Continued Heart Monitoring Advised during and after Novantrone® (mitoxantrone) treatment

This message was developed as part of a collaboration with FDA’s Safe Use Initiative, the Veterans Administration, professional experts, professional organizations, patient advocacy organizations and private insurers.

It is now known that mitoxantrone can harm your heart’s pumping action. This harm can show up while you are being treated with the medicine or many years later. To be sure it is working well, your heart needs to be tested before you are treated with mitoxantrone and every year thereafter, even after you stop using mitoxantrone. If the testing shows your heart needs some help, the sooner you get treatment, the better for your health.

Your family history, other conditions you have and medicines you use, and your age can also affect your heart’s ability to pump blood. If your heart cannot pump well, it needs to work harder and this puts extra stress on your heart. Over time, this extra stress weakens your heart and can lead to a heart attack, heart failure, and death.

The danger is you might not feel differently or have any signs your heart is not working well. The usual tests you have at office visits, such as blood tests, pulse, and blood pressure, alone cannot show if your heart is working properly.

The only way to make sure your heart keeps working the best it can is to have a test every year that looks at how well your heart pumps. A medical expert such as a cardiologist needs to look at the results of that test, along with your history and usual office tests. By comparing these tests from year to year, the expert will be able to see if your heart is staying the same or if it needs some treatment.

Every year you must ask your primary healthcare provider for a test to check how your heart is working. There are different ones, such as the electrocardiogram (ECG) or multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan. Your primary healthcare provider will help you decide which is best for you. None of the tests are painful. Getting your heart tested every year keeps you in charge of your health.