Generic Name: daunorubicin hydrochloride
Product Name: Daunorubicin Injection
Indication: What Daunorubicin Injection is used for
Daunorubicin is used for a number of different types of cancer including leukaemia.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed it for another purpose.
This medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription.
Action: How Daunorubicin Injection works
Daunorubicin belongs to a group of anticancer medicines known as cytotoxic anthracycline antibiotics. Daunorubicin works by preventing the growth of cancer cells and eventually destroying them.
The drug appears to act by inhibiting DNA and DNA-dependent RNA synthesis by forming a complex with DNA with intercalation between base pairs and uncoiling of the helix. Daunorubicin may also inhibit polymerase activity, affect regulation of gene expression, and be involved in free radical damage to DNA.
The drug is not cell cycle-phase specific although maximum cytotoxic activity occurs in the S phase. Daunorubicin also has antibacterial and immunosuppressive properties.
Dose advice: How to use Daunorubicin Injection
Before you are given Daunorubicin
When you must not be given it
Do not use Daunorubicin Injection if you:
- Have an allergy to daunorubicin or any of the ingredients listed here;
- Have heart disease or heart problems;
- Have a low blood count following chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- Have severe infections;
- Have severe liver or renal function impairment.
Tell your doctor if you have been given daunorubicin or doxorubicin previously. Your doctor will determine if you should continue to be treated with Daunorubicin.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It may affect the developing baby if used during pregnancy.
If you are not sure whether you should be given Daunorubicin, talk to your doctor.
Before you are given it
Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.
Tell your doctor if:
- You are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed It is not known whether daunorubicin passes into breast milk. Therefore breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with daunorubicin;
- You are having or have had radiotherapy.
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
- Any sort of infection, e.g. sinusitis, tooth abscess, etc;
- Fever, sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising;
- Liver problems;
- Kidney problems;
- Sore, red mouth;
- Low blood counts.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines and daunorubicin may interfere with each other. These include:
- Other anticancer drugs;
- Medicines used to treat gout, such as allopurinol, colchicine, probenecid, sulphinpyrazone;
- Drugs which may cause liver problems;
- Some vaccines (injections to prevent you getting a certain disease).
You may need different amounts of your medicines or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.
How Daunorubicin Injection is given
Daunorubicin is given by a slow injection into a vein. It must only be given by a doctor or nurse.
Your doctor will decide what dose, how often and how long you will receive it. This depends on your condition and other factors, such as your weight and height, age, blood tests, how well your liver is working and whether or not other medicines are being given at the same time.
If you are given too much (overdose)
Overdose is unlikely, as Daunorubicin Injection is given in hospital under the supervision of a doctor. However, if you are given too much Daunorubicin, you may experience some of the effects listed under “Side Effects” below.
Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (Phone Australia 13 11 26 or New Zealand 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766) for advice or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you think you or anyone else may have been given too much daunorubicin. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.
Ask your doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor has information on how to recognise and treat an overdose.
While you are being treated with Daunorubicin
Things you must do
Keep all your doctor’s appointments. You will need regular follow-up to check you progress. You will also have blood tests to check for side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while being treated with Daunorubicin.
Tell any doctors, dentists or pharmacists who treat you that you are being treated with Daunorubicin.
After using Daunorubicin Injection
Daunorubicin Injection will be stored in the pharmacy or on the ward. It is kept refrigerated between 2°C to 8°C in a dark place to protect it from light.
Schedule of Daunorubicin Injection
Daunorubicin Injection is a Schedule 4 – Prescription Only Medicine.
Side effects of Daunorubicin Injection
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are being given Daunorubicin Injection. Like other medicines, Daunorubicin can cause some side effects. If they occur, most are likely to be minor or temporary. However, some may be serious and need medical attention.
Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to answer any questions that you may have.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
- Flushing of the face (hot and red);
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain;
- Dark areas on the nails and skin;
- Hair loss;
- Reddish urine.
These are more common side effects of Daunorubicin Injection.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if you notice any of the following:
- Infections, fever, severe chills, sore throat, mouth ulcers;
- Sores in mouth and on lips, heartburn, or difficulty swallowing;
- Unusual bruising or bleeding;
- Heart problems;
- Difficulty in breathing or any swelling;
- Burning, stinging, hotness, redness or pain where the injection is being given;
- Abdominal pain;
- Swelling, redness or tenderness in the vein;
- Itchy rash or skin reaction.
These may be serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor if you notice any other effects.
Some side effects may only be seen by your doctor.
For further information talk to your doctor.
- Daunorubicin Injection Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. April 2013. [PDF]
- Daunorubicin Injection Product Information (PI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. April 2014. [PDF]