Ovarian Cancer Home > Doxil

If you have multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, or AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, your healthcare provider may recommend chemotherapy treatment with Doxil. The medication can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, but it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. It is administered through an IV every three or four weeks. Common side effects include anemia, nausea, and low blood platelets.

What Is Doxil?

Doxil® (liposomal doxorubicin) is a prescription chemotherapy medication. It is approved for treating ovarian cancer, AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma, and multiple myeloma.
(Click Doxil Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Doxil?

Doxil is made by Ben Venue Laboratories, Inc., for Ortho Biotech Products.

How Does It Work?

Doxil is part of a group of medications called anthracyclines. Anthracyclines kill cells (including cancer cells and normal cells) by working in several ways. Doxil binds to DNA in cells, changing the shape of the DNA and causing other problems with the DNA. This medication can damage the membranes (outer coating) of cells and may damage other parts of cells as well.
While Doxil can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells, and are therefore more affected by Doxil.
Doxil is a pegylated liposomal formulation of doxorubicin. This means that the drug molecules are trapped within liposomes (tiny fatty bubbles). This changes how the medication is distributed throughout the body and increases the time it lasts in the body. It is thought that Doxil is less toxic to heart tissues but more toxic to skin tissues, compared to nonliposomal doxorubicin.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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