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Drug Guide    A   Adriamycin PFS

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   Adriamycin PFS

Adriamycin PFS

Doxorubicin is an anthracycline type of chemotherapy that is used alone or with other treatments/medications to treat several different types of cancer. Doxorubicin works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

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OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Adriamycin PFS

Doxorubicin is an anthracycline type of chemotherapy that is used alone or with other treatments/medications to treat several different types of cancer. Doxorubicin works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
  • Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood mineral levels, complete blood counts, heart studies, liver function tests) should be performed regularly to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.
  • Keep all your medical and laboratory appointments.

  • Store the unmixed powder medication in the original carton at room temperature at 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C).
  • Refrigerate the unmixed liquid medication in the original carton at 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C).
  • Protect all forms of this medication from light and freezing.
  • Once the medication is prepared, ask your pharmacist for storage and expiration information.

  • Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, unexplained bleeding.

How To Use
  • This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional.
  • Follow all instructions for proper mixing and dilution with the correct IV fluids.
  • The final solution should be red.
  • Before using, check this medication visually for particles.
  • If particles are present, do not use the liquid.
  • Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol.The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy.If this medication touches your skin, immediately and completely wash the skin with soap and water.
  • If this medication gets in your eye, open the eyelids and flush with plenty of water for 15 minutes.
  • Seek immediate medical attention.Caregivers should take precautions (e.g., wear gloves) to prevent contact with the patient's urine or other body fluid for at least 5 days after treatment.
  • Learn how to store and discard needles, medical supplies and medical waste safely.
  • Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of cool fluids during treatment with this medication.
  • This helps move the drug quickly through your body and helps reduce some of the side effects.

Side Effects
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite may occur.
  • Nausea and vomiting can be severe.
  • In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting.
  • Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting.
  • Changes in diet and lifestyle, such as eating several small meals and limiting activity, may help lessen some of these effects.
  • If any of these effects continue or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist.Doxorubicin may give a reddish color to your urine, tears, and sweat.
  • This effect may start in the first hours after treatment and may last up to several days.
  • This is a normal effect of the drug and should not be mistaken for blood in your urine.Temporary hair loss may occur.
  • Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.Nail changes (including fungal infections in the nail beds) may rarely occur.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: cough/hoarseness, persistent diarrhea, redness/flushing of face, eye redness/itching, unusual tiredness, joint pain, pain in the lower back/side/stomach/abdomen, painful/difficult urination, stopped/missed menstrual periods.Painful sores on the lips, mouth and throat may occur.
  • To decrease the risk, limit hot foods and drinks, brush your teeth carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: black/tarry stools, bloody mucus or discharge in stools, fast/irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling of ankles/feet, decreased urination.Within days to weeks after doxorubicin treatment, a serious skin reaction that looks likes a severe sunburn (radiation recall) may develop on any area of skin that has been previously treated with radiation.
  • Tell your doctor immediately if you develop skin redness, pain, tenderness, swelling, peeling, or blisters.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medication to help your skin heal faster and reduce the swelling.
  • In addition, you should avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths and sunlamps.
  • Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.In children, radiation recall may occur in the lungs.
  • Tell the doctor immediately if you notice wheezing or trouble breathing in the child.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Before taking doxorubicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to lincomycin; or if you have any other allergies.This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.
  • Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a history of receiving your total maximum dose of any anthracycline-type drug (e.g., doxorubicin, idarubicin, daunorubicin, mitoxantrone), a current infection, low blood cell counts, severe mouth sores (stomatitis), severe liver disease, certain heart problems (e.g., recent heart attack, severe heart failure, severe irregular heartbeat).Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: anemia, gout, heart problems, a certain immune system problem (neutropenia), kidney problems, liver problems, radiation treatment (especially to the chest area), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun.
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps.
  • Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lower the risk of bleeding gums.Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially to radiation recall in the lungs, heart problems, or another cancer later on in life.
  • Doxorubicin, in combination with other chemotherapies, may also slow the growth of children before puberty.This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • It may harm an unborn baby.
  • It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while being treated with this medication and for some time afterward.
  • Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control.This medication passes into breast milk.
  • Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Missed Dose
  • For the most benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed.
  • If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.

Drug Interactions
  • Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: calcium channel blockers (e.g., verapamil, nifedipine), cyclosporine, digoxin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, progesterone, streptozocin, zidovudine.Avoid eating foods or products containing turmeric (curcumin) while taking doxorubicin.
  • It may decrease doxorubicin's effects.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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