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Doxorubicin (Plain)



Doxorubicin (Plain) is used in the treatment of blood cancer

How it works

Doxorubicin (Plain) works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) of the cancer cells and stops their growth and multiplication.

Common side effects

Nausea, Vomiting, Weakness, Infection, Stomatitis (Inflammation of the mouth), Hair loss, Hand-foot syndrome, Decreased white blood cell count (neutrophils), Decreased appetite, Decreased blood cells (red cells, white cells, and platelets), Decreased white blood cell count, Fever, Mucosal inflammation, Anemia

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Expert advice

  • Inform your doctor if you have a history of heart problems or low production of blood cells from the bone marrow.
  • Inform your doctor if you have received doxorubicin or any other anthracycline as anti-cancer therapy or radiation to the upper body.
  • You may need to perform blood count, heart/kidney/liver function tests before therapy.
  • Take precaution while taking doxorubicin as you may develop infection and bleeding episodes.
  • This therapy may cause damage to heart muscle or heart failure, the risk is more if radiation was used as treatment before for upper body.
  • Doxorubicin therapy causes high levels of uric acid in blood, also urine may turn red on therapy and this is not a sign of any damage. 
  • Live or attenuated vaccines (like polio, malaria) should not be taken during therapy and contact with persons who receive them must be avoided.
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant should be counselled about the toxic effect of this drug on babies. They should use two effective methods of contraception while on this therapy and 6 months after stopping it.
  • Men who are going to use this therapy should not father a child while on this therapy and 6 months post it. They should also seek guidance and counselling on sperm conservation before taking this therapy.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery as doxorubicin may cause nausea and vomiting.

Frequently asked questions

Doxorubicin (Plain)


How does doxorubicin work?
Doxorubicin is anti-cancer or antineoplastic chemotherapy drug that belongs to a class of medication called anthracyclines. It slows down or stops the growth of cancer cells by interfering with DNA of the cancer cell


Is doxorubicin a vesicant?
Yes doxorubicin is a vesicant (irritant).

Content on this page was last updated on 22 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)