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Idarubicin (Idamycin)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Idarubicin (eye-da-roo-bih-sin) destroys cancer cells in all phases of cell life.

How is it given?

It is given into the vein (IV) in the hospital or clinic.

What are the side effects?

Common

  • low blood cell counts
  • mild nausea
  • vomiting
  • pink or red urine for 1 or 2 days
  • hair loss

Occasional

  • mouth sores
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • diarrhea
  • headache

Rare

  • heart muscle weakness
  • abnormal liver tests
  • secondary cancer

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever, chills
  • cough, hoarseness
  • unusual bleeding, bruising
  • irregular heartbeat
  • lower back or side pain
  • mouth sores
  • continued vomiting or diarrhea
  • shortness of breath

What else do I need to know?

All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is receiving the chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely disposed of in septic tanks and the sewer system.

Any clothing or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.

Blood counts will be lowest in 1 to 2 weeks after the medicine is given, and should recover within 4 weeks.

Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.

This medicine may cause tissue burn if the medicine leaks from the vein.

Areas treated in the past with radiation may become red again.

Because the medicine is red, the urine may be pink or red for 1 or 2 days after treatment.

Risk of heart damage increases as the total lifetime dose is increased. Echocardiograms will be done before starting idarubacin and at scheduled times during treatment. The dosage will be monitored closely.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

Questions?

This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015 

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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