Doxil (doxorubicin) Side Effects

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Doxil is a chemotherapy drug that is better known by its generic name, doxorubicin liposomal, or just doxorubicin.

Doxil is approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of ovarian cancer when the disease has progressed following platinum-based chemotherapy; for AIDS-related Kaposi's Sarcoma following the failure of other systemic chemotherapy options; and for treatment naïve patients with multiple myeloma in combination with bortezomib.

However, doxorubicin is also widely used off-label in lymphomas, most notably in the ABVD combination chemotherapy regimen against Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Doxil is an anthracycline, a class of drugs that are notorious for causing cardiovascular problems. In other words it is bad for the heart and there is a dose-related risk of heart failure from Doxil.

Doxil has a toxic profile that is pretty well understood. It is common for people to experience some side effects in receiving it, but not everybody will experience side effects. For those that do, whether the side effects are serious or less serious, the patient should always tell his or her doctor about them and allow the doctor to draw conclusions as to whether the drug should be continued or not.

Serious Side Effects of Doxil

The following side effects of Doxil are considered serious enough that, should they be experienced, it is important to notify one's doctor or health care professional as soon as possible.

  • Any indication of an allergic reaction: Hives, problems breathing; the swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Signs of an infection: fever, chills, sore throat, mouth pain, development of white patches or sores inside the mouth or on the lips
  • Paleness of the skin, light-headedness, feeling short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating
  • Easy bruising or unusual bleeding
  • Numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ceased menstrual cycle of changes to it
  • Black, tarry, loose or bloody stools
  • Sever or persistent nausea
  • Redness, pain, swelling, peeling, tingling, or blistering of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, decreased urination, sluggishness, fast heartbeat
  • Back pain
  • Bluish skin or finger/toe nails
  • Calf or leg pain, swelling or tenderness

Common Side Effects of Doxil

The following is an incomplete list of common side effects associated with Doxil. Just because they are common does not mean they should not be reported to one's doctor. All side effects should be reported when they occur.

  • Hair loss (temporary)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Weakness
  • Weight changes

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