By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Daunorubicin Brand Name(s): Daunorubicin.


What is daunorubicin used for?

Daunorubicin is a cytotoxic agent. It works by preventing the cancer cell from reproducing, which results in death of the cancer cell.

It is commonly used for treating certain types of cancer. It may be used in combination with other medicines or for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

How should I take daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin is usually administered as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic.

If daunorubicin contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.

Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.

How do I store daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of daunorubicin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush daunorubicin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using daunorubicin?

When using this drug, these are important safety information that you may notice:

  • If nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite occurs, ask your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • If you get daunorubicin on your skin, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Daunorubicin may lower your body’s ability to fight infection. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Daunorubicin may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark, tarry stools to your doctor.
  • Daunorubicin causes the urine to turn red. This is harmless and not a cause for concern.
  • Check with your doctor before having vaccinations while you are using daunorubicin.
  • Lab tests, including blood cell counts; heart, liver, and kidney function tests; and uric acid levels, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use daunorubicin with caution in children because they may be more sensitive to its effects, such as heart problems.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using daunorubicin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking daunorubicin. Daunorubicin is pregnancy risk category D, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown


It is unknown if daunorubicin is excreted in breast milk. Do not breastfeed while taking daunorubicin.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from daunorubicin?

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth pain
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in the stools
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fever
  • Flushing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sores on the mouth or lips
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

These products may include:

  • Certain medicines that act upon the liver (e.g., methotrexate) or cyclosporine because the actions and side effects of daunorubicin may be increased.
  • Trastuzumab, because the risk of heart problems may be increased.
  • Hydantoins (e.g., phenytoin), because the effectiveness may be decreased and the risk of seizures may be increased by daunorubicin.

Does food or alcohol interact with daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with daunorubicin?

Daunorubicin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Especially if any of the followings apply to you:

  • One marrow depression
  • Heart disease
  • Gout
  • Liver or kidney problems


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using daunorubicin.

What is the dose of daunorubicin for an adult?

Acute non-lymphocytic leukemia

In combination with cytarabine 100 mg/m²/day IV for 7 days first course, for 5 days subsequent courses

  • <60 years old: the recommended dose is 45 mg/m² IVP days 1, 2, 3 first course; days 1, 2 subsequent courses.
  • >60 years old: the recommended dose is 30 mg/m² IVP days 1, 2, 3 first course; days 1, 2 subsequent courses.

Monitor: Cardiac, renal, hepatic function

Acute lymphocytic leukemia

The recommended dose is 45 mg/m² IVP days 1, 2, 3.

Monitor: Cardiac, renal, hepatic function

Renal impairment

>3 mg/dL serum creatinine: Administer 50% regular dose.

Hepatic impairment

  • < 1.2 mg/dL serum bilirubin: Dose adjustment not necessary
  • 2-3 mg/dL serum bilirubin: 75% of regular dose
  • 3 mg/dL serum bilirubin: 50% of regular dose


Limit lifetime dose to <550 mg/m² (including doses of related drugs) to reduce risk of cardiotoxicity (400 mg/m² for patients who received irradiation of cardiac region)

What is the dose of daunorubicin for a child?

Acute non-lymphocytic leukemia

<2 years old or <0.5 m² BSA: The recommended dose is 1 mg/kg IVP weekly.

>2 years old or >0.5 m² BSA: The recommended dose is 25 mg/m² IVP weekly.

Monitor: Cardiac, renal, hepatic function

Acute lymphocytic leukemia

<2 years old or <0.5 m² BSA: The recommended dose is 1 mg/kg IVP weekly.

>2 years old or >0.5 m² BSA: The recommended dose is 25 mg/m² IVP weekly.

Monitor: Cardiac, renal, hepatic function


Limit lifetime dose for children 2 years old or older to 300 mg/sq.meter, and for children <2 years old to 10 mg/kg to avoid irreversible cardiotoxicity.

How is daunorubicin available?

Daunorubicin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Daunorubicin injectable solution 5mg/ml
  • Daunorubicin powder for injection 20mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Daunorubicin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: March 18, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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