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Dexrazoxane parenteral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Anthracycline side-effects


Parenteral formulations containing dexrazoxane (as hydrochloride).

Drugs List

  • CARDIOXANE 500mg powder for concentrate for solution for infusion
  • dexrazoxane 500mg powder for concentrate for solution for infusion
  • SAVENE 500mg powder for concentrate for solution for infusion
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Prevention of cumulative cardiotoxicity caused by anthracycline treatment
    Treatment of anthracycline extravasation

    Treatment of anthracycline extravasation.

    Prevention of chronic cumulative cardiotoxicity caused by anthracycline use in advanced and/or metastatic breast cancer patients who have received a prior cumulative dose of 300mg/metre squared of doxorubicin or a prior cumulative dose of 540mg/metre squared of epirubicin when further treatment is required.


    Whilst the doses stated below are those recommended by the manufacturer, local cancer network protocols for the relevant indication should be consulted.


    Extravasation Treatment
    Dexrazoxane should be given once daily for 3 consecutive days, the recommended dose is:

    Day one: 1000mg/metre square.
    Day two: 1000mg/metre square.
    Day three: 500mg/metre square.

    The first infusion should be initiated as soon as possible, within the first six hours after the accident.
    Treatment day 2 and Day 3 should start at the same hour (or within 3 hours) as Day 1.

    For patients with a body surface area of more than 2 metre square, a single dose should not exceed 2000mg.

    Cardiotoxicity Prevention
    To be administered as a short intravenous infusion (15 minutes) approximately 30 minutes before anthracycline administration at a dose equal to 10 times the doxorubicin-equivalent dose and 10 times the epirubicin-equivalent dose.

    Therefore a dose of 500mg/metre square should be given if a dose of doxorubicin 50mg/metre square or 600mg/metre squared if a dose of epirubicin 60mg/metre square is given.


    Cardiotoxicity Prevention (unlicensed use)
    Dexrazoxane may be considered in patients under 18 years who require high doses of anthracyclines and who are at greater risk of harmful effects on the heart. See EMA guidance.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    Moderate to severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance less than 40ml/minute): reduce dose by 50%.

    Patients with Hepatic Impairment

    Extravasation: Not recommended.

    Prevention of cardiotoxicity: Dosage ratio of anthracycline to dexrazoxane should be maintained. Therefore, if the anthracycline dose is reduced the dexrazoxane dose should be reduced accordingly.


    To be administered by intravenous infusion.


    Children under 18 years & cumulative dose <300mg doxorubicin or equivalent

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children under 18 years
    Restricted sodium intake
    Cardiac failure
    Hepatic impairment
    History of myocardial infarction
    Renal impairment - creatinine clearance below 40ml/minute
    Unstable angina
    Valvular heart disease

    Administration of live vaccines is not recommended
    Reduce dose in patients with creatinine clearance of below 40ml/minute
    Sodium content of formulation may be significant
    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Not all available brands are licensed for all indications
    Contains potassium; caution in low potassium diets
    Cardioprotective - give 30 mins before anthracycline
    Dilute and use as an infusion
    Extravasation treatment should be initiated within 6 hours of accident
    If extravasation occurs follow local policy & seek expert help immediately
    Remove cooling procedures 15 minutes before extravasation treatment
    Treatment to be administered by or under supervision of specialist
    Monitor cardiac function
    Monitor haematological parameters regularly throughout treatment
    Monitor hepatic function in patients with hepatic impairment
    Monitor patients for development of second primary malignancies
    Monitor patients with renal impairment for toxic effects
    Monitor plasma potassium in patients at risk of hyperkalaemia
    Increased risk of venous thromboembolism
    Potentially mutagenic
    Not licensed for all indications in all age groups
    Male & female: Contraception required during & for 6 months after treatment

    When dexrazoxane is used as a preventative pre-treatment administered prior to epirubicin, the clearance of epirubicin may be increased. This has only been reported with high dose epirubicin (120mg to 135mg per square metre) and is of no relevance when dexrazoxane is administered following epirubicin as an emergency treatment of anthracycline extravasation. No dosage adjustments are recommended by the manufacturer however prescribers should refer to local protocols.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Dexrazoxane is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    There is limited data on the use of dexrazoxane in pregnancy. It is not known whether dexrazoxane crosses the human placenta. The molecular weight, lack of plasma protein binding and elimination half-life suggest it will cross the placenta.

    Briggs (2015) concludes that as dexrazoxane is used to protect from anthracycline induced cardiomyopathy, treatment should not be withheld because of pregnancy. If an inadvertent pregnancy occurs, the woman should be advised of the possible risk for severe adverse effects on the pregnancy.

    Animal studies on rats and rabbits have shown embryotoxic and teratogenic effects.

    The effect of concurrent therapies must also be considered.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Dexrazoxane is contraindicated during breastfeeding.

    There is limited data on the use of dexrazoxane during breastfeeding. It is unknown if dexrazoxane or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. The molecular weight, lack of plasma protein binding and elimination half-life suggest that the drug will cross into the breast milk. Due to the potential for serious adverse reaction in the nursing infant the manufacturer advises mothers should discontinue breastfeeding during therapy.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Acute myeloid leukaemia
    Altered liver enzymes values
    Altered serum creatinine values
    Anaphylactic reaction
    Bone marrow aplasia
    Burning sensation
    Decrease in plasma calcium
    Decreased appetite
    Decreased ejection fraction
    Dry mouth
    Ear infection
    Elevated amylase levels
    Elevated triglyceride levels
    Erythema at injection site
    Febrile neutropenia
    Hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis
    Increase in serum ALT/AST
    Increased platelet count
    Induration (injection site)
    Local pain (injection site)
    Mucosal inflammation
    Myelodysplastic syndrome
    Nail disorders
    Peripheral neuropathy
    Peripheral oedema
    Phlebitis (injection site)
    Pulmonary embolism
    Raised neutrophil count
    Reduced lymphocyte count
    Sensory disturbances
    Superficial vein thrombophlebitis
    Surgical wound complication
    Swelling (injection site)
    Vaginal haemorrhage
    Venous thrombosis
    Weight loss
    White blood cell count decreased
    White blood cell count raised


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: February 2018

    Reference Sources

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 10th edition (2015) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Savene 20mg/ml powder for concentrate and diluent for solution for infusion. Clinigen Healthcare Ltd. Revised July 2018.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Cardioxane 500mg powder for solution for infusion. Clinigen Healthcare Ltd. Revised January 2018.

    EMA 19 July 2017: Questions and answers on Cardioxane (dexrazoxane, powder for solution for injection, 500 mg)
    Available at:
    Last accessed: 21 February 2018

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 21 February 2018

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