Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Gout and kidney stones: Idarubicin may increase the level of uric acid in the body as the cancer cells are destroyed. If you develop painful, warm and swollen joints or difficulty with urination, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have a history of gout or kidney stones, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Heart problems: This medication increases the risk of heart problems such as abnormal heart rhythm, congestive heart failure, and a weakened heart (cardiomyopathy). Some of these problems occur early in treatment, while others occur later in treatment or after treatment is completed.
If you have existing heart disease, have had radiotherapy, have been treated with this medication in the past, and are taking certain medications that act on the heart, you are more at risk of these problems.
If you have heart disease, your doctor should closely monitor your condition while you are receiving treatment with idarubicin.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, idarubicin can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people that have contagious infections.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: The kidneys help remove idarubicin from the body. When they are not working well, the risk of side effects is increased.
If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: The liver helps remove idarubicin from the body. When the liver is not working well, the risk of side effects is increased.
If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Red blood cells: Idarubicin may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Secondary leukemia: Like other similar cancer medications, idarubicin has been linked to blood cancer, developing several years after treatment has finished. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either the father or mother is using idarubicin at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using this medication as this medication may harm the baby if used during pregnancy.
If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if idarubicin passes into breast milk. Due to the potential for serious harm to the baby, women receiving idarubicin should not breast-feed.