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.

Comon cancers Adriamycin  is used to treat include:

  • cervical cancer
  • endometrial cancer
  • head and neck cancers
  • Prostate cancer
  • liver cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • gestational trophoblastic tumor (a rare form of cancer in women that rises in the uterus or womb)
  • carcinoid tumors (rare tumor that tend to arise in the gastrointestinal tract and in the lungs)
  • non small cell lung cancer
  • multiple myeloma (a form of blood cancer)
  • Pancreatic cancer(Cancer of the pancreas)
  • esophageal cancer (Cancer of the esophagus)
  • 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)

Dosage:  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.

This 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 damage.

If you have any questions about your treatment process, please consult with your doctor to find out how your unique plan will be administered.

Interactions: 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.

Side effects :  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;  eye watering;  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.

It also 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.

In the majority of women,  Adriamycin may cause temporary absence of menstruation (amenorrhea). For women approaching menopause,  Adriamycin may cause complete absence of menstruation. The drug may also lead to discoloration of urine and formation of blood clot within a vein (venous thrombosis).

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