What is Doxorubicin?

Doxorubicin (conventional) is a chemotherapy medication used to treat a wide variety of cancers typically in conjunction with other chemotherapy medications. It is commonly used in breast cancer regimens as well as metastatic leukemias, sarcomas, carcinomas, lymphomas and ovarian cancer. It is thought to prevent the DNA in cells from repairing, thus causing cell death.

How is it administered?

Doxorubicin (conventional) is given intravenously most commonly as a “push.” It is not diluted into a bag of solution prior to administration but injected into the blood stream directly. Having a venous access device is the preferred route for administering this medication. The actual administration time of this medication is relatively short, usually lasting 10 to 15 minutes. However, it is infrequently given alone, thus the actual length of treatment time varies depending on the regimen.

What to expect:

Doxorubicin (conventional) can be very nauseating. Prior to treatment, several different medications are given to help prevent the onset of nausea. Additionally, medications are prescribed to have on hand at home to help treat and prevent nausea. Before beginning therapy, tests are performed to insure the heart is healthy enough to tolerate doxorubicin (conventional) as it can cause congestive heart failure. Additionally, it can cause anemia and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Doxorubicin can also discolor bodily fluids such as urine, sweat and tears for up to 24 hours after it is infused. Hair loss, infertility and sensitivity to light are additional side effects of Doxorubicin.