What is red devil chemo and what are the side effects?
What is the red chemo that is administered by a large needle over a 15 minute time span and what are the side effects?
Adriamycin, aka the "Red Devil," is a chemotherapy agent used to treat many kinds of cancer, including breast, lung, ovarian, and bladder cancer. It's also often called Doxorubicin, which is the generic name. Adriamycin is a brand name.
Adriamycin/Doxorubicin is often used as part of combination chemotherapy regimens; for example, when treating breast cancer it's often part of a three--part regimen known as ACT, which stands for Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Taxol.
Adriamycin's profile of side effects include low white blood cell count, low red blood cell count, low platelets, hair loss, and mouth sores. Read our articles on all these side effects for practical suggestions on how to cope with them. In addition, Adriamycin can cause some unusual side effects such as changes to the finger- and toenails and discolored urine. Recently, Adriamycin has come under fire because studies show it can have a toxic effect on the heart muscle, leading to heart failure.
For this reason, patients being treated with Adriamycin often have a MUGA scan to make sure the heart is working properly.
Why is this chemo. regimen sometimes called the "red devil"
If you have ever had to have it, you'd remember it. LOL It is the devil, hair loss, short term memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pains, loss of sleep, sweats, mouth sores, watery eyes, neuropathy, and on and on.....nasty, nasty stuff. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I hope you never need it.
I just got out of my first 4 day 24 hour/day dance with this Red Devil. I am back at work after a couple days of recovery, don't know how much longer I'll be able to, but it certainly is nothing I would wish on anyone. Terrible stuff, but it is tolerable with anti naseau pills, so far.... Also had Ifosfamide for three days with VinChristine and Mensa. Quite a little trio. I have a very rare Rhabdomyosarcoma that was in my throat, and its a nasty little critter I hear.
Yes, the adriamycin is a nasty drug with numerous side effects. About fives months after completing six rounds of R-CHOP chemo I started experiencing difficulty breathing when trying to sleep. I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and cardio-myopathy due to the adriamycin. My heart ejection factor had plummeted from 65% (normal) down to 15-17%. I'm now on medication for my weakened heart. It is of little comfort to know that this supposedly only occurs in 1% of the population. My oncologists did not test for problems with the medication during my chemo, but should have. Hind-site is a great teacher. Should my cancer return, I've been told that my heart has been weakened too much to undergo chemotherapy again. Take care and insist on adequate testing.
Just finished my round with the red devil and cytoxin, I can still smell it and it is disgusting. The side effects weren't too bad except for the nausea and the smell. About the time I was ready for the next treatment was when I was getting better. Glad that portion is over, now on to 4 rounds of taxatere. God Bless everyone who is going through this, this is not an easy road to take so I hope you are not alone on your journey.
Red Devil is some evil stuff. It's also Red in color and when they injected it into my medi port I could feel it making me sick. The nausea meds they gave me didn't help much. Now, I'm having problems with foot neuropathy pretty bad from the Taxol I'm on. Seems I'm sensitive to the chemo meds. The Oncologist send me for ECG's every 3 months to keep an eye on my heart for problems. Praying for they day I'm finished with all this and healthy once again.
Just got through this subject in Nursong school ... In addition to all the other nasty side effects thenmedication is known to turn the urine fruit punch red hence the name red devil.
I have just had my 2nd round with AC. Neulasta today. My oncologist said I wouldn't suffer from nausea or pain and he has kept his promise. I am 70 with no big health issues. First round I wasn't myself for about 5 days and had a temp and minor but annoying pain in hips and other joints. Not as bad as my sciatica attacks. This one was a little different. Slept more, some nausea today. Not bad, no vomiting. Medication is wonderful. Oncologist will rest me after No. 4 of AC. for six weeks, then on to TH and radiation. I am HER2. So I will be on Herceptin for a year and Femara for the rest of my life. Oncologist said that the effects of the drugs may be cumulative. I had virtually no nausea and believe it or not the first round was easy. I would have been worse off with a bad head cold. So I'm not complaining. I wish for all of you my experience. Think positively, have faith in a higher being, your oncologist with whom you must have a connection and trust. You will put this behind you and LIVE!
yep i rode the "Red Devil" train at M D Anderson(in Houston, Tx.) from Feb. 09, to April 09. Removed bladder & prostate on June 8th
I was one of the "Lucky" ones.. never got sick once. eat like a pig,had anything i wanted.
