Idarubicin

Brand Names

Idarubicin (There may be other brand names for this medication)

How is It Administered?

Your medicine may be given intravenously (IV), which means it will be given through a tube placed in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, hand or chest.

Idarubicin, however, is a chemical that can cause significant tissue damage if it escapes from the vein. The nurse giving you this drug has received additional training, but if you see redness or swelling at the IV site while you are receiving idarubicin, let your nurse know right away!

What Is This Drug Used For?

This drug is used to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML in blast crisis), and myelodysplastic syndromes.

How Does It Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles that include a resting phase, active growing phases, and division. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, the rate at which they divide, and the times when each drug is the most likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

Idarubicin is in a class of drugs known as (anthracycline) antitumor antibiotics. It disrupts multiple phases of the cancer cells reproduction cycle. If the cancer cells are unable to divide, they die.

The faster cells are dividing (reproducing), the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce frequently. The cells in your body that are the most likely to be affected by chemotherapy are the cells that line the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines), hair follicles, and blood cells.

These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects from the chemotherapy’s effects on these normally fast reproducing cells including nausea.

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