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Chemotherapies (Single & Multi-Agent): Liposomal Doxorubicin (Doxil®)

Liposomal Doxorubicin
Brand name: Doxil®

Doxil is a special formulation of doxorubicin, a drug that prevents cancer cells from growing by interfering with their DNA, the genetic material of the cell. A liposome is a microscopic sphere with layers of fat surrounding it. Giving doxorubicin in this form minimizes some of the side effects, and allows the drug to be more active. The drug has been used in many forms of cancer including Kaposi’s sarcoma, ovarian cancer, and advanced CTCL.  Doxil is administered in the outpatient oncology setting by intravenous infusion every 2-4 weeks.

Possible immediate side effects may be itching, hives, or a red rash at the injection site and along the vein while the drug is being given. An allergic reaction can occur which might feel like flushing, tightness in the chest or throat, back pain, shortness of breath, fast heart rate, or lowering of the blood pressure. Mild nausea may occur and the urine may be pink or red in color for as long as 48 hours after the treatment. Later, a temporary decrease in blood cells can occur. Increased sensitivity, redness, and possible peeling of the skin on the hands or feet can occur. Temporary thinning or loss of hair or mouth sores can occur. Damage to the heart muscle can occur after a certain dose level is reached. Studies may be required to periodically check heart function.