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Taxol starts Tuesday, advice?

Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2013

I will be starting Taxol the 28th, plus perjeta and herceptin, of course.  I'll be doing it for 15 weeks, onco had said 12, but now it's 15.  No neulasta for some reason (she started out saying that but changed to none).  I did the taxoterene the 7th and was allergic to it, what a nightmare that was.  Anyway, any advice to ward off as many side effects as is possible would be greatly appreciated.  I drink a lot of water, I found that helped with the taxoterene.  Everyone on here who has been giving me advice have been just great and have helped ALOT.  Thanks all!

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012


I had taxol four times, after having adriamycin and cytoxim four times. 

With taxol, I discovered that I did not have the few days of queasiness each time that I had with AC.  So, I no longer took the anti-puke pills I took a few days after each round of AC.

I did continue to drink a lot of water, just because I thought it was a smart thing to do.

I was closely watched the first day I had taxol, in case I had a reaction of some sort.  I didn't -- until the final two times.  In those instances, I was given extra benadryl (twice) and then demerol (once) and was able to get back on track.

It seemed to me to take longer get get the taxol in my system than the AC.  I usually had someone who volunteered to  drive me to my appointment and just hang with me.  We passed the time chatting, watching HGTV on the small tv in my room, and working on puzzles or reading.  I found I would eat a little better if I did not pack lunch for me.  So, I would make my list of items and give some $$ to my companion for the day (usually one of my sisters-in-law) and tell her to get lunch for herself as well.  We dined on fare from Wendy's, Taco Bell, McDonald's, and Burger King.  I tended to choose items that would still be good, if eating was delayed because I happened to be dozing (from the extra drugs those last two times.)

I am not sure if the increase aching in my hips and such for a few days after an infusion was because of the taxol or because of the combined effect of the whole program.  It would last just a few days and was manageable with ibuprofen 800s.

Neuropathy can be a problem in the arms/toes, as well as the feets and toes.  I was fortunate to just have some numbness -- still do -- in two of my toes on the right foot.  Compared to what many experience, that really is not bad.  I guess how long it hangs on can vary.  I finished chemo 18 moinths ago.

I did find my breathing was affected by the taxol.  I was usually fine, until I'd need to take a deep breath.  Then I would cough.  If I coughed too deeply, then I'd keep coughing.  So, I had to try to keep my coughing less "hearty."  There was twice when I just could not stop the coughing for very long.  Because of the problem with the deep breathing, it was difficult.  I had to move extra slowly those few days to try to keep myself from coughing.  My oncologist had me take a 24-hour allergy pill and that did wonders.  In less than a half day, I was doing much better.  Because that had happened after taxol #2 and #3, after taxol #4 I got a jump on things (because my husband and I had plans to head out of town for a few days).  I took allergy pills, starting the day before it had last time.  In other words, I would have the problems 10 days after an infusion (had those every other week), usually a Friday was the start day.  At that time I would be at my oncologist's anyhow (blood check for the Monday infusion), and so he had me do the allergy pills (second time he added musinex), as needed.   What I did, to try to keep it from happening again, was be pro-active.  I began the allergy pill on Wednesday, the day we were leaving on our trip.  I took a pill each day we were away.  I had no problems.  The oncologist said that it is not uncommon with taxol for there to be an increase of mucus, which leads to the extra coughing.

I think that is about all I have to share about taxol and me. 

Hope you fare well.



VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009


Generic Name: Paclitaxel
Other Trade Name: Onxal TM

Drug Type:

What is Taxol? Taxol is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Taxol is classified as a "plant alkaloid," a "taxane" and an "antimicrotubule agent."  (For more detail, see "How Taxol Works" section below).


What Taxol Is Used For:

  • Taxol is used for the treatment of breast, ovarian, lung, bladder, prostate, melanoma, esophageal, as well as other types of solid tumor cancers. It has also been used in Kaposi's sarcoma.

Note:  If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians sometimes elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it might be helpful.

How Taxol Is Given:

  • Taxol is given as an injection or infusion into the vein (intravenous, IV). 
  • Taxol is an irritant.  An irritant is a chemical that can cause inflammation of the vein through which it is given.  If the medication escapes from the vein it can cause tissue damage.  The nurse or doctor who gives Taxol must be carefully trained.  If you experience pain or notice redness or swelling at the IV site while you are receiving Taxol, alert your health care professional immediately. 
  • Because severe allergic reactions have occurred in some people taking Taxol, you will be asked to take medications to help prevent a reaction.  Your doctor will prescribe the exact regimen.
  • Taxol is given over various amounts of times and in various schedules. 
  • There is no pill form of Taxol.
  • The amount of Taxol and the schedule that it is given will receive depend on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated.  Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.

Taxol Side Effects:

Important things to remember about Taxol side effects include:

  • Most people do not experience all of the Taxol side effects listed.
  • Taxol side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
  • Taxol side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
  • There are many options to help minimize or prevent Taxol side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of Taxol side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.
  • The Taxol side effects and their severity vary depending on how much of the drug is given, and/or the schedule in which it is given.

