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Pacilitaxel side effects

Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on May 22, 2020 2:37 pm

I have just completed my first four chemo sessions with Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide. I live alone and drove myself for blood tests and to the Chemo sessions. However the nurses have advised me that the next four sessions use Pacilitaxel and because of side effects it is not recommended to drive. All of the voluntary drivers are not operating at this time, I have no family and any individuals I contacted have said no. This leaves me with taxi service which I am very fearful of using due to a higher chance of infection. Has anyone else been able to drive themselves? I am told it makes one very sleepy, hence dangerous to drive.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Kims1961 on May 22, 2020 3:29 pm

LGS‍   Congrats on getting halfway!!!

I was on a different regime - FEC/D - the "D" was docetaxel but i looked up the side effects sheet on www.cancercareontario.ca for paclitaxel.


It's always better to discuss this with your doctor or nurse.  Do you have far to drive?  Does your nurse know your circumstances? Would you have a friend that could do this for you?  

You have a good point that is worthy of a discussion with your doctor - what are the pros/cons of driving versus getting into a taxi during COVID?  

Let us know how you make out.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on May 22, 2020 5:09 pm

I guess all my friends are what we call ‘fair weather friends’, only around through good times. They have either disappeared or said no, considering the fact that stores are opening up and people are starting to go out more can’t say they really have any excuse. I live about a half hours drive from the hospital. Taking a taxi concerns me since the driver may not wear a mask or who knows who has been in the cab, going through chemo makes one susceptible to germs in general. I am still calling agencies to see if they might know an individual willing. The nurses were fairly adamant that I not drive at least for the first two of the four sessions to see how it affects me. They did say that they had had other patients with the same question, not everyone has family or friends available and cancelling all the volunteers has left some people in a serious position.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Essjay on May 22, 2020 5:25 pm

LGS‍ I definitely couldn’t drive after Paclitaxel. The Benadryl they gave me to accompany it had me almost comatose...

I feel for you...

I would talk to the nurse or your doctor. I know that in some regimes they give Paclitaxel more often at a lower dose, so there may be alternative ways to treat you so that you can drive yourself...
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Nightowl on May 23, 2020 5:08 am

When I got to the ‘T’ (PACLitaxel) rounds this past March, I was put on a lower dose, weekly regime.  I was way more tired than with the previous ‘AC’ rounds, because of the accompanying Benedryl.  I could not have driven anywhere after those weekly PACLitaxel chemo sessions. 

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by WestCoastSailor on May 24, 2020 2:03 pm


My paclitaxol was part of a lung cancer treatment that included carboplatin. It had the side effect of reducing my breast tumors to hard-to-find. It wasn't the drug itself but the side effect management tools - Benadryl and dexamethasone that made it dangerous to drive. Benadryl made me extremely sleepy and the dexamethasone lowered my inhibitions and boosted my energy. I could have leapt tall buildings with that stuff. Great combination that you definitely don't want to be behind the wheel with onboard.

Some other alternatives to look into perhaps. Talk to the social worker at the hospital. If there are other patients in this situation they may have some solutions. A preferred taxi service that protects patients for example. A lot of hospitals / health systems have medical transport/transfer services available as well. They are ambulance like services designed for the noncritical transfer of patients. They may be able to help you access this service in these perilous times.

I had one other experience that may help present an alternative. I showed up for a fine wire biopsy from my lung tumor without a driver. A massive miscommunication that I needed a driver and that I would need to pay for more than two hours of parking. The solution was that the nurse tacked a little extra monitoring on to the end of my stay. Instead of the required three hours with an xray each hour to make sure that my lung hadn't collapsed, I stayed six hours (only three xrays though.)  I caught a nap and was ready to go at the end. So maybe staying a little longer is an option?

Thinking beyond the first one is probably not necessary at this point. See how you react after the first infusion. Then plan for the second one.

Best of luck and hope your treatments continue to be successful.

My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on May 25, 2020 11:58 am

Unfortunately the only option the hospital had for transportation were taxi vouchers, this is regular taxi service which the public uses. Obviously my concern is that the driver does not wear a mask or who might have been in the vehicle before me. Even the nurses stated they had had inquiries from people with no transportation. I have asked a few neighbors and even though they were willing to brave going to a restaurant their only suggestion was to take a taxi. No one was willing to offer a lift. My fear is two fold, one is covid 19 and the other getting an infection. Unless there is a change I won’t have any other option. I find it interesting that people are more than willing to venture out to stores that are reopening but they won’t offer a lift to someone in need. Another fact is that everyone is no longer wearing masks at least where I live. 

