Brand name: Adriamycin ®, Rubex ®, Doxil®
Other names: Hydroxydaunomycin,
Hydroxydoxorubicin and Liposomal doxorubicin
Manufacturer / Distributor:
Availability: Adriamycin is available by
is given through a
vein by intravenous injection
is used to treat a variety of cancers, mainly:
- head and
- Prostate cancer
trophoblastic tumor (a rare form
of cancer in women that rises in the
uterus or womb)
tumors (rare tumor that tend to
arise in the gastrointestinal tract and in the lungs)
small cell lung cancer
myeloma (a form of blood cancer)
of the pancreas)
cancer (Cancer of the esophagus)
(a common intraocular cancer of
(a certain type of liver cancer that occurs in children)
of the thymus (a small organ in
your upper chest, under your breastbone)
of the adrenal cortex (the outside layer of the adrenal gland)
lymphocytic leukemia (a type of cancer of the blood and lymph system)
sarcoma (a type of cancer occurs
in the bone or close to the bone, most often in adolescents)
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).
Some doctors may prescribe Adriamycin for other
medical conditions not mentioned in this article; talk to your health care provider or pharmacist for more
is administered only in hospital by specialists in oncology or by competent nurses. The drug can cause serious
adverse reaction; special monitoring is required throughout the therapy. Adriamycin
is given intravenously through a vein over
3-10 min; in exceptional cases, the medication can be taken by continuous infusion over a period
Overdose enhances the toxic effects of Adriamycin. Very high doses of Adriamycin can cause heart problems and
severe aplastic anemia (bone marrow does not produce enough new
in the space of 10 to 14 days. In fact, heart failure can occur even 6 months after an overdose. If you experience
abnormal effects during and after the treatment, report them immediately to your doctor. Treatment of Adriamycin
overdose includes supportive measures and possibly blood transfusions. You can also be recommended to stay in
hospital for days.
Mechanism of action (MOA): Adriamycin
acts by inhibiting the synthesis of DNA and RNA; thereby preventing the uncontrolled multiplication of cancer
is contraindicated for people with heart disease associated with myocardial failure, chronic liver or kidney
disease. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not be treated with Adriamycin.
Adriamycin is highly contraindicated with cyclophosphamide (also called 6-mercaptopurine, 6-MP or Purinethol)
; it increases the cardiotoxic effects of Adriamycin and the risk of hemorrhagic cystitis
and bleeding inside the bladder
). When Adriamycin is administered with mercaptopurine, there is an increased risk of liver problems.
It is also
preferable not to associate Adriamycin with cyclosporin and live attenuated vaccines.
Adriamycin attacks not only cancer cells but healthy cells; this 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; s
kin discoloration/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.
rare, it can happen that Adriamycin triggers secondary leukemias and severe heart problems.
: Adriamycin can damage the heart muscle and lead to:
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,
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).