The following Taxol side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking Taxol:

  • Low blood counts.  Your white and red blood cells and platelets may temporarily decrease.  This can put you at increased risk for infection, anemia and/or bleeding.
  • Hair loss
  • Arthralgias and myalgias, pain in the joints and muscles. Usually temporary occurring 2 to 3 days after Taxol, and resolve within a few days.  
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling of the hands and feet)
  • Nausea and vomiting (usually mild)
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth sores
  • Hypersensitivity reaction - fever, facial flushing, chills, shortness of breath, or hives after Taxol is given.  The majority of these reactions occur within the first 10 minutes of an infusion.  Notify your healthcare provider immediately (premedication regimen has significantly decreased the incidence of this reaction). 

The following are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving Taxol:

  • Swelling of the feet or ankles (edema).
  • Increases in blood tests measuring liver function.  These return to normal once treatment is discontinued. (see liver problems).
  • Low blood pressure (occurring during the first 3 hours of infusion).
  • Darkening of the skin where previous radiation treatment has been given (radiation recall - see skin reactions).
  • Nail changes (discoloration of nail beds - rare) (see skin reactions).

Nadir:  15-21 days

This list includes common and less common side effects for individuals taking Taxol.  Side effects that are very rare, occurring in less than 10% of patients, are not listed here.  However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

When To Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° C), chills (possible signs of infection)
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat, swelling of facial features, hives (possible allergic reaction).

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.  Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • If you notice any redness or pain at the site of injection
  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
  • Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Swelling of the feet or ankles.  Sudden weight gain
  • Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, pain on swallowing, coughing up mucous, or painful urination.

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.


SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

My oncologist had to drop the amount 3 times.  I had a lot of trouble with RBC and the iron depletion.  Since the last change, I have had no problems accept "Fatigue".  I am very tired.

Of course the WBC, Platelets do drop to but nothing to become excited over.  I have mets to the lungs, pleura and ribs.  At the end of February, I will have been on Taxol for a year.  I go once a week for 4 weeks and have 2 weeks off.

I do have one little area of numbness.  I don't consider it much of a nuisance.

Good luck to you,


carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

You dont need to take neulasta with taxol as it doesnt drop your counts the way AC does. i had pretty severe neuropathy, I was told after that vitamine B6 helps, but didnt know that at the time. also not putting your hands and feet in hot water.

I had a rash on my face from taxol, but it went away after the treatment was done. It was better forme tha AC


VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

"Sisters in PINK" ..  feeling alright?

Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2013

Had the taxol, first I had herceptin, then perjeta, then the taxol.  my onco gave me 4 premeds to cut down on the chance of any reactions, the benadryl had me pretty out of it.  So far, so good, I get 15 treatments of the taxol in low doses she said.  And, yes, they watched me pretty closely.  Only thing, when they were infusing the herceptin, I could feel pain where the cancer spots are at, guess I should talk to oncologist about that.  After 4 treatments I go for scans to see if it's doing any good.  I was already starting to lose my hair, and it's still falling out (what's left), I guess that's probably from the perjeta or herceptin although I was told it could happen with taxol.  The taxol was much better tolerated than the taxotere.  Thanks for asking, I do appreciate knowing people care.  And I know our experiences can help others with this journey.

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

I did loose my hair with Taxol.  It was such a big deal for me when it happen as I had very, very thick hair.  Some of it grew back in an awful color which I think of as battleship grey.  I still need to wear my wig or hats, not long enough to do anything with and I am still on Taxol.

Not to have mentioned hair in my other post, reminds me that after a while, you just forget about all this stuff.  It's routine.

I do have premeds to before each treatment.

Best to you,



Posts: 41
Joined: Nov 2013

My hair was down to my waist and natural curly, I've noticed since it's started falling out it turns gray.   But, if losing my hair is the price, it's worth it, it'll grow back, eventually.

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi -- I had 4 infusions of Taxol and I have to say it was very easy for me. I know everyone is different. I only experience some pains inside my body (like little people hitting my organs). That was only day 1. The rest of the days were super easy and my hair even started to grow. I think most people handle it pretty well.

Good luck to you. There's light at the end of every tunnel.


1surfermom's picture
Posts: 361
Joined: Mar 2009

I am so glad that you are doing better on the Taxol. I had  weekly 12 infusions of taxol with herceptin. I had my infusions on Wednesday and felt pretty good until about Friday eve at about 5:00 P.M. and then the exhaustion would hit. I would spend the weekend on the couch and then feel like my old self on Monday just enough time to feel good and then back in on Wednesday.  I tolerated the Taxol pretty well although I did have to have an anti nausea patch. I had a much easier time on Taxol than the AC. I do hope that you are still doing well and be sure to be kind to yourself and not over do it. Love Surf

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