Breast Cancer Home > Ellence Warnings and Precautions
There are many important Ellence warnings and precautions to be aware of before starting the medication. For example, prior to treatment, you should let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or a history of low white blood cells. You should also know that Ellence may increase your risk of developing arrhythmias, anemia, and leukemia (later in life).
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Ellence® (epirubicin hydrochloride) if you have:
- Congestive heart failure (CHF), an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), or other heart problems
- A history of low levels of white blood cells in the blood (known medically as neutropenia)
- Any infection
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Ellence include the following:
- Ellence can increase your risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), arrhythmias, or other heart problems. Your healthcare provider should monitor you closely to make sure you are not developing heart problems. Also, due to such problems, there is a lifetime limit to how much Ellence (or other anthracycline medications) you can receive. Children may be at higher risk for heart problems due to Ellence, compared with adults.
- Ellence can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can result in anemia and other serious conditions. Because your immune system depends on certain blood cells, you may be more susceptible to infections while taking Ellence (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). You will need regular blood tests to make sure your blood counts are not too low.
- Ellence (as well as other chemotherapy medications) can increase the risk of developing leukemia later in life.
- If Ellence is not correctly injected into a vein (or if it leaks from a vein), serious damage to your skin and other tissues can occur. Often, surgery is necessary to repair such damage. If you notice burning or stinging while Ellence is being injected, be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away.
- The liver and kidneys help clear Ellence from the body. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have liver or kidney disease, as this may affect how your body handles Ellence.
- Ellence often causes nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare provider should consider giving you medications before and after your Ellence dose, in order to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting (see Chemotherapy and Nausea).
- Ellence can interact with other medications (see Ellence Drug Interactions).
- Ellence is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of the drug during pregnancy (see Epirubicin and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Ellence passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Epirubicin and Breastfeeding).