Novantrone, generically known as mitoxatrone, is prescribed to treat cancer by slowing the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is also thought to affect the immune system and has been prescribed to treat relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as well. This anti-cancer drug was approved by the FDA in 2000 to treat MS, but was approved to treat cancer earlier than that.

In one study, four out of 124 patients developed diminished left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) after taking Novantrone. Another study found that two percent of patients experienced LVEF, while a third study found that 0.44% of patients died from congestive heart failure after taking the drug.

In 2005, Novantrone’s label was updated to warn doctors about the risks and advise that doctors monitor a patient’s heart before and after a Novantrone dose. It has also been stated that patients should not take Novantrone for an extended period of time because it could prove toxic.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heart rate
  • Severe or ongoing nausea or diarrhea
  • Black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion
  • Swelling, rapid weight gain
  • Urinating more or less than usual
  • Chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing
  • Skin changes where the medicine was injected

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Mild nausea, mild diarrhea, constapation
  • Heartburn, stomach pain
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Runny nose
  • Tired feeling
  • Depressed mood
  • Blue-green colored urine or a bluish color of the whites of the eyes for a few days after each dose

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