Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
Please read this leaflet carefully before treatment with ZAVEDOS.
This leaflet answers some common questions about this medicine.
It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking
to your doctor.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking
ZAVEDOS against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Please keep this leaflet.
You may need to read it again.
What ZAVEDOS is used for
ZAVEDOS is used to treat a type of leukaemia in adults known as AML (acute myelogenous
leukaemia). It works by stopping cancer cells from growing and multiplying.
ZAVEDOS may be used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why ZAVEDOS has been prescribed for
Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.
ZAVEDOS is only available with a doctor's prescription.
It is not addictive.
Before treatment with ZAVEDOS
When ZAVEDOS must not be used
Do not take ZAVEDOS if you have an allergy to:
any medicine containing idarubicin hydrochloride
other similar medicines for cancer, e.g., daunorubicin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, mitozantrone
any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to ZAVEDOS may include:
shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
rash, itching or hives on the skin
Do not take the medicine if you have:
severe kidney problems
severe liver problems
severe heart problems including heart failure, abnormal heart beat or a recent heart
a severe infection, with signs such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth
reduced number of red or white blood cells or platelets
previously received the full course of treatment with the maximum dose of idarubicin
or other similar medicines, e.g., daunorubicin, doxorubicin, epirubicin, mitozantrone.
Do not take the medicine if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Do not take the medicine if your partner is trying to become pregnant.
This medicine may cause birth defects if you or your partner is taking it.
Do not take the medicine if you are breastfeeding or intend to breastfeed.
It is not known whether ZAVEDOS can pass into the breast milk and affect the child.
If you have any concerns about breastfeeding, consult your doctor.
Do not take ZAVEDOS after the expiry date printed on the pack, or if the packaging
is torn or shows signs of tampering.
If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
Before treatment with ZAVEDOS
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives
Tell your doctor if you have:
had previous treatment with ZAVEDOS or any other chemotherapy
had previous radiation therapy
had a bone marrow transplant
bone marrow depression, a blood disorder with low platelet, red blood and white blood
infection or high temperature, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
stomach ulcers, or vomiting blood or bleeding from the back passage.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including those you buy without
a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food store.
Some medicines and ZAVEDOS may interfere with each other. These include:
other medicines for cancer
some medicines for heart problems, including calcium channel blockers, used to treat
high blood pressure and angina
certain medicines that may affect your liver and kidney function, e.g. some antibiotics
These medicines may increase some side effects of ZAVEDOS including the effects on
the heart, blood cells, the stomach or bowels, and reduce the body's ability to fight
If you are concerned about taking any other medications whilst having ZAVEDOS treatment,
ask your doctor or pharmacist.
They have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking ZAVEDOS.
Treatment with ZAVEDOS
How to take ZAVEDOS Capsules
Take the capsules exactly as instructed by your doctor.
Before taking ZAVEDOS, examine the capsules to make sure they are intact.
Swallow the capsules whole with a glass of water.
The capsules should not be opened, sucked, bitten or chewed.
Wash your hands immediately after taking the medicine.
If the powder inside the capsules accidentally has direct contact with your mouth,
skin or eye, wash the area immediately and thoroughly with water.
Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you exactly how much to take.
When to take ZAVEDOS capsules
ZAVEDOS capsules may be taken with a light meal.
Only take your dose on the days agreed with your doctor or pharmacist.
Take the capsules at about the same time of day.
This will have the best effect and also help you to remember when to take the medicine.
How long to take ZAVEDOS capsules
ZAVEDOS is usually taken for 3 days.
Continue taking the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to.
ZAVEDOS Solution for Injection
ZAVEDOS injection will be prepared in a hospital and given to you by a doctor or nurse.
It is given as a slow intravenous injection, usually on 3 consecutive days. If other
cancer medicines are to be given in combination with ZAVEDOS, further days of treatment
may be involved. This is called an induction course.
Another course of treatment may be needed depending on your response to treatment.
Additional treatment will not be repeated until your blood returns to acceptable levels
and any unwanted effects have been controlled.
Inform your doctor or nurse immediately if pain, redness or swelling develops at the
If you take or are given too much (overdose)
Overdose may result in nausea, vomiting, bleeding from the stomach.
Very high doses of ZAVEDOS may cause severe damage to the heart within 24 hours and
may seriously affect the production of new red and white blood cells within 1 or 2
Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone 131
126) or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you think you or
anyone else may have been treated with too much ZAVEDOS. Do this even if there are
no signs of discomfort or poisoning.
You will need urgent medical attention.
While you are being treated with ZAVEDOS
Things you must do
Keep all appointments with your doctor so that your progress can be checked.
ZAVEDOS lowers the number of white blood cells and platelets in your blood. This means
that you have an increased chance of getting an infection or bleeding.
Medicines such as ZAVEDOS are also known to affect the heart particularly at high
doses and after a long period of treatment.
