Liposomal doxorubicin


Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil) is a type of anthracycline chemotherapy. It is the chemotherapy medicine doxorubicin (Adriamycin) covered in a fatty layer called a liposome.

How doxorubicin works

Doxorubicin damages the DNA inside the cancer cells. The damage stops the cells from dividing, which causes them to die.

In liposomal doxorubicin, the fatty layer surrounding the doxorubicin decreases the risk of the chemotherapy weakening your heart muscle.

Who gets liposomal doxorubicin

Liposomal doxorubicin is FDA approved to treat metastatic breast cancer. You and your doctor will discuss the best chemotherapy treatment for your situation.

How liposomal doxorubicin is given

Doxorubicin is given by vein. It is typically given once every 3-4 weeks, though the exact schedule may vary depending on your particular situation.

Side effects

Different medicines have different side effects. You may not have every side effect related to each medicine. Side effects of liposomal doxorubicin include:

Be sure to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the counter-medicines, to make sure they will not interfere with your chemotherapy treatment.

Liposomal doxorubicin can rarely cause damage to the heart muscle that may lead to congestive heart failure, when the heart muscle weakens and doesn’t pump blood well. Let your doctor know if you have a history of heart problems.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so that they can help you manage them. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.



Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Adrienne Gropper Waks, MD


Was this page helpful?