Red urine

I had my second EC chemotherapy yesterday, finishing at about 3pm in the afternoon. This morning at 7am my urine was a completely normal colour, not red at all and not even a pink tinge. After my first treatment there was some colour to it for 36 hours. I did try and drink A LOT more this time but I’m worrying that the chemo drugs have ‘washed through’ too quickly so won’t be as effective.

Hi pat

Thank you for your post.

It’s understandable that you are worried about the effectiveness of your chemo after having different symptoms from the first cycle.

Epirubicin is the drug in EC that in some people causes urine to turn red for 1-2 days after treatment. It is a common side effect, but this does not mean it happens to everybody. As you say, this can depend on things such as your level of hydration.

It is unlikely that drinking a lot of water will have had an impact on the effectiveness of your chemotherapy. Epirubicin is mainly excreted through your liver rather than your kidneys, and only small amounts of the drug will be ‘washed out’ in your urine.

It is important to drink plenty of fluids whilst on chemotherapy and you should continue to do this throughout your treatment. You should aim to drink around 2 litres of fluid per day. Your oncologist should be monitoring your blood results and will inform you if any adjustments need to be made to your intake or your medication.

Do speak to your breast care nurse about any side effects you’re concerned about.

You’re also welcome to call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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