Regular tests to monitor your blood count, kidney and liver function, and your heart
will be required before, during and after treatment.
Tell your doctor immediately if you or your partner becomes pregnant while you are
taking or just after you stop taking ZAVEDOS.
The medicine may cause birth defects if you or your partner is taking it.
Use a proven method of birth control, such as the contraceptive pill or a condom,
while taking the medicine and for at least 12 weeks after stopping treatment.
Tell any other doctors, dentists or pharmacists who treat you that you are taking
If you are about to be started on any new medicine, remind your doctor, dentist or
pharmacist that you are being treated with ZAVEDOS. If you are going to have surgery,
tell the surgeon, anaesthetist or dentist that you are using this medicine.
Things you must not do
Do not stop taking ZAVEDOS, or change the dose, unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not start to take any other medicine before talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not use this medicine to treat any other conditions unless your doctor tells you
Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as
Things to be careful of
Special care should be taken if it is necessary that you drive or operate machinery
while undergoing treatment with ZAVEDOS, especially if you are in a weakened condition.
Take the following precautions to reduce your risk of infection or bleeding:
Avoid people who have infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think
you may be getting an infection, or if you get a fever, chills, cough, hoarse throat,
lower back or side pain or find it painful or difficult to urinate
Be careful when using a toothbrush, toothpick or dental floss. Your doctor, dentist,
nurse or pharmacist may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check
with your doctor before having any dental work
Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a razor or
Avoid contact sports or other situations where you may bruise or get injured.
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well during or after treatment
All medicines can have side effects. This medicine may have unwanted side effects
in a few people. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may
need medical attention if you get some of the side effects. Most of the side effects
listed below are reversible.
Do not be alarmed by the following list of side effects. You may not experience any
Ask your doctor to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following:
red coloured urine for 1-2 days after treatment (this is normal and is no cause for
nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite
stomach pain and discomfort
mouth ulcers, redness and irritation of the throat and mouth with difficulty in swallowing
skin changes such as darker areas of the skin and nails
loss of hair
The above list includes the milder side effects of your medicine.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
allergic reaction (swelling of the face, lips and tongue or other parts of the body,
shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing)
skin rash, itching. redness of the skin or hives
signs of infection such as fever, chills, cough or mouth ulcers
signs of anaemia such as headaches, shortness of breath when exercising, dizziness,
bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
shock due to a dangerous drop in blood pressure which may lead to collapse and coma
- signs include rapid, shallow breathing, cold, clammy skin, a rapid, weak pulse,
dizziness, weakness and fainting
signs of sepsis or blood poisoning such as high fever, chills, headache, confusion,
chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, fast heartbeat
shortness of breath, swelling in the feet or legs due to fluid build-up
vomiting blood or bleeding from the back passage, black sticky bowel motions (stools)
or bloody diarrhoea
swelling and redness along a vein which is extremely tender when touched, clotting
in a vein if you are being treated with ZAVEDOS solution for injection.
The above list includes serious side effects that may require urgent medical attention.
Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.
Some of these side effects (for example, an increase in liver enzyme levels, high
blood levels of uric acid) can only be found when your doctor does tests from time
to time to check your progress.
After using ZAVEDOS
Keep ZAVEDOS capsules in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.
Do not store ZAVEDOS or any other medicines in the bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave it in the car or on window sills on hot days.
Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep your ZAVEDOS capsules where children cannot reach them.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place
to store medicines.
Solution for injection
ZAVEDOS solution for injection is normally stored in a hospital.
ZAVEDOS solution for injection is stored in the refrigerator between 2 to 8°C. (Refrigerate.
Do not freeze.). Protect from light.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or the expiry date has passed,
return any remaining capsules to the pharmacist or the hospital for disposal.
Any remaining injection will be disposed by the nurse or doctor at the hospital.
What it looks like
The 5 mg capsules are red-orange (cap and body of capsules) and have "idarubicin 5"
printed on the cap in black ink. The capsules contain an orange powder.
Zavedos is packed in glass bottles, each containing 1 capsule.
Solution for Injection
ZAVEDOS Solution for injection is available in two different sizes: 5 mg/5 mL and
10 mg/10 mL It is a red-orange coloured solution contained in a plastic vial.
ZAVEDOS capsules and solution for injection contain idarubicin hydrochloride as the
ZAVEDOS capsules also contains microcrystalline cellulose, glyceryl palmito-stearate,
titanium dioxide, gelatin and TekPrint SW-9008 black ink.
ZAVEDOS injection also contains glycerol, hydrochloric acid and water as inactive
Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd
Toll free number: 1800 675 229.
Australian Registration numbers
5 mg capsules, AUST R 73516.
5 mg/5 mL Solution for injection, AUST R 67397.
10 mg/10 mL Solution for injection, AUST R 67398.
This leaflet was revised in December 2019.
© Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd
® Registered Trademark