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Is Folfox and 5FU the same?

kim38's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2006

My dad is scheduled to begin chemo real soon. He had his port put in yesterday. He will be taking 5FU only. Is this the same as Folfox? What side effects can he expect? He can't take the mixed chemos beause he had a stroke right after his colon surgery (although he is doing great and no disability). Any help or advice? As everyone else here, I am not looking forward to this journey.
Thanks in advance, Kim

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Kim -

FOLFOX is 5FU plus oxaliplatin (usually leukovorin too - probably spelled that one wrong).

I had Xeloda (oral drug that is metabolized into 5FU) - others can tell you more about 5FU infusions and how they reacted, but a main side effect of 5FU (and Xeloda) is periodic diarrhea - well controlled by Immodium as long as you keep ahead of it. So get your Dad some Immodium and I wish you both the best.
Take care,

chynabear's picture
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Folfox is a combination of 3 drugs - 5fu, oxailplatin, and leucovorin.

Listed side effects that you need call your doctor:

More Common: Diarrhea, Heartburn, Sores in mouth and on lips

Less Common: Black, tarry stools, caugh or hoarseness, fever or chills, lower back or side pain, vomiting, painful or difficult urination, stomach cramps

Rare: Blood in urine or stools, pinpoint red spots on skin, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath.

Side effects you do not need to notify doctor unless they bother you:

More common: Nausea, loss of appetite, skin rash and itching, weakness, darkening of skin or nails, watery eyes.

Less Common: Dry or cracked skin, loss of hair which is usually temporary.

Hope this helps and I pray for easy treatments for your father.


Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2006

5FU is an abbreviation of "Fluorouracil", and they almost always give Leucovorin with it. Both folfox and folfiri are cocktails, so to speak.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Others have already clarified the difference between FOLFOX and 5-FU. I had 5FU alone several years ago. For me, the symptoms were not not bad. Some nausea (make sure you get good meds for this), some diarrhea, some fatigue. I think that was about it. Best wishes to you and your dad.

kim38's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2006

Thank you to all who replied. I have understood you to say that 5FU is basically only one chemo drug (and someone said that leucovorin is sometimes mixed with it). He is really dreading this and he just doesn't know what to expect. He is 64 and just listens to what the dr.s say to do. He really doesn't know how to be pro-active about his treatment and ask questions. I am hoping that all goes well. I am sure it will. Thanks for all your help.

pepperdog's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Jun 2006

Kim, this is the very same treatment my husband had.

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