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Adriamycin & cytoxan

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

If anyone has any info about this chemo treatment...I would greatly appreciate it.
Masastatic carcinoma, T2N1. Thanks, Cathy

jo jo's picture
jo jo
Posts: 1175
Joined: Jun 2010

Sorry Cathy i was on taxotere & Cytoxan...but im sure someone else on this board will be along and help you out.
By the way welcome to the board...sorry you have to be here, but glad you found us!

creampuff91344's picture
Posts: 989
Joined: Nov 2008

Kakie, i had the treatment TAC, which includes Adriamycin, Cytoxin, plus Taxotere. The combo of these three drugs is involved in a clinical study, with 1,000 patients taking TAC, and the other 1,000 taking just TC. This study is through Johns Hopkins. They are trying to determine if the two drugs is as effective in preventing recurrence as adding the Adriamycin. I am two years out from completion of treatment, and so far I am clear. The Adriamycin is a wicked drug, and causes severe problems with sores in the mouth (or any orface in the body). You just have to be vigilent while on Adriamycin, and normally they will have you eat ice or suck on a popsicle as they are administering that particular drug. Since you won't be on Taxotere, you won't have to worry about the side effects of that drug. The AC is doable, as is all chemo treatment. just follow doctors instructions, and you will get through the treatment. Good luck in your journey, and always know there will be help in answering any questions you may have on this board. Someone has been there or done that. Hugs, Judy

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks Judy for the info. It's great to get the straight answers. I will be having the dexamethasone also...So glad you all are here to support us newbies thru this.....HUGS Cathy Thanks Jo Jo too!

Rainbow Watcher
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

I received the treatment TAC 13 years ago and have been cancer free to date.  I agree; Adriamycin is a wicked drug.  I had all the side effects Adriamycin is known for, and now I have one more---CHF.  I have been to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Phoenix.  Five Mayo doctors agree that my cardiomyopathy is the result of Adriamycin.  A heart transplant is not an option because of my age.  My local doctor says I have a 60% chance of surviving a year.  Right now, I am feeling pretty good and I have time to get my affairs in order.  Sadly, I am not a rare case with this diagnosis.  It will be very interesting to see the result of the Johns Hopkins clinical trial of TAC treatment vs treatment (TC) without Adriamycin.

So sorry that I may have given some of you something more to consider/worry about Adriamycin.  Not my intention for sure.  Just want to inform you of possible side-effects down the road.

Blessings to All on Your Journeys.     Julianna

Hubby's picture
Posts: 325
Joined: Apr 2010

My wife just finished her four rounds of AC which will be followed by four rounds of Taxol all two weeks apart. The Adramycin is supposed to be very hard on your heart, so they do a Muga-scan test prior to you starting. The two week regimen is called dose dense AC-T and supposedly has some particular benefit of killing the cancer cells before they can repoduce.

Everyone's side effects may be different. Donna did get nauseous but the drugs they gave her combated that very well; she (knock on wood) has not thrown-up. She has been very tired and in a chemo fog for longer periods with each round starting about three days after the treatment. But she made it through.

Hair loss is a given.


Mama G
Posts: 763
Joined: Nov 2009

The AC was tough, but doable. Chew Ice during the administration of the red med. That definately helps offset the mouth problems. Drink LOTS of water for 24 hrs before the chemo. Think of it like you're preparing for a tough sports event where you will need the hydration to get you through. After the chemo you should feel fine for the first 48 hrs, so eat/drink/be as normal as possible. Most women have some nausea, tiredness, and overall beat up feeling for the next 2 days, but everyone is different. And I found each treatment I handled differently. Ginger ale, crackers, bananas, apples, tea, anything that sounds good go for it! Good luck and God bless.

Posts: 633
Joined: Jul 2010

almost 9 years ago! It wasn't pleasant, but I got through it. As long as you take all the meds to keep the nausea and mouth sores under control, you should be ok.

I didn't have too many complications. I remember getting a fever after my second treatment, which can cause serious complications, and my doctor put me on a really strong antibiotic (sorry I can't remember it's name!..maybe Cypro? or something like that)

And like another poster mentioned the Adrimycin can be hard on the heart so you should get a test before you start to make sure all is well.

Not sure any of this is helpful? My treatment was so long ago and so many things have changed!

