Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug used to treat lymphomas and solid tumours.  It may be used in combination with other types of chemotherapy drugs.

How should I take/use this medication?

Doxorubicin is given via an injection into the vein.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if: 

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Early side-effects
    • Nausea and vomiting may occur during and after treatment and may last for 3 to 5 days.
      • You may be given anti-vomiting medications, take them as directed to help prevent or decrease these side effects.
      • Take small, frequent meals.
    • Pain or skin blisters may happen around the injection site if the drug escapes from the vein.
      • Inform the nurse immediately if you have any burning sensation, redness or swelling around the area of injection.
    • Urine may appear pink, orange or red for 1 to 2 days after the drug is given.
      • This is expected and is harmless but do inform your nurse or doctor if this lasts for more than 2 days.
  • Delayed side-effects
    • A drop in the blood cell counts. This may put you at a higher risk of infections, bleeding or bruising, or feeling tired.
      • To reduce risks of getting an infection, practise good personal hygiene, avoid crowded places or people who are sick and avoid eating raw food
      • To reduce risks of bleeding and bruising, do not pick your nose. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
      • If you are feeling tired, do not drive or engage in activities that require concentration.
    • Temporary hair loss may start to occur 2 weeks after treatment
      • Wear a wig or hat, and use a gentle shampoo
    • Mouth ulcers and/or tenderness
      • Brush your teeth after eating and at bedtime with a soft toothbrush
      • Rinse and brush your dentures after eating and soak them in denture solution overnight
      • Rinse your mouth regularly with an alcohol-free mouthwash or salt water. This will help to reduce risks of getting an infection
    • Diarrhea
      • Drink at least two litres (8 cups) of water every day when you are having diarrhea
      • Avoid milk, dairy products, high fibre food or spicy food whilst you are having diarrhea
    • Nail changes (changes in color, appearance of lines, loosening of nails from nail beds)
      • Wear gloves when washing dishes or using detergents
      • Inform your doctor if you have pain, redness or swelling around your nails

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

  • Fever of 38° C or higher
  • Pain and itchiness, redness or swelling at or near injection site
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising on the skin or black sticky stools
  • Signs of heart problems such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, swelling of the lower legs, fast or uneven heartbeat, or chest pain

What food or medication should I avoid when I am on this medication?

Avoid taking traditional chinese medication (TCM) or ‘jamu’ while you are on this medication



If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on May 2022


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