Breast Cancer Home > Adriamycin Side Effects

Although most people do not experience any problems when taking the medication, side effects can occur during treatment with Adriamycin. Some of the most common side effects include hair loss, vomiting, and weight gain. The more serious side effects include seizures, blood in the stool, and difficulty breathing. If you experience these or other serious side effects, let your healthcare provider know right away.

An Introduction to Adriamycin Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Adriamycin® (doxorubicin hydrochloride). Like most forms of chemotherapy, Adriamycin is capable of causing serious side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Adriamycin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Adriamycin side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Adriamycin

Adriamycin 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 Adriamycin 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.
Adriamycin 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;
Last updated/reviewed:
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