Highlights for mitoxantrone
Mitoxantrone is an injection chemotherapy drug. It’s used to treat multiple sclerosis and certain types of cancer.
Mitoxantrone is given by a healthcare provider. It’s usually given once every three months for about 2 to 3 years, but this can be different for each person.
This drug can cause heart damage during therapy and even years after therapy is over. Talk to your doctor about evaluating your risk factors.
Mitoxantrone may harm a fetus or breastfeeding baby. You should not become pregnant or breastfeed while taking the drug.
The most common side effects of mitoxantrone are nausea, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, hair loss, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, mouth sores, and loss of menstrual periods.
What is mitoxantrone?
Mitoxantrone is an injected drug. It is only given by a healthcare provider in a clinical setting.
When treating prostate cancer and nonlymphocytic leukemia, this drug is used as a combination therapy. For advanced prostate cancer, it’s used with steroids as initial chemotherapy. It’s used together with other drugs to treat acute nonlymphocytic leukemia in people older than 18 years.
Why it's used
Mitoxantrone is used to reduce problems associated with secondary (chronic) progressive, progressive relapsing, or worsening relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. It’s also used to reduce pain related to advanced hormone refractory prostate cancer and to treat acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
How it works
This medication works in different ways to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia and prostate cancer.
In MS, immune cells damage the protective covering of nerves.
mitoxantrone Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of mitoxantrone include:
sudden hair loss
loss of menstrual periods
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
decreased ability to make blood cells. Symptoms may include:
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
congestive heart failure. Symptoms may include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of your legs or ankles
- sudden weight gain
- uneven or fast heartbeat
Mitoxantrone does not cause drowsiness.
Common side effects can normally be treated by your doctor.
Mitoxantrone is dark blue in color, and it may turn your urine a blue-green color. It may also turn the whites of your eyes a little blue for a few days after each dose. This effect will go away.
mitoxantrone May Interact with Other Medications
Mitoxantrone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take mitoxantrone (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.
If You Stop Receiving this Drug
Your disease may become worse and your symptoms may return.
If You Miss a Dose
If you miss a dose, your symptoms can return and your disease could get worse. It’s important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor if you’re unable to keep an appointment.
If You Take Too Much
If you take too much, you can experience more side effects, including more serious infections, heart problems, and even death.
What to Do If You Miss a Dose
It’s important not to miss your dose. If you’re unable to keep a dosing appointment, call your doctor.
How to Tell the Drug Is Working
You may be able to tell the drug is working for MS if your symptoms don’t get worse and you have fewer flare-ups.
You’re doctor will do tests to see how well the drug is working for cancer treatment.
This is a long-term treatment.
- Novantrone: mitoxantrone for injection concentrate. (2015, March). Retrieved from
- Patient information: Novantrone: Mitoxantrone for injection concentrate. (2005, April). Retrieved from
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 29, 2015