Hope all goes well. You can and will get through it!:)


Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

Thank you all so much....I am having an echo car-diagram on Monday. This is the best place to come for real answers...Love to all Cathy

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

I also had 4 rounds Ac followed by 16 rounds of taxol. The ac was a little tuff for me,doable though. Felt sick like the 3rd day after treatment, would last about 2 days or so then would feel ok just in time for next treatment. I had very good anti nausea drug. Emend is a very good drug as well as sofran ( not sure of spelling ). Taxol was not as tuff just sooo long. All doable. Just eat when and what you can, rest and just hang in there. There is an end, I am almost there. Good luck

Posts: 42
Joined: May 2010

Hi Cathy,

I just had my second round of the AC combo this past Wednesday, and the only thing that I would really stress is Drink a lot of water every day. The only major side effect that I had after my first round, and it was a week after my round, was that I had some bladder inflammation, which pretty much feels like a Urinary Tract Infection. As the nurse explained it to me, that by drinking plenty of fluids, you are diluting those toxins and making it easier to flow through your body, especially the bladder. I'm usually fatigued for about 4 to 5 days after the chemo and then I start feeling better. Oh, one of my other side effects has been that funny metal taste in my mouth for about 5 days, but if I drink a lot of fluids that usually slowly goes away. I also rinse my mouth a lot with Biotene, for the dry mouth.

So I have 2 more rounds of the AC, and then I have 4 rounds of the Taxol, which I'm hoping to be done by the end of October.

I wish you all the best with your treatment!

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks, Mortiz....All the advice helps so much, in feeling prepared...I know..I'm really not, LOL, but it sure helps thinking I am. LOL
I was thinking of having it every week instead of every three weeks...does it really matter..with the side affects?

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2010

I just finished my 4 rd of A/C...this was a very rough last 2 treatments... The first 2 were not nearly as bad and 3 and 4. I have practically been sick the entire time with my stomach issues. I have fibromyalgia and IBS...they changed my nausea meds several times. They gave me phernergan and Ativan, I can take the Ativan at night, but the phernergan makes me just a zombie(even with 1/4 of a pill). Zofran speeds my heartrate up too much. So now I am taking Prochlorperazine(Compro), which is better. But my problem is that after my third A/C treatment the thought of water or even ICE CUBES, makes me nauseated..I can't stand to drink hardly at all, just force myself...milk is the easiest, and I can tolerate some milkshakes...but even drink tea without ice most of time. I just pray the Taxol won't be as harsh on my stomach. Also have had hemorroids to pop up since last A/C treatment...WILL SHOUT PRAISE THE LORD WHEN ALL IS FINISHED....SEPT 30TH IS MY DATE...trying to work at elementary school has been rough with Kindergarteners....but so far made it through...
No mouth sores thus far...kept mouth cold during the A/C treatments. just stomach issues...hope to head to mountains for a much needed break in Dec. and then have my implant put in while we are out for Christmas Break.

jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 869
Joined: Jun 2010

I had a right mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of A/C - two weeks apart. Then I had 12 rounds of Taxotere - once a week for 12 weeks. I did very well with the A/C and had much more difficulty with the Taxotere. It was a surprise to my oncologist since most people have more trouble with A/C. I have now thankfully just finished all 12 rounds of the Taxotere and am looking forward to recovery and feeling better. Everyone is very different in the way they react to chemo.

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks Jessie, I just found out that my onc wants to do AC than radiation then taxotere...a sandwich and leave my port in 6 months after I am done...Is that normal to you all? Hugs!

Emilyfimily's picture
Posts: 141
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi kakie!
I didn't have the C or T, just the A. I had single agent Andriamycin every 3 weeks. I had what they said was the "big" dose, 75 mg/m cubed (they measure it out based on your body surface area).
They call it "red devil". How appropriate. Haha, nah actually it's no fun but it's do-able for sure.
Here are some tips that helped me out...
They kept popsycles at the cancer center, and so I'd go through a couple of those each treatment and think it helped with mouthsores. I still had a little trouble with that, but used Biotene mouthwash which you can get at WalMart, and just tried to stay away from acidic stuff like coffee, citrus fruit, OJ, etc when they got too bad.
Nausea - my first treatment, they gave me Compazine, which did absolutely nothing for me. I was sicker than I've ever been in my entire life and should have gone to the hospital, but I was stubborn and just thought "well, this must just be what chemo's supposed to be like." No! Luckily, I have a good friend who's been there done that and she told me to ask for different anti nausea stuff because they can take care of that! So, the next time, I told the dr what happened and he sent me home with a prescription for Zofran, which worked for me. Everybody's different - what works for one person may not work for another. So, if your meds aren't working, be sure and let them know! And don't ever skip a dose even if you feel fine. Because, it's just not worth it - learned that from experience, too. blech.
Also, try and keep a little something on your stomach at all times through the day. As soon as your stomach gets empty, you'll probably start feeling a little nauseaous. I'd get really shaky when I let that happen, too. So, lots of light snacking helps. Simple stuff like crackers, cookies, applesauce, etc. I went through about 10 boxes of girl scout cookies this spring, haha. Oh, applesauce...yeah, that works wonders. Surprisingly, it was so nice on a sensitive stomach. Slightly hydrating, too.
HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE. *Veeeeeery* important.
I slept a lot. You're going to go through a lot physically. If you feel tired or sleepy, don't feel guilty about it, just lay down and take a nap or at least get comfy and have a good rest. This isn't the time to worry about the dirty dishes, etc.
Also, humor and laughter is truly the best medicine! Funny movies, funny books, joking around with friends, etc etc. Really a boost. Stay away from dramas, sad movies, horror flicks, etc. Now just isn't the time.
You can do it, Kakie!! Keep coming on this site. These ladies are truly a blessing and will help keep your spirits high!

