Idarubicin Zavedos

Idarubicin Zavedos

This chemotherapy and cancer drugs article is about Idarubicin (Zavedos) which is a cytotoxic anthracycline antibiotic used to treat acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and advanced breast cancer.

Its exact mechanism of action is unknown but it seems to work in three ways. Firstly, it inserts itself into the strands of genetic material (DNA) inside the cancer cells and binds them together. This prevents the cells from making genetic material (DNA and RNA) and proteins. It also appears to interfere with an enzyme called topoisomerase II, which is involved in DNA replication. This stops the cancer cells growing and multiplying. Finally it can also form free radicals, which are molecules capable of damaging the cancer cells.

It is administered in capsules and intravenously.

Side effects can include: fatigue, lowered resistance to infections, anaemia, bruising and bleeding, nausea and vomiting, temporary hair less, mouth sores, red urine (because the drug is red), diarrhoea, loss of appetite, skin colour changes, possible temporary changes to the liver and heart.  With very high doses, permanent heart damage is possible and cancers in the future.  

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

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