1 What is Novantrone?

Brand: Novantrone, OTN Mitoxantrone

Generic: Mitoxantrone

Novantrone is an antineoplastic used in treating advanced prostate cancer and ANLL (acute nonlymphocytic leukemia).

It is also used in treating some forms of multiple sclerosis. This drug works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells, causing these cells to get destroyed eventually.

Novantrone may also affect the growth of normal body cells, thus, unwanted side effects can possibly occur, including hair loss. This medicine must only be administered under the supervision of your doctor.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Novantrone. The risks and benefits the medicine offer must be weighed.

When using Novantrone, you and your doctor must consider the following:

  • Allergies. If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - food, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Pediatric. There are no appropriate studies performed to establish safety and efficacy of the use  of this drug in children.
  • Geriatric. Studies show that using this drug in the elderly does not affect its effectiveness or performance. Nevertheless, using this medicine in the elderly requires caution, since the geriatric population is more likely to have age-related health conditions.
  • Pregnancy. Using this drug can be potentially harmful to the fetus. However, in the case of life-threatening situation, the benefits of using mitoxantrone may outweigh the potential risk.
  • Breastfeeding. Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.
  • Drug Interactions. Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary. Before using mitoxantrone, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications. It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness.

Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, especially the following drugs:

  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 4, Live
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 7, Live
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Dasabuvir Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Topotecan Typhoid Vaccine
  • Valspodar
  • Varicella
  • Virus
  • Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

Other medical problems. The use of this medicine may be affected if you have other health problems. Inform your doctor about any other medical conditions, especially blood disease, bleeding problems, blood clots, bone marrow depression, blood vessel disease, heart disease, or congestive heart failure.

If you have been exposed to chickenpox, herpes zoster, and other infections, using this medicine puts you at higher risk of severe infections. Moreover, this drug can make kidney stones and gout worse; while a liver disease may slow down the removal of the medicine from your system, thus the increased side effects.

3 Proper Usage

To use Novantrone properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Typically, doctors prescribe Novantrone with certain other medicines.

If this is the case, make sure you receive each of the medicines at the right time. If some of these medicines are to be taken orally, ask your healthcare professional to help you remember when to take them.

This medicine is administered intravenously through a needle. It is given by your doctor, nurse, or other trained health practitioner. In the case of pain, redness, burning, or swelling of the injection site, tell your nurse or doctor right away.

If it gets on your skin, wash the area with warm water and inform your doctor. In case the medicine comes in contact with the eyes, rinse thoroughly with water and inform your doctor.

While under mitoxantrone treatment, your doctor might suggest drinking extra fluids so you will pass more urine. Doing this helps in keeping your kidneys working well.

This drug usually causes vomiting and nausea, but it is very crucial to continue receiving it, even if it makes you sick. Your doctor may give you advice on how to lessen these unwanted effects.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Novantrone, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits to the doctor are very crucial to make sure mitoxantrone is working properly as well as to keep unwanted side effects on the check.

Testing for heart functions and blood tests may be required to check if the drug is giving you unwanted side effects. Pregnant women should not receive this medicine as it can harm the fetus.

Therefore, using an effective form of birth control is important to make sure you will not get pregnant. If you think you got pregnant while using this drug, consult your doctor.

Furthermore, to make sure you are not pregnant at the time of treatment, you may be required to have a pregnancy test before your doctor may allow you to receive a dose.

Consult your doctor if you experience pain or discomfort in the chest, irregular heart rate, breathing difficulties, or swelling of the legs and feet, or other symptoms that may mean you have a serious heart problem.

Using this drug may make your urine color and the whites of your eyes bluish-green. This occurrence is normal, particularly within the first 24 hours after medication. Do not get any immunizations while you are being treated with this drug, and even after treatment, without your doctor’s approval.

In addition, your household members should not get any live virus vaccines, such as flu, mumps, or measles, because there is a risk they could pass these to you. Avoid contact with people who have received live virus vaccines.

You may consider wearing a face mask for protection. The number of white blood cells in the blood can become lower than normal while in mitoxantrone treatment. Using it can also make the number of platelets lower than normal.

If this happens, it is best to avoid people with infections to reduce the chance of contracting one. If you get a cough, fever or chills, lower back or side pain, difficulty in urinating, or other signs of infections, check with your doctor right away.

Moreover, if you notice unusual bruising or bleeding, blood in urine or stools, or if your stools are black and tarry, or you have pinpoint red spots on the skin, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Ask your doctor if any other ways of cleaning the teeth and gums are possible. Be cautious when using your regular toothbrush, toothpick or dental floss. Avoid touching your eyes or the inside of your nose, especially if you have not washed your hands first.

Additionally, be careful when using sharp objects like razors or fingernail cutters to avoid cutting yourself. Avoid contact sports and other physical activities that may cause injury or bruising.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Novantrone to avoid unwanted potential side effects. These side effects may or may not occur. However, if they do occur, immediate medical attention might be needed.

Consult your healthcare professional if any of these occur:

  • Bladder pain
  • Black, Tarry stools
  • Dizziness
  • Bloody or Cloudy urine
  • Pain, or Burning when urinating
  • Pale skin
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Decrease in urination
  • A cough or Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Swelling or Inflammation of the mouth
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Troubled breathing
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Blood in the stools
  • Fever or Chills seizures
  • Sore, Red eyes
  • Swollen feet or legs
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Blue skin at the injection site
  • Pain or Redness at the injection site
  • Skin rash

Apart from these, you may also experience irregular menstrual periods, absent or missed periods, body aches or pains, nasal congestion, diarrhea or constipation, dryness or soreness of the throat, headache, thinning of the hair, hair loss, longer or heavier menstrual periods, oral bleeding, nausea or vomiting, pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones, sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, stopping of menstrual bleeding; tender, or swollen glands in the neck.

While most of these side effects usually diminish as the body adjusts to the drug, calling your doctor may be needed. Some patients may experience side effects not listed above. If you want to report side effects, you may do so by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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