Epirubicin - injection
Epirubicin - injection
Epirubicin must be given only by injection slowly into a vein. Do not inject into a muscle or under the skin. If this medication accidentally leaks into the skin/muscle around the injection site, it may cause severe damage. Tell your doctor right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at or near the injection site.
This medication may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) heart problems (including heart failure). This may occur both during treatment or months to years after treatment is completed. The risk of heart problems is affected by your dose, medical history (including previous heart disease, radiation treatment to the chest area), and previous use of this and other drugs (including doxorubicin). Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, or unusual/sudden weight gain.
Epirubicin may cause certain severe blood and bone marrow disorders (low or abnormal red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets). This can affect your body's ability to stop bleeding or fight infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual tiredness, easy bleeding/bruising, or signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat).
Very rarely, people with cancer who are treated with this type of medication have developed other cancers (e.g., secondary leukemia). The risk may be increased when this medication is given with certain anti-cancer drugs (especially in high doses) or radiation treatment. Consult your doctor for more details.
Before starting treatment with this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver problems. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
Epirubicin is used to treat breast cancer. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anthracyclines and works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for other cancers (such as bone cancer).
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 plenty of water. You may also use soap and water or a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in plenty of 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, diarrhea, abdominal pain, flushing, or skin/nail color changes may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. 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.
This medication may cause your urine to turn a reddish color. This is a normal, harmless effect of the drug that usually stops within 2 days after each dose and should not be mistaken for blood in your urine.
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:
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.
Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may rarely cause a loss of too much body water (dehydration). Contact your doctor promptly if you notice any symptoms of dehydration such as unusual decreased urination, unusual dry mouth/increased thirst, lack of tears, dizziness/lightheadedness, or pale/wrinkled skin.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
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:
In the US -
Before using epirubicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other anthracyclines (e.g., doxorubicin); or to anthracenediones (e.g., mitoxantrone); 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:
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.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially effects on the heart.
This medication may affect the production of sperm in males, increasing the risk of fathering a child with birth defects. Therefore, men receiving treatment with this drug should use reliable forms of birth control (e.g., condoms). Consult your doctor for details and to discuss effective forms of birth control.
This medication can affect menstruation in females and cause premature menopause. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
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. Women of child-bearing age and men using this medication should use reliable forms of birth control (such as birth control pills, condoms) to prevent pregnancy. 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.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
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.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, liver function tests, 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.
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.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2017.
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