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Rubex (Generic Doxorubicin)

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Doxorubicin, like many chemotherapy drugs, carries certain risks and potential side effects. It’s crucial for individuals considering or undergoing doxorubicin treatment to be aware of these risks. Some key risks include:

  • Cardiotoxicity: Doxorubicin can cause damage to the heart muscle, potentially leading to cardiomyopathy or heart failure. Regular cardiac monitoring is essential during treatment.
  • Bone Marrow Suppression: Doxorubicin can suppress the bone marrow, leading to a decrease in blood cell production. This may result in an increased risk of infections, anemia, and bleeding.
  • Increased Risk of Infections: Lowered white blood cell counts can make individuals more susceptible to infections. Precautions may be taken to reduce infection risk during treatment.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of doxorubicin. Medications may be prescribed to help manage these symptoms.
  • Hair Loss (Alopecia): Doxorubicin often causes temporary hair loss, which may be distressing for some individuals.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Mucositis, or inflammation of the digestive tract lining, can lead to mouth sores and discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired and weak is a common side effect during and after doxorubicin treatment.
  • Fertility Issues: Doxorubicin can affect fertility, and discussions about fertility preservation may be appropriate before starting treatment.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to doxorubicin may occur and require immediate medical attention.
  • Secondary Cancers: There is a risk of developing secondary cancers, particularly leukemia, as a result of doxorubicin treatment.

It’s important to note that the benefits of doxorubicin in treating certain cancers often outweigh the potential risks, and healthcare providers carefully consider these factors when prescribing the medication. Regular communication with the healthcare team, adherence to treatment plans, and close monitoring for side effects are essential for managing the risks associated with doxorubicin therapy. Patients should consult with their healthcare provider for personalized information based on their specific medical condition.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy medication that is prescribed to treat various types of cancer. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anthracyclines and works by interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Doxorubicin may be used to treat cancers such as:

  • Breast cancer: Doxorubicin is often used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat breast cancer, especially in the adjuvant setting (after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence) or in advanced stages.
  • Lung cancer: It may be used in the treatment of small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer: Doxorubicin may be part of the chemotherapy regimen for ovarian cancer.
  • Bladder cancer: It may be used in the treatment of advanced bladder cancer.
  • Thyroid cancer: Doxorubicin can be used in certain cases of thyroid cancer.
  • Soft tissue sarcoma: Doxorubicin is commonly used in the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas.

How should this medicine be used?

The dosage and administration of Doxorubicin can vary depending on the type of cancer being treated, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. Typically, it is administered intravenously by a healthcare professional in a hospital or clinic setting. The specific regimen, dosage, and schedule will be determined by the oncologist overseeing the patient’s treatment.

It’s important to note that Doxorubicin can cause side effects, and the healthcare team will closely monitor the patient for any adverse reactions during and after treatment. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and increased susceptibility to infections. Patients receiving Doxorubicin should follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and report any unusual or severe side effects promptly.

It’s crucial for patients to have open and regular communication with their healthcare team to discuss the potential benefits and risks of Doxorubicin, as well as any concerns or questions they may have about their treatment plan.

Other uses for this medicine

Some of the potential alternative uses for doxorubicin may include:

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma: Doxorubicin may be included in combination chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Multiple myeloma: It may be part of a chemotherapy regimen for multiple myeloma.
  • Neuroblastoma: Doxorubicin can be used in the treatment of neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that commonly affects children.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma: In the context of HIV/AIDS, doxorubicin may be used in the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a cancer often associated with weakened immune systems.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for precautions when using doxorubicin, it’s crucial to consider the following:

  • Cardiac monitoring: Doxorubicin can have cardiotoxic effects, potentially leading to heart problems. Cardiac function should be closely monitored before and during treatment.
  • Blood cell counts: Doxorubicin can suppress bone marrow function, leading to decreased blood cell counts. Regular blood tests are necessary to monitor levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
  • Liver function: Liver function should be monitored, as doxorubicin is metabolized by the liver.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Doxorubicin can harm the developing fetus, so it is not recommended during pregnancy. Breastfeeding is generally not advised during treatment.
  • Previous treatments: Patients who have received other chemotherapy or radiation therapy may have an increased risk of side effects when using doxorubicin.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: Patients with pre-existing heart conditions or impaired kidney or liver function may require special monitoring or adjusted dosages.

