|Type of medicine||Cytotoxic antibiotic|
|Available as||Capsules and injection|
Idarubicin is used to treat leukaemia. It is also used for breast cancer where other treatments have not been been effective. It can be used alone or alongside other medicines for the treatment of cancer.
Cancers form when cells in the body multiply in a way that is abnormal and out of control. Idarubicin works by preventing the growth and division of cells and therefore stops cancer cells from multiplying.
Before taking idarubicin
Before taking idarubicin make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver, kidney or heart problems.
- If you have an infection.
- If you have a stomach problem such as an ulcer or any problem with your bowels.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you intend to have children in the future.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take idarubicin
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take idarubicin exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor will tell you how many capsules to take and which days to take them on.
- Swallow idarubicin capsules whole - do not suck, bite or chew the capsules.
- Take your dose with a drink of water or after a light meal.
- Try to take idarubicin at the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.
- Your doctor will have discussed with you the possibility that idarubicin may make you feel sick. It is important that you keep taking your doses even if you begin to feel unwell.
- If you are sick shortly after taking a dose, or if you forget to take a dose, check with your doctor. You will be told whether to take the dose again, or wait until the next dose is due.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Idarubicin can lower the number of white cells in your blood, increasing the chance of you getting an infection. If possible, avoid people with infections such as colds or coughs and check with your doctor if you think you are getting an infection or have a fever (temperature above 38?C).
- Idarubicin may colour your urine red. This is normal and will disappear after one or two days.
- You must avoid getting pregnant or fathering a child while you are taking idarubicin. Ask your doctor about suitable contraception.
- Keep your regular clinic appointments with your doctor or hospital. You will need to have regular blood tests during this treatment.
- While you are taking idarubicin and for several months afterwards, do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking to your doctor first. Idarubicin lowers the body's resistance and there is a chance that you may get an infection from the vaccine.
Can idarubicin cause problems?
Your doctor will have discussed with you the possibility of unwanted side-effects of treatment with idarubicin. Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following:
|Very common side-effects - these affect more than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Diarrhoea, abdominal pain||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods. Let your doctor know as you can be given an anti-sickness medicine|
|Sore mouth or mouth ulcers||Use a soft toothbrush|
|Fever, hair loss, weight loss||Your doctor will talk to you about these|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store idarubicin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Return any unused or unwanted capsules to your clinic or pharmacy to destroy. They will need special disposal.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zavedos® Capsules 5mg and 10mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Zavedos® Capsules 5mg and 10mg, Pharmacia Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 07/06/2011||Document ID: 3744 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.