Pharmacology Cancer Drugs #1

Question

Which rare, but serious side effect should the nurse assess a client for taking doxorubicin for breast cancer?

Answers

  1. Nausea
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because although nausea is an intense side effect, it is not as serious or rare as heart failure. Doxorubicin is nicknamed “red devil” due to its ruby red IV fluid drug color and toxicity. The intense toxicity causes hair loss, myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects.

  2. Hirsutism
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because hair loss, not hirsutism, is a side effect of doxorubicin. Other “red devil” side effects include myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects. Cardiomyopathy and heart failure can occur later, after the drug is finished.

  3. Heart failure
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because doxorubicin is nicknamed “red devil” due to its ruby red IV fluid drug color and toxicity. The intense toxicity causes hair loss, myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects. Cardiomyopathy and heart failure can occur later, after the drug is finished. This is due to the cumulative doses in the body.

  4. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is not associated with the use of doxorubicin. SJS is a rare but serious skin disorder. Doxorubicin is nicknamed “red devil” due to its ruby red IV fluid drug color and toxicity. The intense toxicity causes hair loss, myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects.

Overview

A rare, but serious side effect of doxorubicin is heart failure.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy(anti-cancer, antineoplastic, cytotoxic, anthracycline) drug used to treat various cancers, including breast, bladder, lymphoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is usually administered with other chemotherapy agents. Doxorubicin is nicknamed “red devil” due to its ruby red IV fluid drug color and toxicity. The intense toxicity causes hair loss, myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects. Cardiomyopathy and heart failure can occur later, after the drug is finished. This is due to the cumulative doses in the body.

Test Taking Tip

See the “rubicin” in doxorubicin and remember the ruby “red devil” symptoms of hair loss, myelosuppression, nausea and vomiting, sores in the mouth, and serious, but rare cardiotoxicity side effects.

Video Rationale