Just don't mess around with this stuff. Go to the best- M D Anderson, Houston Texas. you can make your own appointment, just call.. hope this helps someone.. look them up on line.....
In response to and agreeing with DixKay and Melanie Haiken CHOP treatment including Adriamycin/Doxorubicin is lethal. For anybody being treated with this drug demand that you have regular checks on your heart EF Ejection fraction, ECGs and MUGA tests for toxicity. A dear friend just passed away after completing all her treatment and was cancer free. She then succombed to massive cardiac failure within 4 weeks of her last treatment. She was under the age of 50. I am sending this as a warning to all. Her doctor didn't discuss the reality of the risks with her or monitor her for heart issues. There is also a drug available that may protect your heart while in treatment. Toxicity can build up without symptoms and once it reaches a threshold permanent damage results. I don't want anybody's loved ones going through what we are. It's devastating and should never have happened with proper monitoring. Cardiac monitoring should be a protocol in every treatment regime that involves these powerful chemo drugs. One last comment stats state a 1-5% risk level for this type of side effect, however, in a high dose situation or depending on the infusion rate of the drug etc. the risk level can be as high as 20%+...that's 1in 5 with a cardiac issue in the populaton. Is that acceptable? Is any level acceptable when monitoring could lower that risk and indicate any issues before it escalates? Talk to your doctor about the risks and how you or your loved ones want to be monitored before, during and after treatment. I hope this will help somebody out there.
I am 34 years old just had my 3rd dose of Toxin (that's what I call the Red Devil). Though'd I would be over the nausea and irritable feeling but sadly not.....Freshly homemade Lemonade, Ginger Beer helps for the nausea....this time I need something more....It aint helping and I feel more miserabl
My mother had only one dose of the RED DEVIL in January 2014. Her heart was checked and fully healthy before it. NOW,her heart has crashed to 15 percent! Oncologist is going to place her on Hospice because her heart is too weak to continue any chemo treatments for the STAGE 4 Breast cancer she has been managing for two years. Fluid in her lungs and now congestive heart failure!! DO NOT TAKE THE RED DEVIL! NOT EVEN ONE DOSE!!!! MOMS HEART WAS PERFECT AND EVEN AFTER TWO YEARS OF OTHER CHEMO DRUGS!! I FULLY BELIEVE RED DEVIL WILL KILL HER . NOT THE CANCER!!
To clarify. Mom got one dose of red devil. Adrimycin In January 2014 and DIED on EASTER 2014!' Her heart went from full function to ten percent and then could no longer treat her Stage 4 breast cancer!! One treatment is all she got!! heart crashed in the weeks tat followed!
I spent 4 months with the red devil at MD Anderson. I've been cancer free for 5 years since. It really is the devil but it will save your life. just make sure you are treated at a great place. MD Anderson saved my life. Memorial-Sloan saved my fathers.
I had stage 4 breast cancer and my wonderful doctor gave the medication that saved my life - it was the "red devil". I am now on year nine and I believe in the red devil. I was blessed because I took my treatments on Friday and was ready for work on Monday and the side effects never put me down. The combination of a wonderful doctor, a mighty God and the "red devil" saved my life.
I had 6 rounds of R-CHOP for Stage 3A NH DLBCL. One of the drugs in my regiment was the "red devil". I had a MUGA scan before treatment and after every two cycles of my chemo to be certain my "ejection fraction" was above the required 50%. Mine dropped from 64% to 56% over my 6 treatments. I exercised regularly to keep the heart strong and drugs moving along. Six months after treatment and full remission status my "ejection fraction" returned to 65%.
