Drugs list > Daunomycin

A very essential medicine in the cure of specific types of cancer is Daunomycin which is a type of anthracycline chemotherapy and it is also used in the treatment of myeloid leukemia and lymphatic leukemia.


It is also used in the treatment of AIDS-related type of cancer of the skin and mouth which is also known as karposi’s sarcoma and which has possibilities of spreading to other parts of the body. The medicine behaves like cytotoxic agent because it ensures that the cancer cells do not reproduce and eventually puts an end to them. This medicine is included in the course of cancer treatment with other cancer curing medicines and therapies.


Daunomycin is made available as daunorubicin citrate liposeme and hydrochloride. The formula of liposome is designed such that the medicament is contained within molecules of fat. This liposomal formula penetrates the body tissue and reaches the cancer cells with ease due to its small size and structure. It resides in the body for a longer time than its citrate counterpart and it is also considered less prone to side effects. The liposome formula is available as an injection under the brand name DaunoXome in the states of America.

The medicament is also prescribed as a part of the treatment plan of myeloid leukemia and lymphatic leukemia. Recently the medicine has been officially accepted as a cure for rare karposi’s sarcoma.


In order to prepare this medicine, 4ml of disinfected water to be used in an injection is put in a vial and gradually turned upside down until the matter completely dissolves in the disinfected water. Each vial provides nearly 20mg of daunomycin which is drawn using a syringe which contains 10 to 15ml of 0.9% sodium chloride in the form of a solution. This solution is added to a rapidly flowing injection containing 5 percent dextrose or 0.9 percent of sodium chloride in form of a solution. Daunomycin should strictly be not given with other medications and especially heparin.

The dosage is dependent on the patient’s age, condition, body surface area and medical history. For a patient below 60 years of age and suffering from acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, 45mg per m2 per day of daunomycin IV infusion is injected for the first three days during the course of the treatment and on the first 2 days of every succeeding course. Another medicament named cytosine arabinosode IV infusion should be injected to the patient in a dosage of 100mg per m2 per day for 7 days of the first course of treatment and 5 days for the succeeding courses of treatment.

For patients above the age of 60 years, the dosage is usually minimized to 30mg per m2 per day IV infusion on the three beginning days of the first treatment course and again on every two days of the following courses. The dosage of cytosine arabinoside remains same for 60 and above patients.

The dose for children varies depending on their condition, age, body surface area and medical history. Children who suffer from lymphocytic leukemia, a dose of 25mg per m2 daunomycin IV infusion and 1.5 mg per m2 PO of vincristine has to be injected every day. After four courses of this medicament a complete reduction of cancer can be noticed. If there is partial reduction, additional two courses can be given to facilitate complete reduction. For children below the age of 2 years whose body surface area is less than 0.5m2, it is suggested to measure daunomycin dosage according to weight instead of body surface area.


After treatment, It is possible that the patient might experience nausea and vomiting for at least two days. Hair loss is also possible, starting from three to four weeks of the treatment. These side effects are common and not alarming.

Decreasing of body’s resistance to the infection is one of the most dangerous side effects. If you are experiencing high fever of 38 degrees or if you are not feeling well in any way then you should seek immediate medical attention.

Bleeding and bruising, change in color of urine and nails, sensitivity to sun, fatigue and taste change are other common side effects.


Daunomycin should be given to the patient through a vein with other IV fluids and must never be injected into muscle tissue or underneath the skin. The medicament should never be injected to the spinal cavity as it will cause serious damage to the nerve. Notify your physician if you notice any form of redness or feel pain, itching or swelling around or at the site of the infection. Daunomycin may increase the risk of facing cardiovascular problems which includes the risk of heart failures during or after months or years of completion of treatment.

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