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Idarubicin is used to treat a certain type of cancer (leukemia). It belongs to a class of drugs known as anthracyclines and works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
If this medication touches your skin, immediately wash the area well with soap and water. If this medication gets in your eye, open the eyelids and flush with water for 15 minutes, then seek immediate medical attention.
Drink plenty of fluids while using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Doing so helps decrease the risk of certain side effects (e.g., increased uric acid).
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headache may occur. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss is a common side effect. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: severe abdominal pain, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion), numbness/tingling of arms/legs, rash/blisters on palms of hands/soles of feet, unusual bleeding/bruising (e.g., small red spots on the skin, black/bloody stools, bloody urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds).
Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth gently/carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.
Get medical help right away if this rare but very serious side effect occurs: seizure.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), trouble breathing, severe dizziness.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using idarubicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other anthracyclines (e.g., doxorubicin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood/bleeding disorders (e.g., anemia, low blood cell counts), gout, heart disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat), kidney disease, liver disease, radiation treatment (especially to chest area).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose. Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.
Caution is advised when using this medication in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the effects on the heart.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away. To avoid pregnancy, both males and females using this drug should use reliable form(s) of birth control (e.g., birth control pills, condoms) during treatment. Consult your doctor for details and to discuss effective forms of birth control.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: other drugs that may affect the heart (including trastuzumab, anthracyclines such as doxorubicin).
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: irregular heartbeat, severe nausea/vomiting.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney/liver function tests, complete blood count, certain heart function tests such as LVEF) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
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