Known interactions

No interactions found.

How to use Idarubicin

Brand Name(s): Idamycin

Generic Name Idarubicin

What is idarubicin injection?

IDARUBICIN (Idamycin®) is a type of chemotherapy used for treating leukemia, lymphoma, and other diseases of the bone marrow. It has also been used to treat breast cancer. Idarubicin interferes with the growth of rapidly growing cells, like cancer cells, and eventually causes cell death. Idarubicin is used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy agents. Generic idarubicin injection is available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive idarubicin?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • angina
  • bleeding problems
  • blood disorders
  • heart disorders, including a history of a heart attack
  • hypertension
  • infection (bacterial, viral or fungal)
  • irregular heart beat
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • previous radiation therapy
  • previous chemotherapy with daunorubicin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, or mitoxantrone
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to idarubicin, other chemotherapy agents, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Idarubicin is for infusion into a vein. It is usually given in a hospital or clinic setting by a trained health care professional. If you notice pain, swelling, burning or any other unusual feeling around the site of your injection, tell your health care professional immediately.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss a dose. Let your prescriber or health care professional know if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What drug(s) may interact with idarubicin?

Ask your prescriber or health care professional about other medicines that may increase the effect of idarubicin.

  • certain antibiotics (clarithromycin, erythromycin, sparfloxacin)
  • cimetidine
  • cisapride
  • chloroquine
  • dolasetron
  • droperidol
  • foscarnet
  • levomethadyl
  • medicines used to control the heart rhythm (examples: amiodarone, bepridil, disopyramide, flecainide, probucol, procainamide, propafenone, quinidine, sotalol)
  • medicines used for mental problems, psychosis, or depression (examples: amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, mesoridazine, perfenazine, pimozide, prochlorperzine, risperidone, thioridazine, ziprasidone)
  • methadone
  • other chemotherapy agents may increase the side effects seen with idarubicin
  • palonosetron
  • pentamidine
  • prochlorperazine
  • vaccines

Talk to your prescriber or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also, tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving idarubicin?

The side effects you may experience with idarubicin therapy depend upon the dose, other types of chemotherapy or radiation therapy given, and the disease being treated. Not all of these effects occur in all patients. Discuss any concerns or questions with your prescriber or health care professional.

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

Rare or uncommon:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • irregular heart beat
  • swelling of ankles or feet


  • diarrhea
  • low blood counts - idarubicin may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
  • symptoms of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
  • symptoms of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
  • symptoms of decreased red blood cells (anemia) - unusual weakness or tiredness, fainting spells, lightheadedness
  • mouth or throat sores or ulcers
  • pain, redness, swelling or irritation at the injection site

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • hair loss
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • red color in urine (may appear for 1 to 2 days after treatment)
  • skin rash

What should I watch for while taking idarubicin?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks.

After treatment with idarubicin your urine may be a red color. This is different from blood in the urine and will disappear within a few days, with no cause for alarm. If you think you may have blood in the urine call your prescriber or health care professional for advice.

Although diarrhea is a common side effect of idarubicin, call your prescriber or health care professional if you get diarrhea. Do not treat yourself. Some diarrhea medicines will make the diarrhea worse. Your prescriber may give you instructions on what to do if you get diarrhea.

Idarubicin may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon because idarubicin affects good cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects as above, but continue your course of medicine even though you feel ill, unless your prescriber or health care professional tells you to stop.

Idarubicin will decrease your body's ability to fight infections. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you have a fever, chills, sore throat or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat these symptoms yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Idarubicin may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding. Be careful not to cut, bruise or injure yourself because you may get an infection and bleed more than usual.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick while receiving idarubicin because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are received idarubicin.

Men and women of childbearing age should use effective birth control methods during idarubicin treatment. There is a risk of birth defects if a woman becomes pregnant and is being treated with idarubicin. Women should not become pregnant while being treated with idarubicin or if their partner is being treated with idarubicin.

Avoid taking aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen (Advil®), ketoprofen (Orudis® KT), or naproxen (Aleve®) products as these may mask a fever, unless instructed to by your prescriber or health care professional.

Where can I keep my medicine?

This medicine is given through your vein at a clinic or hospital. You will not have to take this medicine at home.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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