Epirubicin is used in combination with other medications to treat breast cancer in patients who have had surgery to remove the tumor. Epirubicin is in a class of medications called anthracyclines. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Side Effects Of Epirubicin
Epirubicin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- sores in the mouth and throat
- stomach pain
- loss of appetite or weight
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- hair loss
- hot flashes
- red discoloration of urine (for 1 to 2 days after dose)
- sore or red eyes
- eye pain
- darkening of the skin or nails
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- pale skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Epirubicin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before receiving epirubicin injection:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to epirubicin, daunorubicin (Cerubidine, DaunoXome), doxorubicin (Doxil), idarubicin (Idamycin), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in epirubicin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others), felodipine (Plendil), isradipine (DynaCirc), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular), and verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan); certain chemotherapy medications such as docetaxel (Taxotere) or paclitaxel (Abraxane, Onxol); or cimetidine (Tagamet). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Other medications may also interact with epirubicin, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you previously received radiation therapy or have or have ever had liver or kidney disease.
- you should know that epirubicin may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin receiving this drug. You should not become pregnant or breast-feed while you are receiving epirubicin injection. If you become pregnant while receiving epirubicin, call your doctor. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods to use during your treatment. Epirubicin may harm the fetus.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
Epirubicin comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility along with other chemotherapy medications. It may be injected once every 21 days for 6 cycles of therapy or it may be injected twice (on days 1 and 8) every 28 days for six cycles of therapy.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body’s response to epirubicin.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.