• How is oral chemo handled and what are the side effects?

    Asked by pigeon on Monday, November 28, 2011

    How is oral chemo handled and what are the side effects?

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • lebeau22's Avatar

      Hi Pigeon, I'm guessing that all of the drugs are slightly different in their side effects but I can give you some perspective from the one I'm on. It is called sorafenib or brand name Nexavar. They are pills that I take daily in the morning and evening on an empty stomach. In my case I found that the side effects came on after approximately 2 weeks and they changed over time and then after 5 months on the medicine they started to really tone done.

      I think the biggest and most challenging side effect for me in the hand/foot syndrome. This has many stages and definitely impacts people differently. Mine started with tingling and numbness in hands/feet and then progressed into the skin peeling off (similar to a sunburn peel) which then progressed in to slight blistering and then callouses. There were times when it was difficult to walk because of the tenderness. I found a big key to be finding a good moisturizer and using it constantly as well as finding comfortable shoes to wear. Crocs worked the best for me.

      I also had a list of other side effects that have come and gone. There were mouth sores in the beginning as well as a rash that broke out on my face. I also lot a good amount of hair but that has slowly started to grow again.

      The other big side effect is the toll it takes on the GI tract and results in stomach cramping and/or diarrhea. This did not set-in for me until around month 5 but for others it can be much sooner. There are things you can take to help manage it and also making alterations to your diet can help. But, either way it is something that is an inconvenience and you don't have a lot of control over when it's going to happen.

      Some people tend to have fatigue associated with the medicine. This is something I haven't experienced much of but it would not surprise if someone said they did.

      With all of that said, I have seen positive results from this treatment and do not feel that the side effects were anything that I couldn't handle. It's also helped to know that after a few months things would start to improve.

      Hope that helps and best of luck!


      almost 5 years ago
    • stillkickin's Avatar

      Pigeon - While I am on a different oral chemo drug than Michelle (Xeloda), the side effects that I have dealt with are basically the same as Michelle's.

      Although I have been spared the hand/foot issues, which are a potential side effect of Xeloda, I have had plenty of the GI tract issues, as well as fatigue. I average 10 hours of sleep a night now, where previously 7 to 8 hours would have been plenty.

      My medication is taken differently than Michelle's. I take Xeloda morning and evening for 7 days, then stop for 7 days, then another 7 days of the drug. I like taking it that way, as it gives my body a chance to "rest" from the medication.

      I have had great results from the Xeloda, and my past 2 CT scans have shown no obvious signs of cancer. That's about as good as it gets.

      Good luck with your own treatment.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ScrappysWife's Avatar

      Hi Pigeon,

      Like others have said, the side effects will vary depending on what type of chemo you are on. My husband is on Temodar (160mg taken before bed with compazine). So far, compazine has controlled nausea. He does have fatigue.

      Best of luck with the treatment.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Karen4's Avatar

      I'm on Revlimid which I take at night. That was suggested since it can have some side effects which include fatigue. Sometimes I get a little tingling in my hands and feet, but thankfully it goes away. My skin is really dry, so that's something I'm trying to manage with the right combination of oils and other 'greasy' mediums, but it remains a challenge. Now that winter weather is setting in, it will be even more of a challenge.

      Now, prior to my stem cell transplant, I was on oral chemo consisting of Revlimid, Thalomid and Dexamethasone. The first two caused fatigue, but the DEXA--oooh, the Dexa-I hate it because it made me stupid, ansty, unable to sleep without a sleeping aid, and then the crash an burn on the days I came off of it were just as bad. It's a kicker and I hope I never, ever have to take it again! However, it seems to be a part of just about all chemo regimes, at least from those I have talked to with blood cancers similar to mine.

      Like a previous answer I read-it depends on what chemo you will be taking what the side effects will be, and your oncologist should be explaining all that to you. I know mine gave me print outs of information about each of my meds, but I wouldalways go and look up more information on the internet, but only sites I felt were reliable, so be careful what you read. Ask your doctor or nurse for more information. Providing that information to you up front should be standard practice, but it not, ASK. Never be afraid to ask your care team for whatever it is you need. You are fighting cancer-there are no stupid questions, and it's ok to be a pest!!! It's YOUR life and YOUR treatment. As it says in the LIVESTRONG manifesto-knowledge is power! The more you know, the better, then you know what to focus on and what your options are. Good luck! (If you give us the names of the drugs you'll be on, we can help a little more with anecdotal information.) Hang in there!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Amanda30's Avatar

      I take Etoposide 100 mg every day for 21 days, and then 7 days off. My side effects are fatigue, anemia, and very mild nausea. This capsule form of treatment has been much easier than when I was getting chemo via IV every 3 weeks and took a week to recover. I am still fatigued, but I am able to work and do light cleaning and light exercise.

      almost 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar

      Iam on Xeloda also on I.V chemo Her2 and forget the other but my side effects are very slight. Xeloda 14 days on 7 days off. Of course I'm a little more tired and my hair is thinning but other than that not bad. So try to wait and see what your side effects are before getting worried about them. Good Luck to you.

      almost 5 years ago

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