Adriamycin (Doxorubicin, Rubex ®, Doxil®)
Warning: Adriamycin must be administered
by a medical professional. This medication must be injected into
a vein at the proper depth in order to avoid damage to skin and tissue around the injection site. There are several
interactions, contraindications, and usage instructions that must be followed when using this medication, so it’s
important that you work closely with your doctor at every step of your treatment process.
Indications: Adriamycin is used in the treatment of
various types of cancer and is considered to be one of the most common types of chemotherapy drugs used. This
medication can be used to help prevent the spread of cancerous cells and to prevent the growth of active cancer
cells in the body, and it has been shown to be effective in combination with other drugs in the treatment of
many types of cancer.
is used to treat include:
esophageal cancer (Cancer of the
retinoblastoma (a common intraocular
cancer of childhood)
hepatoblastoma (a certain type of liver
cancer that occurs in children)
cancer of the thymus (a small organ in
your upper chest, under your breastbone)
cancer of the adrenal cortex (the outside
layer of the adrenal gland)
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (a type of
cancer of the blood and lymph system)
Ewing’s sarcoma (a type of cancer occurs
in the bone or close to the bone, most often in adolescents)
Autoimmune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS)–associated Kaposi's sarcoma (a type of cancer of the skin and mucous membranes
that is more common in patients with AIDS)
Because Adriamycin is part of a
chemotherapy treatment program, the dosage and administration must be given to meet the individual needs of
each patient. Depending on the type of cancer being treated, the age of the patient, the patient’s medical
history, and the overall effects of the medication once started, your medical professional will monitor your
health closely to see if adjustments need to be made to avoid side effects and help the medication work as
effectively as possible.
medication is administered via IV by a medical professional. Unlike many other kinds of IV medication, this
medication must be injected in specific parts of the body at specific depths in order to avoid skin and tissue
have any questions about your treatment process, please consult with your doctor to find out how your unique
plan will be administered.
There are several prescriptions and over the counter medications that may interact negatively with Adriamycin.
It is important that you make your doctor aware of any and all medications you are currently taking and list
those you have taken previously so that your doctor can check for all possible interactions during your
treatment. In most cases, your doctor can help you find a way to benefit from chemotherapy while taking the
other medications you are used to.
Contraindications: There are several contraindications for this
medication that your doctor will want to check for before starting your treatment. Many of the contraindications
associated with chemotherapy treatment using this medication can be easily dealt with by finding good
alternatives. Age, type of cancer, previous medical use, and overall health are the main areas where
contraindication may present an issue during your treatment, so make sure that your doctor has a full list of
your medication use and make sure to follow up with all medical appointments, check-ups, and tests.
Adriamycin also attacks non cancereous cells which often leads to the development of adverse effects in most
patients. Most common Adriamycin side effects include:
fatigue; nausea and vomitting; mouth sores; hair loss; abdominal pain; difficulty swallowing;
nail discoloration; skin
discoloration and irritation; swelling, pain, redness, or peeling of skin on the palms and
soles of the feet; and low blood
counts: low red blood cell count, low white blood
cell count, low blood platelet count.
reported that drug triggers secondary leukemias and severe heart problems. When
Adriamycin damages the heart muscle patients may feel chest pain and
tightness, abnormal heart
rhythm and or Sudden reddening of
the face, neck, or upper chest.
If you experience these symptoms, see
your doctor immediately. Cardiac and haematological (blood and blood-producing organs) monitoring is necessary
during the treatment. In some cases, your doctor can conduct a complete blood count and electrocardiogram before
each injection. Surveillance should be increased in cases of liver problem and radiotherapy.
majority of women,
cause temporary absence of menstruation (amenorrhea). For women approaching menopause,
cause complete absence of menstruation. The drug may also lead to discoloration of urine and formation of blood
clot within a vein (venous thrombosis).