FEC and Docetaxel - side effects

I’m about to have my 3rd cycle of FEC and I really struggle with it … I vomit the first night and nausea last for about 4/5 days not to mention the chronic fatigue… I am worried about the side effects of Docetaxel, is it worse or not as bad? … FEC for me is bad enough ?.. can anyone share their experience… thank you

Hi sorry to hear you’re having such s bad time on FEC. I had 3cycles of this and have to admit it was relatively easy on me but have just come through my first round of docetaxel and it knocked me for six. I suffered with no bowel movement for 6 days even though I was taking untold amounts of laxatives, intense back, abdo & leg pain for 4days (eased now but still got stiffness & aching) peripheral neuropathy fingers & soles of feet (still got it 19 days in ) oral thrush day 7 (still suffering now) Daktarin & nystatin didn’t work so now on fluconazole, nose bleeds as irritation & inflammation in nostrils. Have never felt so helpless and pathetic and so low. Saw oncologist today & moving to weekly cycles on reduced dosage to try to ease side effects. Everyone is different and you may hear some horror stories but doesn’t mean you’ll suffer the same. Take each day as it comes and try to remember why you’re putting yourself through it. Trying to stay positive even in the darkest days will help. Don’t suffer in silence, talking helps (screaming into a pillow is a good one too just to rid yourself of the frustration.) hope things improve for you soon my next chemo is Thursday so fingers crossed I’m hoping it goes well :relaxed:

Hi, I’ve just had my third FEC and like you have struggled.  Very sick first time but after that they gave me a drug called emend which stopped the vomiting although I still felt sick.  Also completely wiped out.  My bloods struggle to recover in time for the next chemo and it’s been touch and go whether they have given me the second and third lots - because I’ve been well they’ve gone ahead.  I’m with you in feeling anxious about the effects of T and how I’ll cope - I suppose we just have to try and focus on the end result. :smileyfrustrated:

Hi Alibali50,


I had nausea and vomting all through FEC. When I started Tax I was told it would stop but I didn’t even make it through the first infusion without throwing up.That was with Emend (and other drugs).


Can you talk to someone at yout clinic and get some better drugs? I had to be very insistant with mine as they seemed to try one thing at a time and then run out of ideas. 


In the end we did hit on a good combo but even now it’s months after chemo stopped and I still get sick when I have an empty stomach.


Metoclopramide was making the sickness worse for me and had lots of side effects.


It’s going to be very individual I think. Cyclizine was good for me but best when mixed with other drugs from the list. Your clinic or GP will be able to advise on what is safe.


This is the list I took to my clinic. In my case I had to mix drugs from the different groups to get a combo that helped.


  • Cinnarizine, cyclizine, promethazine - these medicines belong to a group of medicines called antihistamines. The exact way that they work is not fully understood. It is thought that antihistamines block histamine 1 (H1) receptors in the area of the brain which creates nausea in response to chemicals in the body. They are thought to work well for nausea caused by a number of conditions including ear problems and motion (travel) sickness.
  • Hyoscine - this medicine works by blocking a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. It is a type of medicine called an antimuscarinic (or anticholinergic). It works well for nausea caused by ear problems and motion sickness.
  • Chlorpromazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, prochlorperazine, levomepromazine- these medicines work by blocking a chemical in the brain called dopamine. They are useful for nausea that is caused by some cancers, radiation, and opiate medicines such as morphine and codeine. Prochlorperazine (or brand name Stemetil®) is one of the most used medicines for nausea. It works for many causes of nausea, including vertigo, ear problems and sickness in pregnancy.
  • Metoclopramide - this medicine works directly on your gut. It eases the feelings of sickness by helping to empty the stomach and speed up how quickly food moves through the gut. It is often used for people with sickness due to gut problems or migraine. It is not usually used for more than a few days.
  • Domperidone - this medicine works on the CTZ. It also speeds up the emptying of the gut. It is not usually used for more than a few days.
  • Dexamethasone - this is a steroid medicine. It is a man-made version of a natural hormone produced by your own body. Dexamethasone has a wide range of actions on many parts of the body. The reason why it reduces nausea isn’t clear.
  • Granisetron, ondansetron, and palonosetron - these medicines work by blocking a chemical called serotonin (5-HT) in the gut, and the brain. Serotonin (5-HT) has an action in the gut and the brain to cause nausea. These medicines are useful for controlling nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
  • Aprepitant and fosaprepitant - these are newer medicines and work by blocking a chemical that acts on neurokinin receptors in the body to cause nausea. They are sometimes called neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists. They are usually given to people on a certain type of chemotherapy.
  • Nabilone - it is still not clear how this medicine works to control nausea. It is normally prescribed for people who are having chemotherapy.