Taxotere -- can any-one help?

Hi Ladies
please can any-one offer me advice regarding the side -effects of Taxotere. I had my first treatment on the 1st Oct and it has been all down hill since then!! The first two days where ok but from the 3rd day onwards it has been a living nightmare. I have experience severe abdo pain ,pasted out twice, loose stools, abdo bloating, muscle and joint pain,thrush, no appetite, a foul taste in my mouth and soo tired. Ended up in hosp with a high temp ,neutropenia and dehydration. Next treatment is due on Thursday and to say I am dreading it is an understatement. Onc has stated that the dose will be reduced but please tell me it is not normal to experience the level of side effects I have had… or is it? Any advice would be gratefully received, seriously thinking about not taking amore but that leaves me with the question ‘now what?’
Thanks in advance for any replies I may receive

Hi ot2walk

Taxotere can be a bit of a b****r. I had six lots last year and I know how you must be feeling.

The SEs that you describe are oh so familar, but I did find that they tended to get worse as time went on, altho’ the thrush started almost straightaway, ripped right through me and stayed with me almost to the end. I had to have the last two doses reduced because I was in too poor a shape. I didn’t get neutropaenic, but I did become anaemic.

Get as much prescription stuff as you can for the SEs. Additionally,

For the foul taste…ice lollies and sugar free sweets were my staples.

For the thrush…bicarb, drink it, gargle with it, douche with it.

Bloating…drink lots of fluids (helps kidneys to work at max efficiency), keep feet and legs elevated as much as possible when not moving around, ie try to avoid standing as much as possible. My GP also prescribed me diuretics, but the hospital weren’t keen on me taking these continuously - but it may be worth asking about them anyway.

Didn’t have loose stools…opposite problem for me, I’m afraid.

Tiredness…no cure except to suggest sleeping as much as you want/can and not doing anything that be left (housework, etc).

Excellent thread on here called ‘Top tips for Chemotherapy’. Well worth a look.

I have to say that I felt much, much better on a reduced dose, so I do hope it does the trick for you, too.

Wishing you all the best for Thursday.



Hi I had exactly same se as you the pain in abdomen was extreme my gp prescribed omeprazol this helped, along with pain killers, diahorea was severe with me living on the toilet for hours I had loperamide and this helped.I would sleep for hours, the kids thought it funny as I was going to bed at 6pm. had blistering of my mouth lips etc I ended up in hosp twice with neutropenia and had 2 units of blood.
It was the worst 6 months of my life but my tumour shrunk so I know it was working for me, I had mine with carboplatin and herceptin.
Eat pineapple for the sore mouth it does sooth you can get mouthwashes I was given a gel to rinse with by my chemo nurse. Ask the chemo nurses for advice.
Good luck

Hi ot2walk, I’m sorry to hear what an awful time you’ve had, I just want to sympathise really, I don’t have loads of advice as I had really similar side effects to you. I was neutropenic on the first 2 doses - 9 days in hospital on IV antibiotics and 5 days for the second dose. I had severe hand/foot syndrome a week after the first dose and it got much worse with the second.

Apparently I was told 5% of people can be neutropenic after tax who have used precautionary granocyte.

Wish you loads of luck and hope your next one is better with dose reduction, or bearable.

Take care

Love Alice

Hi, just wanted to chip in with a suggestion for the thrush. I was on 6 tax late last year and found that taking a daily probiotic tablet really helped - the tablets you can get in health food stores not those sugary yoghurt drinks. I went from having almost continually recurring severe thrush to being almost clear of it by my last taxotere though the advice is not to take probiotics if you are neutropenic. Another thought that may be of use depending on where you live but are you anywhere near a Breast Cancer Haven Centre? They offer free complimentary therapy sessions (aromatherapy massage, nutrition, reiki, acupuncture etc) to anyone going through treatment for breast cancer and are very good for helping to manage side effects. There are centres in South London, Hereford and Leeds Hope this helps.


Hi, My first Taxotere was a nightmare, I ached, my bones hurt, I had a high temperature and I felt far worse than when on FEC. I mentioned this to the oncologist before the second round and they lowered to dosage. Although not fun it was nowhere near as bad after that.