I agree that I would not wish Adriamycin aka The Red Devil on my worst enemy. It made me feel like death. However, I didn't lose all of my hair, just thinned quite a bit. It did its job of helping me kick Lymphoma, but was way wicked.
Have just finished # 2 chemo with Adriamycin 2 more to go. So far nausea under control with fabulous drugs post chemo and appetite good. A bit tired but nothing I can't cope with. I had a MUGA scan prior to treatment some slight palpitations first post chemo day but none since. In fact I feel pretty normal except for hair loss which I shaved before it all fell out to be pre active. Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones.- - its not all dire out there.
15 years ago I was in a trial using 4 rounds of adriamycin/cytoxin and 4 rounds of Taxotere before surgery. I missed 1/2 day of work for each AC infusion. No major problems and it has given me 15 cancer free years.
Adriamycin is just going to give you heart failure at the end of the day. My wife had cancer, but died of heart failure caused by Adriamycin.
I had two, five day rounds of the red devil and iFos. Those were long, miserable weeks. I was told that I would be toxic for about a week after I was done with the meds. I was also told that due to the long term effects that red devil can have on your body, most people are limited to a total of about 5 treatments in their lifetime. I was more relieved when I was told that I could stop chemo and move on to radiation than I was when I found out how well the resection went several weeks later.
Its been 14 years since the last of 9 treatments of Red Devil chemo that my dad took. He took one treatment every 21 days. He took 9 treatments all together. He had Burkitts Lymphoma inside the A chamber of his heart. Thee tumor was so large that the entire chamber was closed off. The way we found out is his heart had grown to be the size of a basketball "literally", and the hospital had to take one and a half liters of fluid off of his heart. My father was constantly having silent heart attacks. The tumor was actually found after emergency surgery from a heart attack. They researched his condition and found out it was Burkitts Lymphoma and started Red Devil immediately. It was horrific and traumatic, by the 5th treatment he was ready this give up on everything. I mean Everything. I remember him scolding me as a child because I had got in trouble one day and he scoulded me because I let it get me down, and I returned the favor and reminded him that it wasn't fair for him to give up on me and his family and God. That day changed his entire outlook on the chemo. He started cooking after this and eeverything he cooked or ate had Cheyenne pepper. Whether fresh or powder, it was in his diet. The Cheyenne pepper builds your immune system and he fought this devil with it. He had to literally began to be the one to motivate not only himself but me and the rest of his family to not give up. All together he lost 100 pounds. He was sick. Oh my gosh, was he sick. Even his toenails and fingernails fell off along with hair and on to all the side effects. Along with a very dedicated doctor from M.D. Anderson named Dr. Maddox, and a powerful loving God by my daddy is cancer free today. After 14 years. Please all of you reading this post, please don't give up. Eat. You have to eat even if its small portions. Don't give up because you all are worth more than that and you can beat this just like my dad. Keep the faith, love, prayer, and the hope alive in yourself, be strong, let it shine and you can pull through. May God bless each one of hki because he sure blessed my family.
AS I READ ALL OF THESE ANSWERS I GET TEARS IN MY EYES IT SOUNDS LIKE ALL ARE SO FORTUNET. MY FATHER HAS THE UNKNOWN CANCER MOSTLY IN THE LYMPH NODES AND SYLIVARY GLAND. HE HAS JUST RECIEVED HIS FIRST DOSE OF RED DEVIL AFTER A LONG SRUGGLE... HE CANT EAT PROPERLY AS HIS MUSCLES IN HIS FACE IS SWOLEN HE CANT SWALLOW BECAUSE OF THE RADIATION. ALL OF HIS FOOD MUST BE LIQUIDISED. HE IS ON HOME OXYGEN HIS RESPIRATION FALLS VERY QUICKLY. 3 DAYS AFTER HE RECIEVED THE RED DEVIL CHEMO HE START HAVING BLACK OUTS.
