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All about: Doxil

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Generic Name: Doxorubicin Liposomal (dox-oh-ROO-bi-sin)
Brand Name: Doxil

Doxil is for intravenous (IV) use only. If Doxil accidentally leaks into surrounding tissue, the skin or muscle may be severely damaged. Notify your doctor immediately if redness, pain, or swelling at or around the injection site occur. Doxil may cause heart problems (eg, heart failure) or bone marrow suppression. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop an irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, swelling of the hands or feet, easy bruising or bleeding, a dry cough, or signs of an infection (eg, fever, unusual tiredness, persistent sore throat). Heart problems may occur during therapy or sometimes months to years after receiving Doxil . The risk of developing heart problems varies depending on your dose and condition. The risk may be increased if you have a history of radiation therapy or if you are using cyclophosphamide. Tell your doctor if you have liver problems because your dose will have to be decreased. Your doctor will closely monitor you while you are using Doxil .


Doxil is used for:

Treating advanced ovarian cancer and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma in patients not affected by or intolerant to other chemotherapy therapies.

Doxil is an antineoplastic antibiotic. It works by killing cancer cells.

Do NOT use Doxil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Doxil or to conventional doxorubicin
  • you have bone marrow depression
  • you are breast-feeding

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Doxil :

Some medical conditions may interact with Doxil . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart disease or liver problems
  • if you have had radiation therapy
  • if you have previously received treatment with other anticancer medicines (eg, daunorubicin, idarubicin, another anthracycline or anthracene)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Doxil . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital) or streptozocin because the effectiveness of Doxil may be decreased
  • Calcium channel blockers (eg, verapamil), cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, or paclitaxel because side effects, such as heart problems, may be increased
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or trastuzumab because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
  • Carbamazepine, digoxin, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), live vaccines, or valproic acid because effectiveness may be decreased by Doxil

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Doxil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Doxil :

Use Doxil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Doxil is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Doxil at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If Doxil contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Doxil is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • If Doxil accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Doxil , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Doxil .

Important safety information:

  • Doxil may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark, tarry stools to your doctor.
  • Doxil may lower your body's ability to fight infection. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Avoid vaccinations with live virus vaccines (eg, measles, mumps, oral polio) while you are taking Doxil . Vaccinations may be less effective.
  • Doxil may cause the urine to turn red. This is harmless and usually goes away 1 to 2 days after receiving a dose of Doxil .
  • LAB TESTS, including liver function, complete blood cell counts, and heart function, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Doxil is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Doxil has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Doxil during pregnancy. Doxil is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Doxil .

Possible side effects of Doxil :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; hair loss; loss of appetite; nausea; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; red-colored urine 1 to 2 days after receiving Doxil ; tiredness; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); back pain; bleeding or bruising; chest pain; cough; dizziness; fainting; flushing; hand-foot syndrome (tingling, burning, redness, swelling, flaking, small blisters or small sores on the palms of hands or sores of feet); headache; irregular or fast heartbeat; loose or bloody stools; rectal bleeding or irritation; serious infection (fever, chills, persistent sore throat); shortness of breath; sores in the mouth or on the lips; sudden weight gain; swelling of the face or ankles; tightness in the chest and throat; unusual tiredness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include inflammation of the mouth.

Proper storage of Doxil :

Doxil is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Doxil at home, store Doxil as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Doxil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Doxil , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Doxil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Doxil . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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