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What is Mitoxantrone?

By Debra Durkee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Mitoxantrone is the generic name of a medication used in the treatment of different types of cancer. Administered via an injection, the drug has been found to slow the spread of cancer cells throughout the body. It is also sold under the brand name Novantrone®.

The drug is commonly used as part of a larger treatment plan for several types of cancer. It has been successful in the treatment of prostate cancer as well as some types of blood cancers and leukemia. Mitoxantrone acts by slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Some medical professionals will also prescribe it for individuals in varying, advancing stages of multiple sclerosis or for those with relapsing cases. In individuals with multiple sclerosis, mitoxantrone has been found to reduce the impact of the condition on the brain. It has also been found to decrease the frequency between occurrences in those with relapsing illness.

Administration of the drug is generally done by medical professionals in a clinical setting. Other tests are generally conducted to monitor the body's response to the drug, as it can have a number of side effects. Mitoxantrone can suppress the immune system, making an individual more susceptible to colds and illness. During treatment with the drug, the patient's heart rate is typically constantly monitored to ensure there is no cardiac reaction to the medication. Not all side effects are instantly recognizable, and the longer the treatment lasts, the more susceptible a person becomes to developing heart conditions as a response to the treatment.

Individuals with already compromised immune systems may not be good candidates for treatment with mitoxantrone. Those who have been diagnosed with cardiac issues may also not be eligible because of the drug's possible heart-related side effects. A woman who is pregnant can also not be given mitoxantrone, as it can be dangerous for the baby.

As the drug is given via an injection inserted directly into a vein, some individuals can manifest symptoms such as bruising, bleeding or soreness around the injection area. These are typically no worse than symptoms associated with any other injection or blood draw. Once it is in the system, mitoxantrone can also cause urine and eyes to turn blue-green, a harmless side effect that typically does not last long. Individuals may become susceptible to illness because of the lowering of the immune system capabilities, and blood tests are usually performed frequently to ensure there are no other adverse reactions within the body. Some medical professionals may request continued appointments to make sure there are no long-term effects from the drug.

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