The Red Devil

// June 13th, 2011 // Blog Posts

I had to chuckle when I started researching these drugs i’m being injected with. This one bag they hung on the IV pole caught my eye with it’s beautiful ruby red color. Wikipedia to the rescue. The drug is Doxorubicin, AKA, Adriamycin.

Adriamycin – AKA, The Red Devil

Back in the 50’s, some Italians were playing in the dirt making mudpies and such around an old 13th century castle – Castle del Monte. They found some strain of Streptomyces peucetius, which produced a red pigment, and an antibiotic was produced from this strain that had good activity against rat tumors (henceforth this concoction will be referred to as “Rat Juice” according to my friend Shawn Veader). Some frenchmen seemed to have a parallel discovery so the fellas got together and named their discovery to honor both nationalities. Daunorubicin it would be called; Dauni, for the pre-Roman tribe that occupied the area of Italy where the compound was isolated, and rubis for the french word for ruby, which describes the color. By the 60’s clinical trials were going on to treat acute leukemia and lymphoma. Small hiccup – helping the cancer, but killing the heart.

The Italians went back to work, jiggled some things around, switched up the recipe, and produced a new version of the antibiotic – still red and still a heart killer. They got a little fancy and gave it a new name – Adriamycin, in honor of the Adriatic Sea. But when the medical folks got a hold of it they insisted on a name that conformed to naming standards and the drug was named doxorubicin.

So anyways, the drug is most definitely red, and as you can imagine, it comes out red in urine – thats a site to see! And its called “The Red Devil” or “Red Death” because it has such aggressive side effects – but the most concerning is the cardiotoxic effects. When the cumulative dose of doxorubicin reaches 550 mg/m², the risks of developing cardiac side effects, including CHF, dilated cardiomyopathy, and death, dramatically increase.

I’ve got a great heart, physically and lovingly so I think I can take a bite out of the old Red Death.

3 Responses to “The Red Devil”

  1. Sue says:

    Red is a four-letter word. !*@#

  2. Mom says:

    So what will your dosage reach. 

  3. Lori says:

    You are going to have to add “Researcher” to your long list of creds!! Hope tomorrow is better!