epirubicin

Pronunciation: EP i ROO bi sin

Brand: Ellence

What is the most important information I should know about epirubicin?

You should not use this medicine if you have an untreated or uncontrolled infection, severe liver disease, severe heart problems, or if you have recently had a heart attack. You may not be able to use epirubicin if you have already been treated with a certain amount of other cancer medications.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the needle when epirubicin is injected.

Epirubicin can cause dangerous effects on your heart that may not be reversible and could occur months to years after you receive epirubicin. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of heart problems: swelling, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath.

Epirubicin affects your immune system. You may get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. You will need frequent medical tests and your cancer treatments may be delayed.

What is epirubicin?

Epirubicin is used to treat breast cancer.

Epirubicin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before I receive epirubicin?

Before you are treated with epirubicin, tell your doctor about all other cancer medications and treatments you have received, including radiation.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to epirubicin or similar medications (such as daunorubicin, doxorubicin, idarubicin,mitoxantrone, or valrubicin), or if you have:

  • an untreated or uncontrolled infection (including mouth sores);
  • severe liver disease;
  • severe heart problems; or
  • if you have recently had a heart attack.

You may not be able to use epirubicin if you have already been treated with a certain amount of other cancer medications.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems;
  • radiation to your chest area;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • bone marrow suppression; or
  • chemotherapy with doxorubicin, daunorubicin, epirubicin, idarubicin, or mitoxantrone.

Using epirubicin may increase your risk of developing other cancers, such as leukemia. Ask your doctor about this risk.

Both men and women using this medicine should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Epirubicin can harm an unborn baby if the mother or father is using this medicine.

Epirubicin may cause you to stop having menstrual periods and may also cause premature menopause. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about these risks.

You should not breastfeed while using epirubicin.

How is epirubicin given?

Your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure you do not have conditions that would prevent you from safely using epirubicin.

Epirubicin is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when epirubicin is injected.

If any of this medicine accidentally gets on your skin, wash it thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Epirubicin affects your immune system. You may get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your heart function may also need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

You may be given other medications to help prevent infections or certain side effects. Keep using these medicines for as long as your doctor has prescribed.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your epirubicin injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while receiving epirubicin?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of epirubicin?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Epirubicin can cause dangerous effects on your heart that may not be reversible and could occur months to years after you receive epirubicin. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of heart problems: swelling, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast or slow heartbeats;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple or red spots under your skin;
  • unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet;
  • pain, blistering, redness, bruising, or skin changes where the injection was given;
  • severe vomiting;
  • dehydration symptoms --feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;
  • fluid build-up in or around the lungs --pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, cold and clammy skin, anxiety, rapid heartbeats;
  • signs of tumor cell breakdown --tiredness, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fast or slow heart rate, tingling in your hands and feet or around your mouth; or
  • signs of infection --fever, chills, flu symptoms, mouth sores, shallow breathing, pale or blue-colored skin.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • temporary hair loss;
  • blisters or ulcers in your mouth, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing;
  • hot flashes, missed menstrual periods;
  • discoloration of your skin or nails;
  • lack of energy; or
  • red-colored urine for 1 or 2 days after each injection.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect epirubicin?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);
  • other cancer medicines; or
  • heart or blood pressure medication.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect epirubicin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about epirubicin.

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