Class: Supportive care
Generic Name: Dexrazoxane (decks-reh-ZOCK-sane)
Trade Name: Zinecard®
For which conditions is this drug approved? Dexrazoxane is FDA approved for the prevention or reduction of severity of heart complications that can be caused by the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin. Patients have typically received high cumulative doses of doxorubicin prior to initiation of dexrazoxane. It is important for patients to remember that physicians have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA. Patients who have received a prescription of this drug for a condition other than which it is approved may wish to discuss this issue with their physician.
What is the mechanism of action? Dexrazoxane is believed to protect the heart from damage caused by doxorubicin by interfering with the component of doxorubicin that is thought to damage the heart.
How is dexrazoxane typically given (administered)? Dexrazoxane is administered through a vein, prior to the administration of doxorubicin, and the dose depends on several factors, including the size of the patient, the size of the doxorubicin dose being used, and the overall health of the patient.
How are patients typically monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with dexrazoxane. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells and to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the kidneys or liver. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy. Patients will have their heart function monitored prior to and during treatment with dexrazoxane and doxorubicin.
Side effects attributable strictly to dexrazoxane are uncommon (occur in fewer than 10% of patients), but may include:
• Low white blood cell levels – increases the risk of infection
• Low red blood cell levels – increases the risk of anemia or blood transfusions
• Low platelet levels – increases the risk of bleeding
This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.
Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
• Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions and inform the physician of any side effects.
• Maintain adequate rest and nutrition.
• Wear sunscreen and protective clothing and try to minimize sun exposure.
• Drink plenty of fluids. (Patients should ask their physician about the amount of liquid to consume during a day.)
• If possible, avoid large crowds or people who are sick or not feeling well, as this drug may leave some patients susceptible to infection.
• Wash hands often to reduce the risk of infection.
• Eat small meals frequently to help alleviate nausea.
• Avoid activities that may cause injury or bruising.
• Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor to prevent cuts on the mouth or skin.
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
• Patients should inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a family in the near future. This drug may cause birth defects. It is important to use some kind of birth control while undergoing treatment. Also, patients may want to talk to their physician if they are considering having children in the future, since some drugs may cause fertility problems.
• It is important that patients inform their physician of any pre-existing conditions (chicken pox, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, etc.) as they may worsen with this drug.
• Patients should inform their physician of any other medication they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter, including vitamins, herbs, etc.) as they may interfere with treatment.
• Patients should check with their physician before starting any new drug or nutritional supplement.
• Patients should inform their physician of any known drug or food allergies or any reactions to medications they have experienced in the past.
When should patients notify their physician?
• Fever, chills, sore throat, cough, flu or cold-like symptoms
• Swelling of hands or feet
• Persistent or severe fatigue
• Signs of infection – redness, swelling, pus, tenderness
• Unexplained or excessive bleeding (nosebleeds, bruising, black tarry stools, blood in the urine, etc.)
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
Copyright © 2010 CancerConnect Last updated 07/10.
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