Irinotecan side effects

cher76 Member Posts: 292
Anybody have any suggestions on what to eat when severe diarrhea sets in? Rickie has had 2 weeks of erbitux and Irinotecan and this past week the diarrhea started. He has lost almost 20lbs this week. We are at the doctors now getting fluids and the erbitux only. His swallowing has improved and he is able to eat more foods but now we have to deal with this. He has never eaten fruits and very few vegetables so that makes things difficult. Our doctor here has been wanting to put in a feeding tube, but Dr. at MDAnderson has not wanted to, so therefore Rickie is reluctant to get one. I feel he would probably be better off with one but he thinks he can regain when he starts eating again. Doctor said his blood work looked good this morning as well as his vital signs. I am just not sure how much more of this he can take. I feel like day by day, pound by pound, I am slowly losing my husband.


  • unclaw2002
    unclaw2002 Member Posts: 599


    This isn't medical advice just my personal experience over the last 15 months helping my father fight this beast we know as Esophageal Cancer - Stage III T3,N1,M1 12/2009 - restaged Stage IVb 7/2010. Please consult with your doctors.

    I don't remember if your husband's cancer had spread to his liver or not but Irinotecan is cleared from the body mainly by the liver. Reduced liver function may result in more drug than expected staying in the body, which could lead to unwanted side effects. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose accordingly. As I heard last week "administering chemo is an art and not a science. You don't get a guidebook with all the combinations and dosage requirements --- it is something you have to customize and monitor for each patient".

    In case you haven't already looked at the information The ACS website that discusses the side effects for Irinotecan is at the following link (remember you need to cut and paste into your browser). And chemo care site

    If you want to talk send me an email - you should still have it from our earlier conversations. If not send me a message and I will resend it to you. My dad has left MD Anderson and is going to get his treatment at UPMC in Pittsburg from Dr. Michael Gibson. Apparently he received the placebo in the Stage III trial at MD Anderson - so that did not work out.

  • paul61
    paul61 Member Posts: 1,392 Member
    Here is a medication that helped me

    I certainly had my share of difficulties with diarrhea when I was going through chemotherapy. Not only does it make it difficult to gain weight while it seems like everything you eat just passes through, but it ties you to the house because you are afraid to get very far away from the bathroom.

    I found a several things that helped. First my oncologist prescribed Lomotil an antidiarrheal. I took the medication before each meal and it seemed to help. I did not wait until I had diarrhea. I took it before each meal as a precaution.

    I also found a web site that listed foods that helped and foods to avoid when dealing with diarrhea. The web address is:

    I also took a probiotic that contained lactobacillus GG (brand name Culturelle) that can be found in the drug isle at Walmart and most drug stores.

    This combination of things made the diarrhea more manageable.

    My oncologist told me there was another option if those things did not work. It was a drug called Sandostatin LAR. It is a medication that is administered with a syringe and can be used to stop diarrhea. Since the combination items listed above helped I did not get the Sandostatin.

    I hope this helps I know this can be frustrating and demoralizing.

    Best Regards,

    Paul Adams
    McCormick, South Carolina

    DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
    12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
    2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
    6/21/2010 CT Scan NED
    3/14/2011 CT Scan NED

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!
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