Heartburn treatment - FEC 75?

Hi there,
My Mum had her first chemo on Monday and is on FEC 75. About 3 days after she started getting hellish heartburn and is in a lot of discomfort with it.
I just wondered if anyone else experieces this and, if so, is it ok for her to take Gaviscon/Rennies/Zantac for relief? She is too scared to take anything in case she shouldn’t. If Mum shouldn’t take any of these commercial solutions, is there any natural methos for relieving the heartburn? ( She shouldn’t really take bicarbanate of soda…)

Any help would be appreciated

Lisa xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I really do sympathise as this started for me after my last chemo. So called natural remedies like bicarb of soda can actually make things worse in the longer term. Reducing things like coffee, chocolate, fatty and spicy food and too much fruit may help. With food it’s a bit of trial and error to see what makes it worse. Not lying down for at least an hour preferably longer after eating helps too.

The best thing is for her to get something from her GP. Most likely this will be what is called a proton pump inhibitor (to reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces) such as omeprazole or lansoprazole. These have shown to be the most effective but are not available over the counter.

If she is reluctant to go the GP then give her chemo unit a call and check it’s okay for her take gaviscon or rennies - they should be able to advise.


Acid reflux has been the worst side effect for me and started with the very first fec, also on 75. Onc. prescribed me omeprazole (you can buy this from a pharmacy) which I take at night and now have been advised to take am as well, just coming up to number 4. I have a drink of warm milk at bedtime and take the omeprazole 30minutes later. The milk eases the heartburn and the omeprazole lowers the acid produced at night so I can at least gets some sleep though I do sleep with 3 pillows so that I am not lying flat. During the day as an immediate relief try cream crackers and water. They really help with soaking up immediately the excess acid and the water dilutes it. I never go out without taking both with me but contact the chemo unit on Monday as they like to know all se’s we have so can make any changes needed ready for next chemo.
Hope this helps your mum

Hadn’t realised omeprazole was available over the counter. Wouldn’t take it though without speaking to a doctor or chemo unit first. Also remember prescriptions are free for those undergoing cancer treatment so if your mum doesn’t have an exemption certificate she should get one. I’ve been on omeprazole (and domperidone) for quite a few months now so it will add up cost wise if you buy over the counter.

I too suffer from acid reflux. At the moment Gaviscon Advance is what works for me.(I’ve been taking omeprazole, but stopped working)
I’m having Carboplatin chemo & the chemo nurse told me it was ok to continue with Gaviscon, but I would still check first.
Definitely agree with Elinda that reducing some foods helps, it’s def trial & error re this! Fruit, which I used to eat tons of, seems to be one of the worst offenders.
I’ve raised my bed by putting a brick on each side of the head end, this has also helped.

Hope your mum finds a solution, it’s a horrible feeling!

Sandra x

Lansarapole worked liked magic for me immediately. Hoe it helps your mum

Hiya, When I was on FEC I suffered heartburn too,I hadnt then joined our happy throng on here and didnt realise you were allowed anything other than Gaviscon. My best remedy at the time was a half pot of Greek yoghurt with honey on it every day after lunch and my evening meal,theres one called Total thats 0% fat so it wouldnt do much harm weight-wise,get your mum a couple of pots,wont do her any harm and won`t break the bank,it used to feel like a fire extinguisher in my throat. Good luck, Mags xx

i had heart burn on FEC, too ( i finished in Feb), have your mum told her onc team about it? I had ranitidine tablets, and lansoprozole.

Hi, I had terrible heartburn last week after FEC the week before. I struggled for a couple of days, tried gaviscon, but in the end contacted my chemo nurse. She got me a prescription for Omeprazole. It worked really quickly! Only take one tablet a day, and have had no trouble since.
Hope it settles for your mum Lisa. x

I’m on FEC-T chemo started my first chemo yesterday and have got terrible heartburn / indigestion can I take gaviscon

Hi I’m day 11 after 1st fec and I’m crippled with heart burn and indigestion. Doesn’t seem to matter what eat or how carefully either. Huff.
And my skin is so ichy too.
Much love to anyone else that’s suffering.xx

I have a history of acid indigestion that predates chemo and take meds regularly for it.  My top tips (beside take all the drugs you’re prescribed!) are the following:

  • avoid fatty food, especially butter - dietary fat can slow down gastrointestinal muscles
  • melons (especially watermelon) and coconut water are fabulous for soothing that horrid acid feeling.  Fruit is generally acidic but these are not.  Aparently  bananas are also good but I hate them so can’t speak from experience!
  • Carbohydrate snacks like bread, crackers, oatcakes are good.
  • avoid fizzy drinks - even water.  The bubbles ‘burp’ the acid back into the oesphagus.
  • go to bed at least 2 to 3 hours after eating, that way your stomach is empty.  If lying down still causes problems, consider raising the head of the bed or using extra pillows to wedge yourself more upright.
  • tea and coffee are gastric irritants so limit or avoid them.  Herbal ‘teas’ are better, especially camomille and fennel.  Ginger or peppermint are great but don’t drink them to excess otherwise they will cause the problem.
  • Milk can be helpful but I haven’t found it so
  • Ask for help as it is a miserable thing and so painful and much can be done to alleviate it.

Hope that helps

B x