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Precautions and Warnings With Epirubicin

Specific Warnings and Precautions With Epirubicin

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking epirubicin include the following:
  • Epirubicin can increase your risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), arrhythmias, or other heart problems. Your healthcare provider should monitor you closely to make sure you are not developing heart problems. Also, due to such problems, there is a lifetime limit to how much epirubicin (or other anthracycline medications) you can receive. Children may be at higher risk for heart problems due to epirubicin, compared with adults.
  • Epirubicin can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can result in anemia and other serious conditions. Because your immune system depends on certain blood cells, you may be more susceptible to infections while taking epirubicin (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). You will need regular blood tests to make sure your blood counts are not too low.
  • Epirubicin (as well as other chemotherapy medications) can increase the risk of developing leukemia later in life.
  • If epirubicin is not correctly injected into a vein (or if it leaks from a vein), serious damage to your skin and other tissues can occur. Often, surgery is necessary to repair such damage. If you notice burning or stinging while epirubicin is being injected, be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away.
  • The liver and kidneys help clear epirubicin from the body. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have liver or kidney disease, as this may affect how your body handles epirubicin.
  • Epirubicin often causes nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare provider should consider giving you medications before and after your epirubicin dose, in order to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting (see Chemotherapy and Nausea).
  • Epirubicin can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Epirubicin).
  • Epirubicin is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of the drug during pregnancy (see Epirubicin and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if epirubicin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Epirubicin and Breastfeeding).
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