What Daunorubicin is and what it is used for?
- Daunorubicin is classified as an anthracyline antibiotic. This medicine inhibits DNA synthesis by producing DNA cross-links which halt cell replication and eventually cause cell death. This cell damage slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- Daunorubicin is used in combination with other cancer medicines to treat acute lymphoid leukemia. This medicine may also be used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as determined by your doctor.
How Daunorubicin is given?
- This drug is given as an intravenousinfusionover30-60 minutes.
What should I need to know while receiving Daunorubicin?
- An allergic reaction may happen during or shortly after the infusion, causing fever and chills, breathing difficulties, swelling of throat or face, or hives. Tell your nurse right away if you feel unwell during an infusion.
- If daunorubicin leaks into the skin, it can cause severe tissue damage. Tell your nurse right away if you notice swelling, pain, or redness at the injection site during an infusion.
- Your urine will turn a reddish-orange color after the drug is given. This is because the drug is red and may last for one or two days.
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after the treatment ends.
- Daunorubicin may affect fertility. You can talk to your doctor about methods of preserving fertility before treatment starts.
- There are many drugs may affect how daunorubicin works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- You will have regular blood tests and heart function tests to make sure you have enough blood cells and have adequate heart functions to receive daunorubicin. The timing and dosing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or side effects.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of daunorubicin. You should let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially heart diseases, liver or kidney problems.
Common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Nausea and vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to prevent it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may reduce the discomfort.
- Mouth sores
Your doctor can give you medicines that help you ease the discomfort. Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.
- Hair loss
It may begin 2-3 weeks after your first treatment. Hair growth should return after treatment has finished.
Less common side effects
Ask your doctor about medicines that can help relieve diarrhea. Drinking plenty of water and dietary changes may lessen these symptoms.
- Skin problems
Symptoms include darkening of the skin, itching, and rash. Tell your doctor about any skin changes that you have. Your doctor can give you medicines and advices that help you feel better.
- Nail changes
The color of nail beds may change. It is usually temporary and the nails will return to normal slowly once the treatment is over.
- Changes in heart function
This drug may affect heart function, including without symptoms, such as reduced heart function, and with symptoms, such as congestive heart failure. Contact a doctor right away if you notice that you have swelling in the legs, an abnormal heartbeat or pain or tightness in your chest.
Rare but serious side effects
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)
TLS is a life-threatening condition that happens when the large amount of cancer cells die too quickly and their wastes release into the blood stream. Symptoms of TLS include general fatigue, muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeat, decreased urination, throwing up, or confusion. Your doctor will monitor you closely and prescribe medicines to prevent its development.
- Secondary cancer
Daunorubicin may cause an increased risk of developing secondary cancer years later. Treatment benefits may outweigh the risk of secondary cancer. Your doctor can talk you about this.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day during treatment can help make your recovery a smoother process.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.
- Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking beverages containing grapefruit. This is because grapefruits can affect how daunorubicin works and can worsen the side effects.