How long does it take to administer FEC?

Hi there,

I just wanted to find out what the ‘normal’ amount of time it takes to inject the FEC. I had FEC no. 1 over about 2 hours. No problems at all and felt a bit sicky about 5 hours later. It took about 50 mins to administer FEC no. 2 and within one hour felt sicky, my heart rate went up to 140, temp up to 38 and the bad shakes (my whole body shook uncontrollably for 10 mins). I had IV antibiotics over 24 hours, and blood cultures. With all blood results negative the medical team couldn’t find an explanation and my onc was unsure why why body had reacted in this way. He could only put it down to the fact that they had perhaps given me the drugs too quickly!

Just wondered if anyone else has had a strange reaction, and what timescale is the average for the drugs to be administered!

Thanks for your replies, A xxxx


No bad reaction from me.

Half an hour to flush through some saline and then about an hour for the FEC itself, perhaps a little more than an hour after the first time because my veins were very sore straight away so the nurse pumped more slowly.


Hi Andrea

I would agree that the slower it is pumped through the better! I have a lovely Chemo nurse who really takes her time, gives me a break and usually takes about 1-2 hours. The only time that someone else did it they were really quick not particularly ‘caring’, didn’t put on the heat pack around my arm and it took about 45 minutes ~ I was so sick! Felt awful and my arm has been painful eversince. I had FEC 4 yesterday, back to 11/2 hours and not feeling too bad at all today ~ have got me chemo head on though and am probably going back to bed in a little while.

I think it’s certainly worth mentioning that the slower it is administered the better you feel.

Sorry you’ve had such a rough time ~ hope you are picking up now.

Best wishes
Pat x

Hi all
I had my last FEC 10 days ago. The time it took to administered varied between 45mins-2 hours. I must say the worse reaction I had was when it was administered in 45 minutes. I got chemical phlebitis, which was extremely painful and meant that the remaining 2 treatments took 2 hours to administer because of the pain in my arm. I also felt quite shaky during most treatments, but put that down to stress. I found having the drugs administered quite stressful, the colour of the epirubicin was the one that did it for me. anything that colour must be harmful However, it is over now and 10 days post treatment I am starting to feel better. I even have a very thin layer of silvery/blonde hair, I was quite dark before. It will be quite a shock when I return to work after Christmas. I am about to start radiotherapy in a couple of weeks and am led to believe that it will be a “walk in the park” compared to the chemo.

Wishing you all lots of luck and few side effects with your remaining treatments. And ask the nurse to do it more slowly if you find it helps.
Best wishes Gailx

Hi Andrea,

Have had 2x fec so far. The first one was administered quickly, probably 45 mins and the second a bit slower, probably about an hour, maybe bit longer. Did feel better after the second one although had put that down to them changing my anti-sickness the second time. Have read that if it’s administered quickly the side effects are worse (Dina Rabinovitch). Will be having different chemo nurse next time as my usual one is on a course, so will ask her to take it easy and see if it makes a difference.

Hope your feeling okay now, take it easy - what else to do?!

lots of love,

Louisa xx

Hi Emeraldeyes

How reassuring! I found the epirubicin the worst! Not because it felt any different, but because of the colour ~ the first thing I do when I am finished is pee! I think that’s got rid of some of it!

Great that your last one is over! Congratulations ~ I had mine treatment split 3 FEC, 20 Rads and 3 FEC and the radiotherapy was fine ~ I was a little nervous with the first one, but when you know the proceedure it’s okay ~ just keep up with the cream and rest when you need to, but you certainly begin to feel pretty normal again! I finished Rads 10 days ago and even the redness is easing, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable, so I hope that you have a similar experience.

All the best to everyone ~ yep, take it easy!
Pat x


I also found the slower they administered the FEC the better I felt, the radiotherapy doesn’t have the same affect, but for some reason I found it stressful, perhaps it was because of the traveling to hospital every day apart from weekend. The hair is growing back but very grey, apart from anywhere else on my body.

Hi ya,

I had my firsy FEC two days ago now. They administered it in about an hour. I felt fine until the next day. Started to get a really tight chest and could not breath properly. I was taken to hospital where I stayed in overnight. That evening in hospital I gradually began to get a really really tight jaw, a shaky neck and was shaking all over. They did lots of tests on my heart and eventually said it was down to the anti sickness pills they were giving me. Something like Micropeopholine?? They said that this is a rare side effect that is more common in younger woman, I am 32. They gave me some diazopan to relax my muscles and it did the trick. Feel a lot better today. I would not automatically think if you get those sort of side effects it is down to the administering of the FEC, it may have to do with your sickness drugs like me. Just a thought anyway


Hi Everyone

Read this thred with interest, I am on four EC after 4 Taxol. My first EC went well, and apart from the nausea after was ok. The second dose was a different maytter and I do not know if its because it was injected too quickly. I started to feel dizzy and the nurse had to stop before restarting. Afterwards my heart rate was up and took several hours to settle.
Glad there are only ywo to go!

Best wishes Alison x