| Last Modified: August 21, 2011
Dexrazoxane works to protect your heart from the harmful effects of certain types of chemotherapy. Dexrazoxane is a potent "intracellular chelating agent," meaning that it inactivates certain metal ions in the body such as harmful free radicals. The mechanism by which dexrazoxane exerts its cardioprotective activity is not fully understood.
Dexrazoxane can also be used to minimize the damage to tissues if a certain type of chemotherapy medication (anthracycline) leaks out of the vein (extravasation) while it is being administered.
How to Take Dexrazoxane
When dexrazoxane injection is used to prevent heart damage caused by doxorubicin, it is given just before each dose of doxorubicin, by intravenous (into a vein) infusion. When used to prevent tissue damage after extravasation, it is given once a day for 3 days, beginning no more than 6 hours after the leakage.
Possible Side Effects of Dexrazoxane
There are a number of things you can do to manage the side effects of Dexrazoxane. Talk to your doctor or nurse about these recommendations. They can help you decide what will work best for you. These are some of the most common side effects:
Low White Blood Cell Count (Leukopenia or Neutropenia)
White blood cells (WBC) are important for fighting infection. While receiving treatment, your WBC count can drop, putting you at a higher risk of getting an infection. You should let your doctor or nurse know right away if you have a fever (temperature greater than 100.4 F), sore throat or cold, shortness of breath, cough, burning with urination, or a sore that doesn't heal.
Tips to preventing infection:
For more suggestions, read the Neutropenia Tip Sheet.
Kidney and Liver Function
Your kidney or liver function can be affected by this medication and your healthcare team will monitor this with lab work.
Exposure of an unborn child to this medication could cause birth defects, so you should not become pregnant or father a child while on this medication. Effective birth control is necessary during treatment, even if your menstrual cycle stops or you believe your sperm is affected. See OncoLink's section on sexuality for helpful tips for dealing with these side effects.