Doxorubicin is an anti-cancer (“antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic”) chemotherapy drug. Doxorubicin is classified as an “anthracycline antiobiotic.” (For more detail, see “How Doxorubicin Works” section below).
What Doxorubicin Is Used For:
Cancers treated with Doxorubicin include: bladder, breast, head and neck, leukemia (some types), liver, lung, lymphomas, mesothelioma, multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, ovary, pancreas, prostate, sarcomas, stomach, testis (germ cell), thyroid, uterus.
Early Side Effects: (within one week after treatment begins)
Pain along the site where the medication was given
Nausea or vomiting
Later Side Effects: (within two weeks after treatment begins)
Low blood counts. Your white and red blood cells and platelets may temporarily decrease. This can put you at increased risk for infection, anemia and/or bleeding.
Nadir: Meaning low point, nadir is the point in time between chemotherapy cycles in which you experience low blood counts.
Onset: 7 days
Nadir: 10-14 days
Recovery: 21-28 days
Hair loss on the scalp or elsewhere on the body (called alopecia). Most patients do lose some or all of their hair during their treatment. But your hair will grow back after treatment is completed.
The following side effects are less common (occurring in 10-29%) for patients taking Doxorubicin:
Early: (within one week after treatment begins)
Urine may appear red, red-brown, orange or pink from the color of the medication for one to two days after you receive a dose.
Later: (within two weeks after treatment begins)
Darkening of the nail beds.
Darkening of the skin where previous radiation treatment has been given.
Problems with fertility – ability to bear children. (occurs in about 10% of both men and women – this should be discussed with your doctor prior to therapy)