Epirubicin (Injection)

Introduction

Epirubicin (ep-i-ROO-bi-sin)

Used with other cancer medicines to treat breast cancer.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Ellence, Novaplus Epirubicin Hydrochloride

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to epirubicin, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, idarubicin, or mitoxantrone.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • This medicine, like all medicines used to treat cancer, is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it will be given.
  • Your medicine will be given directly into a vein, usually in your arm or chest. This is called intravenous (in-tra-VEEN-us), or IV.
  • A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give you your treatments.
  • Drink plenty of fluids while using this medicine.
  • Do not get the medicine on your skin. If this happens, wash the area with soap and water, and tell your caregiver right away.
  • If you have your treatments at a clinic, the staff at the clinic will keep your medicine there.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or the clinic where you have your treatments for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you have your treatments at home, you should be given a special container for the used needles, medicine bag or bottles, and tubes. Put the container where children or pets cannot reach it.
  • If you have your treatments at home, you may need to store your medicine. Keep the bottles in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Keep all medicine away from children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Before using epirubicin, make sure your doctor knows if you are using heart medicines or cimetidine (Tagamet®).
  • Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines (such as flu shots).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not breastfeed while you are using this medicine.
  • Before you start your treatments, make sure your doctor knows if you have an infection, gout, or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
  • If you start to have pain, redness, swelling where the IV is given, tell your health caregiver right away.
  • This medicine may turn your urine red for 1 or 2 days after your treatment. This is normal. You may want to protect your clothing from being stained.
  • You may get infections more easily while being treated with this medicine. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent infections.
  • This medicine can cause nausea and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe medicine for you to keep you from feeling sick. If the medicine does not help (you can't keep liquids down), call your doctor.
  • Your doctor may want you to have blood and heart tests on a regular schedule while you are using this medicine. Keep all of your appointments, or reschedule any appointments you miss.
  • Do not get pregnant while you are receiving epirubicin. Use an effective form of birth control while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid weight gain
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Painful mouth sores that keep you from drinking liquids
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling of stomach, hands, ankles, or feet
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in menstrual periods
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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