why is this medication prescribed?

Doxorubicin is used in combination with other medications to treat certain types of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, and ovarian cancer; Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) and non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system); and certain types of leukaemia (white blood cell cancer), including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML (AML, ANLL). Doxorubicin is also used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat specific types of thyroid cancer and soft tissue or bone sarcomas (cancer that forms in muscles and bones). Additionally, it is used to treat neuroblastoma (a cancer that originates in nerve cells and primarily affects children) and Wilms’ tumour (a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children). Doxorubicin belongs to the class of drugs known as anthracyclines. It inhibits or prevents the growth of cancer cells in the body.

How should this medicine be used?

Doxorubicin comes as a solution (liquid) or as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. It is usually given once every 21 to 28 days. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Doxorubicin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sores in the mouth and throat
  • loss of appetite (and weight loss)
  • weight gain
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness
  • hair loss
  • separation of fingernail or toenail from the nail bed
  • itchy, red, watery, or irritated eyes
  • eye pain
  • pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • red discoloration of urine (for 1 to 2 days after dose)
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
  • hives
  • skin rash
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • seizures

Doxorubicin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

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  • March 10th, 2023

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