Emilyfimily's picture
Posts: 141
Joined: Jan 2010

oh yeah, dexamethasone..
I saw up there you were going to take that too. I did that one the whole time, too. I don't think it was any big deal. I noticed I was a bit irate afterwards, haha, but I don't know if it was really the steroids or just the fact that I was tired sick and cranky. ;)

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi - I'm having 4 rounds of AC, then 2 rounds of Taxotere. Having my second round of AC next Friday. It has been not fun, but doable. Starting the day of my chemo, I felt just icky, not really hungry, for about 3 days. Sleepy but couldn't fall asleep. My Dr gave me a prescription for Restoril (i think that's what it's called lol) to help me sleep. About a week after the fatigue really set in, and I had a few days where I was in bed more than out. Constipation was a really bad problem the first 2 days also. My Dr recommended using Senokot D, which is a laxative plus a stool softener, and that helped. You can do it. It's no walk in a park, that's for sure - but you will be just fine. That first one is going to be scary because of the unknown. My hair hasn't started falling out yet, I've read on here it's usually around day 12-15 or so after treatment. That's gonna be the hard part for me though :( I did find a few websites that give free hats & scarves to people who lose their hair to chemo, one of them is The Good Wishes program (can't remember exact websites but you could google it!) - they make luxury headscarves in the most beautiful prints & silk! I received mine a few weeks back, along with a nice card signed by all the staff, wishing me well - really a great program and completely free. If you haven't already, check it out - the styles are just gorgeous. The other one is called The Heavenly Hats Program - and they will send you a box of 4-5 brand new hats, scarves, bandanas - you tell them your sex, age, and style, and they will send you a box that suits you. I'm so happy I found these programs, because I don't think wigs will be the way to go for me, so I have a nice little collection of hats & bandanas. One wig-type accessory I did buy though, on ebay last week, is a lightweight cap that has hair attached as bangs in front, and also attached in the back, that you can wear under hats, caps, bandanas, etc. The woman who makes them lives in Autsralia, and she first started making the caps for motorcross (motorcycle racing) drivers to wear under their helmets to keep them from getting sweaty & uncomfortable - she just added the hair to it. I haven't received it yet as she makes them all to order, and it cost me about $32 including shipping from Australia. If anyone is interested I would be happy to put up a link to the ebay page.
Ok i completely got off topic here, sorry, the hair loss thing, for me, is scarier than losing my boobs!
*hugs* & good luck!

Marcia527's picture
Posts: 2749
Joined: Jul 2006

I had four cycles of A/C. One every three weeks. I got very nauseous. I seem to be the extreme. The nurse told me to keep something in my stomach. Crackers seemed to help. I liked Chinese fried rice from a restaurant also. I had fatigue also so just did what I could. I had the A/C before surgery and it did shrink the tumor. After surgery I had four cycles of Taxotere. Once every three weeks. Then radiation for 6 weeks. Hang in there. I had treatment in 2003/2004.

Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2010

All so much, My husband is do home (gone for a week at a time home a couple days) and I want to write more...Just wanted to say hay for all the wonderful info. I am going to buy some groucho marks glasses with the nose and moustash (spell) and wear them some time in chemo...I'm hoping to it anyway...lol

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

I was diagnosed in January 1998 with stage IIB breast cancer, and had four rounds of adramycin and cytoxin then four rounds of taxol. I had very little side effects initially after the adramycin and cytoxin. I even took the final dose without the decadron since that seemed to give me more problems than the chemo. The taxol was harder, but still tolerated. Wonderfully, I am still in remission as of Jan 2011. Unfortunately, I did develop late onset cardiotoxicity. I have what my cardiologist termed mild dysfunction. This is new as of this year. It is a trade-off, but I feel well worth the very slight risk you may develop this problem. Best wishes to you.

