Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Doxorubicin

Doxorubicin

Last updated on 14/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Doxorubicin

ALTERNATIVE NAME: Hydroxyldaunorubicin

CHINESE NAME: 阿黴素

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Caelyx 楷萊

DRUG CLASS: Antineoplastics

SUB CLASS: Anthracyclines

USED FOR: Cytotoxic chemotherapy, treatment of lung cancer, treatment of leukaemia, treatment of breast cancer, Treatment of ovarian cancer, treatment of bladder cancer, treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, treatment of soft tissue sarcoma

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 20 mg/10mL, 50 mg/25mL (injections)

What is Doxorubicin for?

Doxorubicin belongs to a class of medications called antineoplastics. It stops cells from replicating and dividing by interfering with their nucleic acid function. It kills cells and inhibits the growth of malignant tumours, and is therefore used to treat various types of cancers, such as cancers of the blood, breast and ovaries.

 

Doxorubicin (liposomal) is a special formulation of Doxorubicin in which the drug is coated with a fatty layer. This allows more medicine to be delivered to tumor tissues rather than healthy tissue and reduces side effects. Doxorubicin (liposomal) may also be used to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma (a cancer of the lymph and blood vessel linings) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

How to use it?

Doxorubicin is injected into a vein via a drip as directed by your doctor. Before you start using Doxorubicin, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Doxorubicin. The dosage of Doxorubicin is calculated by your doctor based on your total body surface area. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage and frequency depending on your condition.

What are the side effects of Doxorubicin?

Common side effects of Doxorubicin include headache, dizziness, nosebleed, nausea, vomiting, mouth pain or sores, diarrhoea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, difficulty sleeping, hair loss and skin or nail discoloration, absence of menstrual periods, low sperm count and infertility.

Who should not take Doxorubicin?

– People allergic to Doxorubicin or any component of the formulation
– Patients with drug-induced, persistent or severe bone marrow suppression
– Patients who had a recent myocardial infarction within the past 4-6 weeks
– Patients with severe myocardial insufficiency
– Patients with severely reduced liver function or liver failure

Pharmacist Tips:

– Doxorubicin may make your urine or other body fluids look slightly red in colour. This is normal and will pass in a few days.
– Doxorubicin will affect your fertility. Men and women should avoid pregnancy and use effective contraception during treatment and at least for 6 months after the final dose.
– Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.
– Discuss with your doctor before taking any vaccinations as Doxorubicin can interfere with vaccines.
– There are multiple significant drug interactions for Doxorubicin. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting any over-the-counter, nutritional supplements, vitamins and herbal drugs.

Common dosing schedule:
Your doctor will advise you on the dosing schedule depending on your condition.

Some common medications Doxorubicin may interact with:
– Anticonvulsants, e.g. Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, Sodium Valproate
– Immunosuppressants, e.g. Azathioprine, Cyclosporine
– Other cancer drugs, e.g. Cyclophosphamide, Mercaptopurine
– Live vaccines
St. John’s Wort

Doxorubicin may interact with many other medications. Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Doxorubicin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Doxorubicin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Doxorubicin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.