How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Epirubicin belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the family of antineoplastics called anthracyclines. It is used alone or in combination with other antineoplastics to treat many types of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, ovary cancer, stomach cancer, and lymphoma.Epirubicin prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Epirubicin should not be given to anyone who:
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Anemia: This medication can reduce the number of red blood cells in the body, causing anemia. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the body, where it is used by the muscles and other tissues. If you develop symptoms of anemia, such as weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath, contact your doctor.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Fertility: Epirubicin can cause changes to sperm in men, possibly causing birth defects. Women may experience reduced or stopped ovulation or menstruation. In rare cases, women may experience premature menopause. Both women and men receiving epirubicin should use effective contraceptive methods.
Gout and kidney stones: Epirubicin may increase the levels of uric acid in the body, increasing the risk of developing gout or kidney stones. If you develop painful, warm, and swollen joints or difficulty with urination, contact your doctor as soon as possible. People with a history of gout or kidney stones should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Heart disease: Epirubicin may cause heart failure during treatment or after treatment has finished. The risk of abnormal heart rhythm, congestive heart failure, and a weakened heart (cardiomyopathy) is increased for people with preexisting heart disease. People with heart disease or an increased risk of heart disease should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people with contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.
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