Top of the page
Common Brand Name(s): Idamycin
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Idarubicin must be given only by injection slowly into a vein. Do not give by injection into a muscle or under the skin. If this medication accidentally leaks into the skin/muscle around the injection site, it may cause severe damage. Tell your doctor right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at or near the injection site.
This medication may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) heart problems (including heart failure). This may occur both during treatment or after treatment is completed. The risk of heart problems is affected by your dose, medical history (including heart disease, radiation treatment to the chest area, current infections, anemia), and previous use of this and other drugs (including doxorubicin). Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, or unusual/sudden weight gain.
Idarubicin may cause certain severe blood and bone marrow disorders (low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets). This can affect your body's ability to stop bleeding or fight infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop easy bleeding/bruising or signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills).
Very rarely, people with cancer who are treated with this type of medication have developed other cancers (such as secondary leukemia). The risk may be increased when this medication is given with certain anti-cancer drugs or radiation treatment. Consult your doctor for more details.
Before starting treatment with this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
Idarubicin is used to treat a certain type of cancer (leukemia). It belongs to a class of drugs known as anthracyclines and works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
If this medication touches your skin, immediately wash the area well with soap and water. If this medication gets in your eye, open the eyelids and flush with water for 15 minutes, then get medical help right away.
Drink plenty of fluids while using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Doing so helps decrease the risk of certain side effects (such as increased uric acid).
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headache may occur. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss is a common side effect. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth gently/carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using idarubicin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other anthracyclines (such as doxorubicin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Idarubicin can make you more likely to get infections or may make current infections worse. Stay away from anyone who has an infection that may easily spread (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, flu). Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Tell your health care professional that you are using idarubicin before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially the effects on the heart.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using idarubicin. Idarubicin may harm an unborn baby. Women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for at least six and a half months after the last dose. Men using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for at least three and a half months after the last dose. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for 14 days after the last dose. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: irregular heartbeat, severe nausea/vomiting.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as kidney/liver/heart function, complete blood count) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised March 2023.
Copyright(c) 2023 First Databank, Inc.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.