Take care

I had 3 x FEC and 3 x Taxotere. The FEC wasn’t too bad but I found the side effects after the first Taxotere very bad - similar to what you describe except that I wasn’t hospitalised.

But then I had an allergic reaction to my second taxotere and the infusion was stopped and I was given intravenous Piriton before they restarted the Taxotere infusion very slowly. I also had Piriton before the third and final Taxotere. I believe the Piriton also helped with the Taxotere side effects as they weren’t nearly as bad when I had Piriton first.

Good luck. Anthi x

I had 4 taxotere after 4 fec 2006/2007 and had horrendous side effects including all those you mention although thanks to Neulasta injections I avoided neutropenia until the final tax.I also developed peripheral neuropathy in fingers and toes which has never completely gone.
For pain-ibuprofen and paracetamol together
Mouth-ice lollies during admin of tax,iced lime juice in fizzy water,fresh pineapple,lemon and ginger tea
Nails-paint with dark varnish and keep them painted
Diarrhoea-loperamide[imodium]if bum is sore[mine was]any nappy rash crean=m or sudacrem
Tiredness-give in to it!Stay on sofa or in bed till you feel like moving-days if necessary
Remember it is the best chemo for many types of bc.The side effects will go eventually and if you are on a reduced dose you may have very few.
It will pass love,just endure it if at all possible.
Love Valxx

Hi there

I would like to reassure you a bit. I was so ill after my first taxotere and also had neutropenic sepsis and was hospitalised for 5 days. My husband really thought I was going to die and didn’t want me to have any more. I had skin rashes, excruciating pain in my spine, diarrhoea etc. Luckily I had no problems with my nails except a bit of ridging and didn’t put anything on them.

My Onc reduced the dose the second time by 25% and it made a big difference. I did get a temperature each time which usually lasted about 4 days but luckily not severe enough for hospital again. Yes, I felt rough and yes I felt tired but I could bear it. As Horace says it is thought to be a very effective treatment and it is for that reason that I stuck with it.

In total I had 4 taxotere treatments and after my first one I would have said that would have been impossible. I’m glad I got through it all.

I am now 2 weeks since my last treatment and starting to really pick up well and feel a bit more normal!

Good luck with it!
Elinda x

ot2walk, just wanted to add my reassurance, i too had a bad tim on my first Tax, similar symptems to you but no hospital. I told my onc who said my quality of life was important and as we wernt trying to shrink anything, only having it as a preventative measure, it was safe to reduce my last 2 to 80%. I must say the last 2 were a breeeze compared to the first one. I had mild Se but nothing that put me in bed, didnt even need pain killers on the 5th and only a couple on the 6th. If they reduce yours, it will be a lot easier i’m sure.
I had my last one on 1st oct and am fine now, must say worst SE for me has been lack of taste but thats about right now, off for rads this week.
I started a thread on Tax called advice on taxotere, check it out, lots of brillient advice on there.
Good luck on whatever you decide, luv Pauline xxx


Just thought I would chip in too - I have had 2 TAX and have 2 to go. The first one was definitely worse than the 2nd. I had most of the symptoms you have experienced but have not been hospitalised. But after No 2 TAX, only had to take painkillers for 5 days, whereas after No 1 is was nearly for the whole 3 weeks! Perhaps your body gets used to it a bit? Tiredness is bad, but like someone else has said, don’t fight it, just sleep, that is what I have done. I have lots of stuff from GP to help me get through the last 2 (pile remedies, constipation etc) and I take a multibonita probiotic tablet every day recommended by ONC and have not had thrush so far! Feel really rubbish from day 5 to day 8/9 and then slowly start to come round again. As you say the aches and pains are like nothing on earth! I am keeping everything crossed for the last 2 and wish you the best of luck.


Many ,many thanks for all the kind replies. It looks like this is what i have to expect and endure. i really hope that the reduced dose reduces the side effects…really feel I have turned into a right old moan and alround wimp!! I will turn up for my treatment on Thursday and hope I have the courage to allow the infusion, or should I say battle, to commence. One thing though the tiredness does it ever go away ? Every day tasks can be such an effort… not me at all.
thanks again and most importantly keep well

hi, i know exactly what you mean about feeling like an all round wimp. I have always considered myself to be quite a little toughie, always done more pressups/situps than the men, nothing i cant conquer. But then cancer happened, and then chemo and i have turned into such a wimp. I go to have chemo and all the nurses know how much it scares me. I have done 5 cycles and have 3 to go, we can do this, scarey as it is, it will take more than this to have us beat.

