Adriamycin (doxorubicin) is an anti-cancer (“antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic”) chemotherapy prescription drug manufactured by Pfizer. This medication is classified as an “anthracycline antiobiotic. Cancers treated with adriamycin 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.
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How Adriamycin is given:
Adriamycin is given through a vein by intravenous injection (IV). The syringe needle is placed directly into the vein or central line and the drug is given over several minutes. Adriamycin can also be given by continuous infusion. Rarely, adriamycin is given by injection into an artery. There is no pill form of adriamycin.
Adriamycin is a vesicant. A vesicant is a chemical that causes extensive tissue damage and blistering if it escapes from the vein. The nurse or doctor who gives adriamycin must be carefully trained. If you notice redness or swelling at the IV site while you are receiving adriamycin, alert your health care professional immediately.
The amount of adriamycin you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer you have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.
Side effects of Adriamycin:
Early: (within one week after treatment begins)
Pain along the site where the medication was given
Nausea or vomiting
Later: (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.