It’s crucial for individuals to communicate openly with their healthcare team about their medical history, current medications, and any concerns or side effects experienced during treatment. The healthcare provider will tailor the treatment plan based on the individual patient’s needs and overall health.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

  • Nutrition: Maintain a well-balanced diet to support overall health and recovery. Consult with a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.
  • Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated, as chemotherapy drugs can sometimes cause dehydration. However, individual fluid needs may vary, so consult your healthcare team for specific recommendations.
  • Alcohol and Grapefruit Juice: Limit or avoid alcohol, as it may exacerbate certain side effects. Grapefruit juice may interact with doxorubicin and should be avoided.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • Contact Your Healthcare Provider: If you miss a dose of doxorubicin, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They will provide guidance on whether the missed dose needs to be rescheduled or adjusted.
  • Do Not Double Dose: Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Taking too much doxorubicin at once can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Follow Instructions: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to handle missed doses. They may need to adjust the treatment schedule based on the specific circumstances.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Doxorubicin, like many chemotherapy medications, can cause a range of side effects. The severity and occurrence of these side effects can vary from person to person. It’s important to note that the benefits of doxorubicin in treating cancer often outweigh the potential side effects. Here are common side effects associated with doxorubicin:

  • Cardiotoxicity: Doxorubicin can have toxic effects on the heart, leading to cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle) or heart failure. Cardiac function is typically monitored closely during treatment.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are common side effects. Medications to prevent or alleviate these symptoms are often prescribed.
  • Myelosuppression: Doxorubicin can suppress the bone marrow, leading to decreased production of blood cells. This may result in an increased risk of infections (due to low white blood cell counts), anemia (low red blood cell counts), and bleeding or bruising (due to low platelet counts).
  • Hair Loss (Alopecia): Hair loss is a common side effect of doxorubicin. Hair typically grows back after treatment, but the extent and speed of regrowth can vary.
  • Mucositis: Inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract can occur, leading to mouth sores and discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue and weakness are common during and after treatment with doxorubicin.
  • Skin Changes: Temporary changes in skin color or darkening (hyperpigmentation) may occur. Skin may also become more sensitive to sunlight.
  • Hand-Foot Syndrome: This condition can cause redness, swelling, and pain on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
  • Loss of Appetite: Some individuals may experience a loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Nail Changes: Changes in the color or texture of the nails may occur.
  • Fertility Issues: Doxorubicin can affect fertility, and discussions about fertility preservation may be appropriate before starting treatment.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to doxorubicin.

It’s important for patients to communicate openly with their healthcare team about any side effects experienced during treatment. The healthcare provider may adjust the treatment plan or prescribe medications to manage specific symptoms. Patients should also follow any recommended lifestyle changes and attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor their overall health and response to treatment.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal of Doxorubicin:

  • Storage: Doxorubicin is typically administered in a clinical setting by healthcare professionals. If you are prescribed oral doxorubicin, follow the storage instructions provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Generally, it is stored at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
  • Handling: Healthcare providers who administer doxorubicin are trained to handle the medication safely. If you are given the medication at home, follow proper handling procedures, such as using gloves when handling the medication and avoiding contact with skin or eyes.
  • Disposal: Proper disposal is crucial to prevent accidental exposure. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions or local regulations on how to dispose of unused or expired doxorubicin. Do not dispose of it in household waste; instead, consult with your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Medical Attention: In case of an overdose or emergency, seek immediate medical attention. Call your local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Symptoms of Overdose: Overdose symptoms may include severe nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, unusual bleeding or bruising, and signs of infection. The specific symptoms can vary, and prompt medical attention is essential.

What other information should I know?

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Doxorubicin can harm the developing fetus, so it is generally not recommended during pregnancy. Breastfeeding is usually not advised during treatment. Discuss family planning and contraception with your healthcare provider.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular medical check-ups and monitoring are essential during doxorubicin treatment. This includes cardiac monitoring, blood tests, and other assessments to evaluate the medication’s effectiveness and identify any potential side effects.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Inform all healthcare providers, including dentists and emergency medical personnel, that you are receiving doxorubicin. This is important for proper coordination of care and potential interactions with other medications or treatments.
  • Follow Instructions: Adhere to the treatment plan provided by your healthcare provider. Follow all instructions for taking the medication, attending appointments, and reporting any side effects or concerns promptly.
  • Supportive Care: Your healthcare team may provide supportive care measures to manage side effects and improve your overall well-being during treatment. This may include medications to alleviate nausea, pain management, and other supportive therapies.

Always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized information and guidance based on your specific medical condition and treatment plan. They can provide detailed instructions on storage, disposal, and what to do in case of emergencies or overdoses related to doxorubicin.

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