Hi ot2walk,

I too had 3xFEC and 3XTax and finished chemo in August. The Tax was definitely harder than the FEC for me but the first Tax was much worse than the others. Most of the SE stopped when the treatment finished. A few (like ridged nails) take longer to go. The tiredness has eased a lot. I still sleep about 10-12 hours per day but that could be due to the mastectomy I’ve had since. I’m back to walking the dog for an hour each day now so there is light at the end of the tunnel. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. If you need rest just give in to it. You don’t do yourself any favours trying to be “brave”.

If it helps to know, I have quickly forgotten the worst of the really bad days of the chemo and have begun to look forward again.

Best wishes for the rest of your treatment.

Jan xx

Hi Jan, that certainly helps me to know, thankyou. I think i find it difficult that i dont feel very brave at the moment, and you are certainly right about listening to your body, i dont think there is any other way to do it.
take care

Hi ot2walk

I had 4 x EC and then 4 x TAX. You have come down with a lot of the SE’s, which is bad luck! I found that the initial SE’s were worse at the beginning of the treatment i.e. first and second dose and then they wore off for the final two doses. However the fatigue increases over time. I also had a low white blood and netraphils count. I was best after the last dose when we went away for a week, so that OH could do most of the child care and my friend cooked for me, but also I was allowed to swim in a private pool and I think that also helped.

I hope it goes well, for you. It does seem a long time ago now (Feb 08 last dose) and it did the trick. Tax was the one that actually had an affect on the tumour

Hi ot2walk

Sorry you are having such a horrible time with Tax. Like Wizzbaby, Jayney, Hollymeg and elinda45 have said, my first tax was also the worse so it seem to be definite trend. Hope with the reduced dosage you don’t feel so bad from now on although the fatigue does seem to be cummulative. Personally I found co-codamol to be the best painkiller for me so experiment to see what works for you. I had a 50% shrinkage prior to mastectomy, so it was worth the effort.

Good luck - let us know how things go for you on cylce 2.


Hi Ladies
just to let you know I have received cycle 2 at a lower dose. Well to-day is day 5 and surprise,surprise the side-effects are just as bad,apart from the abdo pain. However due to all the advice and support offered here on the forums I feel I am coping soo much better…feel i have an element of control in this dreadful situation. I keep reminding myself what Horace said’ it will get better’ I know many people had said it before but these forums are an invaluable source of information and support, from people who have lived and experienced the physical and psychological effects of BC and the symptoms like the thrush,nausea, neutropenia and realtionship issues.All symptom which can severely effect your QoL on a daily basis. They are not just words talked about by the ‘professionals’ but real experiences. I am enternally grateful to each and every-one of you from taking the time to reply… you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Love to you all

Often with tax I felt that it would go on for ever-it seemed to have a metally depressing effect as well as everything else but just when you feel life isnt worth living it improves almost imperceptibly.One day you actually feel the wind on your face,arent nauseated by the smell of coffee,water becomes fresh and liquid instead of heavy and metallic.You can walk from bed to chair,into the garden,up the road,round the town.Hang in there girl.
Love Valxx

Hi ot2walk, I had 4 fex and 4 tax straight after a spinal operation, so i was in a right old state. I found some photo’s on the computer of me when i was in the middle of it recently - I can hardly believe how dreadful I looked, and how well i look now.

I already had an hiatus hernia so I was already taking omeprazole, as well as oxycontin and anti-nausea tablets and goodness knows what else. I found that i kept collapsing on tax, once in the middle of the road, i always got a warning of about 1or 2 seconds so it gave me time to get to the floor, before I fell there - I havn’t yet met anyone else who has had this side effect tho, and I was also on reduced tax.

I cannot lie to you, it is awful, and yes like everyone else has said, you really have to take to your bed or sofa, there is no way around that. But ultimately we all got through it, as will you. Take care, and be gentle on yourself (remember one of the ingrediant of tax is yew - which as i’m sure you will kinow is poisonious!)