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

does anyone know if there are any class action lawsuits out there on adriamycin. i just found out i have chf caused from receiving it 10 years ago - never had muga or echo testing done before or after and now looking @ having to get a pacemaker for the damage it caused. any info would be appreciate. also looking to find out when they discovered it caused heart damage

Judy2Day's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

Does anyone know of a class-action lawsuit against this chemo treatment.  My husband had breast cancer was administered this chemo treatment around 6 years ago,  and he has developed M.D.S.     M.D.S.  is common after chemo,  and aparently prevalent after this combination.    

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I had adriamycin and cytoxan four times, evey other week and then taxol four times every other week.  I also had Neulasta shots after seven of the infusions.

About the A/C, this is what I experienced:

  • Reminders from my nurses who were doing the infusions of how careful they had to be in making sure my port was working correctly.
  • A few preliminary drugs via drip and pills -- meant to offset nausea.  I was told that the amount I got through the preliminary drip was enough to last me probably three days, as far as when I really might be wanting to start taking my anti-nausea drugs.  My prescription was for five days's worth of two meds for nausea and three days' worth of a steroid.
  • The day after chemo I went in for a Neulasta shot.
  • My hair began to fall out just after my second infusion.  Rather than deal with clumps of hair, I decided to get a buzz cut from a friend of mine.  It was easier to mess with bristles.
  • If I was going to feel like doing nothing, that tended to be by Thursday.  My chemo days were Mondays.  I was taking my pills, but I did feel queasy.  I could eat, but I had to make myself do that.  It did stay down.
  • I drank 2-3 quarts of water for at least the first several days after an infusion.
  • I kept a record of things the week I had chemo, looking for patterns and better knowing how to plan my week.  I did not go to work because of a compromised immune system.  (I worked with huggy-lovey little kids at school.)  I did get out to the store to get a few groceries and to church.  I did not spend as much time at either place as I usually did.
  • The only actual side effects I had were (1) dealing with queasiness; and (2) losing my hair.
  • My blood work was always good, and I never had an infusion delayed.  Because my blood work was always good, I did not have to take that one last Neulasta shot after my last infusion, which was, at that time, taxol.

We may have the same disease and the same treatment and yet we may react differently from people we know.  I know that was true for me, and I had about five people in particular I could compare notes with. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2017

I finished 4 AC, and am now on 4th of 12 Taxol. I feel Ac was alot better in that i was only fatigued day of chemo and maybe half of the next day. (with no nausea),  Taxol has my legs,arms and finger feeling really weird and tired and i cant sleep. Also, i have next to no apetite and my eyes water so bad.


jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 869
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Tonantzin,

I see I posted on this thread 7 years ago! I have been in remission since then. I had a LOT of side effects during the Taxotere rounds but thankfully neuropathy was not one of them. I DID have no appetite as you mentioned. It got to the point where I wasn't eating AT ALL. I mean nothing. Not a bite. Of course, my oncologist was not happy but said that it was more important that I remain hydrated. He read me the riot act on that point. I used fruit bars, Gatorade, clear ensure and water. I eventually lost 40 lbs. It helped that I was overweight to start with. 2 weeks after chemo ended I ate some plain boiled pasta and an apple. That sent me on my way. 

The watery eyes is another issue altogether. 7 years after my last round of chemo and they STILL water. I saw 2 opthamologists to no avail. Then I saw an optometrist who did the world's  most complete eye exam and he stated that the puncta (The little drainage holes in the corners of your eyes) in my eyes were blocked. I was referred to an oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. She confirmed the diagnosis and said it was a well known side effect of Taxotere. It can be prevented by flushing of the eyes during and after chemo. Apparently my oncologist was not aware of that. She was unable to open the puncta in her office and I was scheduled for surgery. The surgery was a failure because they were too badly scarred over. Needless to say, I was tremendously disappointed. So here we are with permanently watery eyes. My oncologist said the watery eyes would go away when chemo awas over. It didn't.

I suggest you IMMEDIATELY discuss this with your oncologist or you will end up with permanent  damage. Ask for a referral to an oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - not an ordinary opthamologist. 

I wish you only the best of luck. Please let us know how things go.


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