This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Idarubicin is an anticancer drug that belongs to the class of medications called anthracyclines. FDA approved it on February 17, 1997, for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Idarubicin has antimitotic and cytotoxic effects via a variety of modes of action Idarubicin intercalates with DNA to form complexes, and it inhibits topoisomerase II activity by stabilizing the DNA-topoisomerase II complex, blocking the religation component of the ligation-religation reaction catalysed by topoisomerase II. It interferes with ways in which the cells of your body grow and increase in number and is used in the treatment of cancers.

Uses of undefined

Idarubicin is an intravenously administered drug.  It is used in adults and children for the treatment of acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia (ANLL), also referred to as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It is also used in adults and children as a second-line treatment for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).  It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Idarubicin is a prescription medicine available as an injection in doses of 5mg. It will be given to you by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or clinic setting trained in cancer chemotherapy. It is given as an intravenous infusion drip (into your vein). Do not self-administer the injection. Your doctor will decide the dose and duration of the treatment based on your disease severity, body weight, and other factors.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


This drug is intended to cause severe bone marrow depression. Severe myelosuppression can be caused by long-term use of this medicine. Regular monitoring of hematological count (blood cell count) is necessary. Idarubicin may cause heart diseases, inform your physician if you have an infection, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disorder, Stomach problems, and breastfeeding. If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before taking this medicinal product.


Idarubicin should not be used in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Inform your physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Use effective contraception throughout the therapy to avoid pregnancy. This medicine may affect male fertility. Talk with your doctor if you are planning for pregnancy. Do not take Idarubicin if you are allergic to Idarubicin or any other ingredients of this medicine.

Your healthcare professional may advise you to take certain blood tests to monitor the effectiveness and side effects of the therapy. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vaccinations, nutritional and vitamin supplements, and herbal products. Certain medications may interact with idarubicin and reduce its effectiveness by causing undesirable side effects.

Side Effects

The common side effects of Idarubicin are hair loss, itchy skin rash, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and headache. Other side effects include abnormal rhythm, chest pain, congestive heart failure, decreased bone marrow function, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, and infections.

Word Of Advice

Store under refrigeration from 2º to 8ºC. Protect the medicine from light. Keep the injection away from the reach of children and pets. If you have missed any dosing appointments, inform your doctor and schedule immediately. Male patient with a female partner of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during the therapy and for 3.5 months after the last dose. Report symptoms of infection, anemia, or bleeding immediately to your doctor. 

Do not breastfeed during the treatment and for 14 days after the last dose. This medicine may cause infertility in both men and women, inform your doctor if you are planning for pregnancy before initiating the treatment. This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often. Your doctor may advise you to take certain tests to check for the effectiveness of the therapy.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Zavedos 5mg Powder for Solution for Injection - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) - (emc). [revised 2022] [cited 2023 Apr 21]. Available from:
  2. Idamycin - Idarubicin hydrochloride [cited 2023 Apr 21]. Available from:
  3. Cersosimo RJ. Idarubicin: an anthracycline antineoplastic agent. Clinical Pharmacy. [revised 1992 Feb 1] [cited 2023 Apr 21];11(2):152–67. Available from:


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.