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Elsie13 on May 26, 2020 4:44 pm

LGS‍ , so sorry you are in this situation, possibly having to take a taxi when your immune system is perhaps compromised. I'm a neurotic, paranoid sort of person, so I can see how scary this might be. I can also see it from the 'fair weather friends' point of view. 

Not that this is helpful necessarily, but when friends chose to go to a store, they can chose someplace nearby.  They can chose a store that has customer washrooms. If they drive you to the hospital, (or drive to pick you up at hospital) there may be long delays, and they won't won't be allowed inside to use the bathroom? 

My hope is that in the future, there will be some other way that your friends will be able to help you. 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on May 26, 2020 5:36 pm


Sorry you are in this predicament. I guess the reality is whoever drives you, you will being sharing a space with someone. I  don't know where in BC you live but I took a look at the website of a vancouver taxi firm to see if they list their protocols regarding COVID 19. They say they have a plexiglass partition between driver and back seat and  disinfect seats, door and handles after each trip. If you do go this route or perhaps Uber/Lyft type service, this is something you can ask about when looking into booking.
I found this info as well on cancer.ca:
  • Cancer patients who are seniors can call 211 for assistance from Better at Home, which is authorized to provide transportation services.
  • Cancer patients needing a ride to treatment in Vancouver can call the CCS lodge at 604-879-9131. CCS staff will help you with a discount code from Lyft.
You may also want to check in with our Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-3333 to see if they have any other resources.

I wish you well with this.  Let us know how you make out
Congratulations on putting some of your treatment in the rear view mirror.


Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on May 27, 2020 11:35 am

Yes I have already contacted all of these options. The taxi service accepts vouchers from hospital but stated that ‘some’ of their taxi have plexiglass dividers, not all, and drivers are ‘supposed’ to sanitize after each rider. I got the impression it’s more the luck of the draw as to which cab and driver one might get. The dispatcher didn’t seem to know anything about it but the administrator did. As to the other option I did call Better at Home before and couldn’t get any confirmation from them, everything seems to be on hold due to covid 19. I will probably end up with the taxi service and just hope.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 28, 2020 8:39 am

LGS‍ , knowing this, then, could I suggest that you pocket a few disinfecting wipes so you can wipe down the machines and door handles for an added level of comfort? I do this when I go to the bank machine (and I’m a caregiver!) 

(I didn’t mention a mask, because I’m pretty sure you’re already on that!)
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on Jun 5, 2020 4:21 am

My first chemo session with Pacilitaxel was on Tuesday. Thursday afternoon bone pain started and steadily increased during night. Has everyone else suffered pain during this treatment. My previous four sessions under my other drug did not.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Essjay on Jun 5, 2020 7:55 am

LGS‍ oh yes, the pain on Paclitaxel took me by surprise. I had my chemo on Wednesdays and if hit me over the weekend, a long weekend and a blizzard. My hubby was away camping (yep, in a blizzard). I ended up making an emergency call to my social worker who gave me a phone session on mindfulness and this really helped me. I am not great on narcotics, allergic to some, so I generally decline them. I was worried that with a couple of months of treatment I would become addicted if I started (and at the time my sister was coming off narcotics after liver damage was found). I did go on CBD oil though. I spent the time until my next chemo getting used to it and upping the dose, and it really made a difference to me. I chose to use the stuff without THC, but 8 understand THC helps with pain too...In addition, moving - walking, yoga, and hot pads or hot water bottles on the legs helped me too.

How are you doing today - I note your post was early morning, so you must be tired after losing sleep. I hope you are able to get relief.

best wishes Essjay xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by LGS on Jun 5, 2020 9:33 am

Like yourself I am adverse to taking pills. I went from being uncomfortable in the evening to pain mostly from knees down legs to feet, with the feet being the worst although I seem to have hit a peak during the early hours. I have Advil and Tylenol but didn’t take anything last night. Did the pain last for a couple of days or until the next chemo session.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Essjay on Jun 5, 2020 10:01 am

I found it was days 4-7 that were the worst...
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by BookLover on Jun 6, 2020 8:49 am

Bone pain is definitely one of the side effects of this drug.  I had it come on days 4-7 post chemo and then it was gone. Not great while you're going through it,  but I managed with tylenol and a heating blanket on my legs. As has been suggested,  if you can get up and move it helps a bit. For me, that was my worst side effect and I considered myself lucky as I never even opened my bottle of nausea meds.

Hope you find relief.

Re: Pacilitaxel side effects

Posted by Erdco on Jun 6, 2020 9:12 am

Thanks for the response. Great that you too had few side effects. Stay strong!