Epirubicin Injection

What is this medication?

EPIRUBICIN (ep i ROO bi sin) treats some types of cancer. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Ellence

What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

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

  • Heart disease
  • History of irregular heartbeat or rhythm
  • History of low blood cell levels caused by a medication
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Recent or ongoing radiation
  • Recent or upcoming vaccine
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to epirubicin, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • If you or your partner are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medication is injected into a vein. It is given by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

What if I miss a dose?

Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medication?

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Cimetidine
  • Docetaxel
  • Live virus vaccines
  • Paclitaxel
  • Trastuzumab

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication. You may need blood work while taking this medication.

This medication may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your care team tells you to stop.

Your urine may turn red for a few days after your dose. This is not blood. If your urine is dark or brown, call your care team.

This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Call your care team if you are around anyone with measles, chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.

Avoid taking medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your care team. These medications may hide a fever.

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

There is a maximum amount of this medication you should receive throughout your life. The amount depends on the medical condition being treated and your overall health. Your care team will watch how much of this medication you receive. Tell your care team if you have taken this medication before.

This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths.

Talk to your care team if you or your partner may be pregnant. Serious birth defects can occur if you take this medication during pregnancy and for 6 months after the last dose. You will need a negative pregnancy test before starting this medication. Contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 6 months after the last dose. Your care team can help you find the option that works for you.

If your partner can get pregnant, use a condom while taking this medication and for 3 months after the last dose.

Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for at least 7 days after the last dose.

This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Blood clot—pain, swelling, or warmth in the leg, shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Heart failure—shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, sudden weight gain, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
  • Low red blood cell level—unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing
  • Painful swelling, warmth, or redness of the skin, blisters or sores at the infusion site
  • Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)—nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in the amount of urine, dark urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, confusion, muscle pain or cramps, fast or irregular heartbeat, joint pain
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

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

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Pain, redness, or swelling with sores inside the mouth or throat
  • Red urine
  • Unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Vomiting

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

© 2023 Elsevier/Gold Standard (2023-04-27 00:00:00)


Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Epirubicin

Self-Care Tips:

  • Apply ice if you have any pain, redness or swelling at the IV site, and notify your doctor. 
  • You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
  • To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda and/or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of water.
  • Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
  • Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
  • Avoid sun exposure.  Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
  • Drink two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise. 
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Maintain good nutrition.
  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be minimized or avoided.  You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team.  They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.

When to contact your doctor or health care provider:

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° C), chills (possible signs of infection)
  • Blistering at the IV site
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat, swelling of facial features, hives (possible allergic reaction).

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.  Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
  • Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Fast or irregular heart beats
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
  • Swelling of the feet or ankles
  • Redness, itchiness or pus in eyes

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.


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