FOLFIRINOX can increase your risk of getting an infection. An infection is an emergency if you are having chemotherapy, and needs treating straight away.
If you have a high temperature, or you have any other signs of an infection, call your chemotherapy team on the emergency number, or go to A&E and tell them you are having chemotherapy. Read more about infections and how they are treated.
Runny poo (diarrhoea)
If you have diarrhoea, make sure you drink lots of water. If you have it more than four times a day, tell your chemotherapy team. They can give you medicines to control it. Read more about diarrhoea and how it is treated.
Problems emptying your bowels (constipation)
If you get constipation, drink lots of water and try to eat high fibre foods, such as fruit and vegetables. Gentle exercise such as walking can also help. Speak to your doctor about medicines that can help.
Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
Fatigue is a common side effect of FOLFIRINOX. It isn’t the same as feeling tired. Fatigue can make you feel weak and have problems concentrating. Some people find that the fatigue starts a few hours to a few days after having chemotherapy, and starts to get better after a few days. There are things that you can do to help with fatigue. Read our tips on coping with fatigue.
Oxaliplatin may also cause dizziness
Feeling tired and dizzy can affect your ability to drive. If you have these side effects, speak to your doctor about driving.
Feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
This is a common side effect of FOLFIRINOX. You will normally be given anti-sickness medicines before your chemotherapy starts. If these medicines don’t help, speak to your chemotherapy team about changing to a different medicine. We have tips for coping with feeling and being sick.
Tingling and numbness in your fingertips and toes
FOLFIRINOX can affect the nerves in your hands and feet, which can cause tingling and numbness (peripheral neuropathy). This normally gets better after your treatment, but for some people it may never go away. Talk to your chemotherapy team if you have this side effect.
Problems swallowing and breathing (laryngeal spasm)
Oxaliplatin can affect your throat, which can make it hard to swallow or breathe. If this happens when you are being given oxaliplatin, tell your nurse straight away. They may stop the infusion of oxaliplatin while they give you medicine to help.
You may also get this side effect in the first few hours after having oxaliplatin – but this is normally only if you are out in the cold, or having a cold drink. It should stop a few days after your treatment.
Anaemia (feeling tired or dizzy)
FOLFIRINOX can lower the number of red blood cells in your blood. This is called anaemia, and can make you feel tired, dizzy or short of breath.
Bruising and bleeding
FOLFIRINOX can lower the number of platelets in your blood – this is called thrombocytopenia. This can cause you to bruise more easily than normal, and you may be more likely to have nosebleeds or bleeding gums.
FOLFIRINOX may cause your hair to thin, or you may lose some hair – but it should grow back once your treatment stops.
FOLFIRINOX may cause a funny taste in your mouth. Some people say this tastes like metal or cardboard. You might find our tips for coping with taste changes helpful.
Loss of appetite
During your treatment you may not feel like eating, and you may start to lose weight. Try eating small meals often. If your appetite doesn’t get better after a few days, tell your doctor or dietitian. We have tips on dealing with a loss of appetite.
Sore mouth and mouth ulcers
FOLFIRINOX can make your mouth sore, or cause mouth ulcers which can be uncomfortable. Tell your chemotherapy team about any problems you have with your mouth. They can make sure you don’t have a mouth infection.
Sore hands and feet
FOLFIRINOX can make the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet red and sore, and your skin may start to peel or blister. Your skin might also look shiny, feel tight and crack around the fingertips. Your doctor or nurse may give you a vitamin or creams to help. This normally gets better when your chemotherapy finishes.
Joint and bone pain
Oxaliplatin can cause problems with your joints, such as swelling or pain. Your doctor or nurse can give you painkillers to help. Read about having painkillers with chemotherapy.
FOLFIRINOX can make your skin darken or become more sensitive to the sun. Use a high factor sun cream if you are going outside. These changes normally get better when your treatment finishes.
FOLFIRINOX can cause sore, itchy or watery eyes. Tell your doctor or nurse if this happens, as they may need to give you some eye drops. Some people get blurred vision, but this is less common.