Adriamycin: Indications, Administration, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions and Storage

This medicine works by stopping the abnormal growth of cancer cells found in the body.


It is the brand name of a drug called doxorubicin, which is part of the anthracycline family of chemotherapies used to fight various types of cancer.

Administration of Adriamycin

After a series of examinations and check-ups, this drug should be prescribed only when the doctor determines that the patient has cancer. It is necessary to treat him with Adriamycin to improve his physical condition or health.

It is essential that the patient read the brochure of this medicine in detail to be aware of the effects of changes that his body may suffer while under treatment and clarify any doubts with his doctor.

Adriamycin is administered intravenously, and the dose will depend on the type of condition, how advanced it is, the patient’s age, weight, and physical condition.

This medicine should not touch the patient’s skin; if this happens, the area should be washed immediately with soap and water.

Contact with the eyes should be avoided; if it occurs due to an unforeseen event or accident, the affected person should wash the eye for approximately 15 minutes, open the eyelid, and rinse it with plenty of water. They should seek medical attention for an evaluation.


The treating physician must use gloves and health resources to avoid contact with the patient’s fluids or secretions, such as urine, for at least the first five days after starting the treatment.

The patient must drink plenty of fluids while on treatment to help the medication pass through the body quickly and minimize side effects.

Side effects

Due to the type of medicine and how invasive it is in the body, it generates various side effects, which we can mention:

  • Upset stomach or diarrhea.
  • Regular and severe nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss.
  • Decreased hair and nail growth. Expected growth will resume after the drug treatment is finished.

To minimize the discomfort caused by nausea and vomiting, the patient should change their diet or eating style to small but continuous portions of healthy and nutritious food, avoiding eating before performing the treatment.

There have been cases where Adriamycin changes urine color, sweat, and even tears, adapting a reddish tone. This effect should not be confused with blood and can last for several days while the body adjusts to the treatment.

This medicine can cause serious side effects, so the patient should contact their doctor if they have the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing fluently.
  • Swelling of the wrists, hands, ankles, feet, and face.
  • Sudden weight gain.
  • Unusual chronic tiredness.
  • Joint pain
  • Redness of the face.
  • Persistent stomach upset
  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Pain in the back, sides, and abdomen.
  • Dark or black stools.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia .
  • Hoarseness or frequent coughing.
  • Irregularity or stoppage of monthly menstruation in women.
  • Blood discharge in the chair.
  • Frequent dizziness
  • Sores in the mouth or throat.
  • Allergic reaction on the skin as a kind of burns.

Adriamycin Precautions

The patient should notify his doctor if he has had heart problems in the past, liver disease, or any other serious condition, before starting treatment to prevent future complications.

Pregnant women should not start or maintain Adriamycin treatment because it can affect the normal development of the unborn.

In the case of breastfeeding women, they should not be treated with this medicine unless it is strictly necessary because it could affect the baby when ingesting breast milk.

It is essential that people, before undergoing treatment with Adriamycin, maintain precise control with contraceptives to avoid the fertilization process because the body will not be in the optimal state for procreation.


Some medications may lose their effectiveness if used while the patient is being treated with Adriamycin, so you should notify your doctor of the complete list of all the drugs you are taking.

Among the medications that can eliminate the effects of Adriamycin are:

  • Calcium channel blockers: nifedipine and verapamil .
  • Antifungals: ketoconazole.
  • Rifamicinas: rifabutina.
  • Treatments for seizures: phenytoin, primidone, carbamazepine, and phenobarbital.

Storage of Adriamycin

This medicine should be stored at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, or sunlight.

It should not be near the reach of children or pets to prevent future risks. The use of this medicine without medical supervision can be harmful to health.