I am in remission from Leukemia (ALL) since April 10, 1990. Currently 48 years old. Healthy heart. However, I will never forget the red devil. Nastiest chemo I had. Other chemo had bad side effects but Adriamycin was without question the worst. It's crazy that something so bad can really be that great in the long run.
Almost 2 weeks after I had my second dose of Red Devil, I woke up with memory loss and did not know where I was, what day it was or that visitors had been during that time. I was also quite tearful. I went to sleep around lunchtime and woke up with a clear head and memory. This incident upset me very much as I do not know if it will occur again. I am concerned about driving, etc. Has anybody else had these systems?
The so-called Red Devil saved my life at 28 when i was diagnosed with advanced NHL. That was 25 years ago and today I am healthy and have three beautiful children. In my case I would have to say that was a good trade-off for the nausea, vomiting and other side effects. It's hard for me to complain about this drug...
I had adriamycon in 1980-1982 as part of a second attempt to get my Hodgkin's lymphoma stage 3 B in remission after MOPP chemo failure. I luckily didn't suffer heart effects from the drug. Today I am cured of this cancer and managed to become a doctor as well!
Blessings and healing to you all! I was diagnosed with stage ll breast cancer in 2013. January 2014 I had a lumpectomy for a 6 mm ductal carcinoma. As small as this tumor was, it was aggressive and got into one out of the 3 lymph nodes they removed after seeing that those nodes were the most likely to have cancer if it spread. I have gone through four rounds of A/C infusion and 10 rounds of Taxol chemo. After that 33 rounds of radiation. I too was very lucky, as I did quite well through it all. Yes, I had the hair loss, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, weird changes to my fingernails and even muscle and bone pain ( which strangely came on with my first few doses of radiation) Thankfully the muscle and bone pain was only overnight. I had a talk with God and said this is unbearable, I'm releasing this to you for healing. The next morning that was gone! I never lost my appetite, never got sick and always had energy and worked on my feet, all the way through my treatments. I know how toxic chemo is, but throughout it all I would repeat to myself " chemo is my friend, its cleansing my body of this vicious cancer now". I also went through treatment feeling grateful for the treatment and feeling so fortunate that they found this cancer, as even with technology, it was hard to see or feel, being so small. Small yes, but aggressive. I'm now a year out from treatment, other that the tamoxifen I am on. I do have tingly toes from the taxol, nothing unbearable. If I had to do it again I would definitely! It saved my life. Cancer is vicious and you need to treat it aggressively! So put on those pink boxing gloves and do your part next to the oncologists treatment and fight on!
I was diagnosed with triple neg breast cancer three yrs to the month my son was diagnosed with lymphoma. We both had taken the red devil and yes it is the devil. My son was only 22 and I was 47 so both of us were young and I was very fit. None of that seemed to matter.my son got mouth sores so badly he couldn't even swallow his own saliva,so he was hospitalized and put on a morphed pump. Sadly to say my son only lasted 5 months with treatment. I finished with six rounds of this devil along with two other chemos. I was very sick to stomach and had all ranges of stomach issues. With each round I was in bed 5-6 days. It's not something u can really describe unless u have been there and done that. I know I felt like I was living from behind a veil and yes by time it's ur next treatment (mine was every 21 days) that's just when ur starting to feel human. Since then I'm in remission but with a lot of after affects such as head to toe neuropathy! I have faith God has a bigger plan for me. My prayers and best wishes to all that has to go thru this.
I know chemotherapy is horrible, but it worked for me. They gave me Adriamycin, 5-Flourouracil, and Cytoxin for 6 months (after the mastectomy). The side effects were awful: nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores, and feeling sick. However, it has been 29 years, and thanks be to God, I am still here. Also, thanks to the support of my husband, other family and friends -- it's important to have your support group to endure it.
Next month I will be cancer free but I can never forget the horror that was AC chemo. I needed 4 rounds befor it changes to taxol..... Much better but after my last AC my dr said if you have even one more round of AC that will kill you not the cancer... Most horrific experience of my life but I'm here to tell the story.
