Lung Cancer Home > Side Effects of Doxorubicin

Some of the most common doxorubicin side effects include hair loss, vomiting, and weight gain. A number of the drug's side effects are more serious and should be reported immediately to a healthcare provider. Among these serious side effects are blood in the stool, difficulty breathing, and seizures.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Doxorubicin

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin®). Like most forms of chemotherapy, doxorubicin is capable of causing serious side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with doxorubicin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of doxorubicin side effects with you.)
Please note that this article refers specifically to the nonliposomal formulation of doxorubicin. For more information about side effects for the liposomal formulation (Doxil®), see Side Effects of Liposomal Doxorubicin.

Common Side Effects of Doxorubicin

Doxorubicin has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which the side effects of a group of people taking the drug are documented. In these studies, the most common side effects of doxorubicin when it was used in combination with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®, Neosar®) included:
  • Hair loss -- in up to 92 percent of people (see Doxorubicin and Hair Loss)
  • Vomiting -- up to 71.2 percent
  • Nausea (without vomiting) -- up to 15.5 percent (see Chemotherapy and Nausea)
  • Weight gain -- up to 14.4 percent (see Doxorubicin and Weight Gain)
  • Weight loss -- up to 8.6 percent
  • Leukopenia (low levels of certain white blood cells called leukocytes) -- up to 3.7 percent.
Doxorubicin often causes discoloration of the urine, which may look like blood in your urine. However, this is normal and is not dangerous.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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