What chemo drugs require MUGA scan preparation for patients?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Which chemotherapy drugs require a MUGA scan before they can be administered?

Expert Answer

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

The chemotherapy drug best known for requiring a MUGA scan is Adriamycin, also known by the generic name doxorubicin. Adriamycin, along with epirubicin (brand name Ellence), and other drugs with the "rubicin" ending in the name, belong to a class of chemotherapy agents called anthracyclines. All of these drugs are considered potentially "cardiotoxic" because they can damage the heart muscie in some patients.

Doxorubicin and epirubicin are often used in popular combination chemo regimens. For example, Adriamycin ithe "A" in the common regimen ACT and epirubicin is the "E" in the regimen ECF.

Doctors order a MUGA (multiple gated aquisition) scan in order to view a moving image of the heart and check if it's healthy, because they don't want to prescribe doxorubicin or other similar drugs to patients at risk for heart failure.

When you have a MUGA scan, you will be injected with red blood cells that have had a radioactive substance called Technetium 99 attached to them. Then a special camera called a Gamma Camera attached to a computer is used to make a mini movie of your heart beating.