My experience with red devil was in 2007. I suffered the same symptoms of other cancer patients, Red devil left me with a bad heart (cardiomyopathy). I have an ICD unit in place to help my heart function. However, I would rather have a bad heart than have cancer growing in my body any day. All praises be to God for leading me to and guiding the doctors of TX Oncology in Dallas, TX- my breast cancer is completely gone. And in the name of Jesus- gone to stay. God Bless LB
I am genuinely sorry for the people who have heart issues following treatment with the Red Devil Adriamycin as well as those who didn't make it through treatment. I went through 4 hellacious treatments of the Red Devil and it is surreal and scary to say the least. However, people do need to remember that in the cases where people had late stage cancer, they were being treated with something very aggressive to hopefully extend their life and/or cure them of what the cancer that was DEFINITELY going to kill them. There are scary decisions to make and in late stage cancer, the body is so weakened that even the best intentioned medical procedures can cause death. There is no way of knowing that the late stage cancer wouldn't have caused a major health episode or death that differed from what the red devil caused. The red devil is used because it has helped and cured more people than it has hurt and because we who went through it and survived knew that our choice was to be shot in the head and die for sure or have our leg shattered and live with some discomfort and pain. We are not humpty dumpty and the parts don't go back together perfectly. I didn't ask people to save my life and then expect that there wouldn't be unfortunate consequences for the medications and procedures needed to accomplish that. Those medications and procedures get better every day but today this is what is available to us. Other chemos do not work as effectively for the cancers that adriamycin is used for so to say, use another chemo instead of this one, is like saying sometimes a seatbeat decapitates a person so don't use a seatbelt, when it saves more lives than it takes.
I started my 2nd (three day session) round of intravenous MVAC, for bladder cancer. The red devil is one o the drugs. They give me anti-nausea drugs first, plus I have prescribed anti-nausea drugs to take on days 3&4. I make every effort to drink at least 100 oz. of water every day. This to save the liver and kidneys. My heart was tested before the first session (echocardiogram) found to be strong at 90%. I'm 66 yo. (Must be the hard work and bourbon). I've had only mild side effects; mild hic-ups for one day, fatigue sets in sooner than normal. I can usually go all day long before this. Nothing else. My labs today showed my red & white blood cells lower than before the the first session. That was expected. They give drug on day three to counteract that, but I guess it has its limitations.
The loss of strong heart function is the one thing that scares me. I'm a very active person. I'm saddened to read about those who have died or suffered a lessened quality of life. Please don't give up.
I don't believe God allowed me to survive all the things I've experienced, and all the times I should have been killed to go out like this. I still believe he has another mission for me. Thanks to y'all, I will keep my Dr at Baylor (Sammons cancer center) in Dallas, checking the heart. Keep your spirits up. Laughter is the best medicine. So maintain your sense of humor, no matter how bad it gets. Lord I ask that you not help to still my pain, but to make stronger to fight that which causes it. Never give up, never never never give up. Of the two Dr's I have at Baylor, both are the best in town and specialize in bladder cancer.
But my third Dr is the absolute best. She is my beautiful yellow rose of Texas. I don't think I could do this without her. She has no medical training, but an incredible healing heart. You need to not shy away from those who offer support. I don't like to owe anyone. But this is totally different. Let them surround you. They're not asking for anything in return. But who knows, you may get the opportunity to return the goodness. Friends are stars, you don't always see them, but you know they are there. Happy Trails.... May the good Lord take a liking to you. Szczinator
I am five years in remission from non hodgkins lymphoma. I had Red Devil and several other Chemo treatments. I have lasting side effects, but I am still alive. My only grandchild was 22 months old when I was diagnosed and I was crushed that she would never know me. I have had some good quality time with her and I thank God for that. I also thank my oncologist and his staff for good care. With God's goodnes and grace, I hope to spend more time with family.
Stay Connected With Caring.com
Get news & tips via e-mail