Pam's List for Help with Symptoms and Side Effects

From the women of the BCMETS.org mailing list, compiled by Pam Breakey 

NOTE: BE SURE TO DISCUSS SIDE EFFECTS AND TREATMENT WITH YOUR ONCOLOGIST and TELL YOUR ONCOLOGIST ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS AND OVER-THE-COUNTER  MEDICATIONS

Pain

  • Oxymorphone/Opana also newly approved
  • Fentanyl patch-25 mg
  • Marinol - Rx active ingredient in marijuana-rec. by our dear Alley also good for stimulating the appetite
  • Methadone
  • Lyrica- Targets nerve pain, helped pain from skin mets
  • Hydromorphone slow release
  • Fentor newly approved (2/08)... It's an effervescent tablet that you put in between your gum and your cheek, and it fizzes up.  Pain relief within 3 minutes, lasts up to 2 hours.
  • Nerve Pain Some anti depressants and some anti seizure meds are effective with nerve pain

Fatigue

  • Ritalin
  • modafinal (Provigal)
  • adderall

Insomnia

  • Melatonin-20 mg sublingual rec. by Barbara (sublingual=under the
    tongue)
  •  Nausea
  • Olanzapine
  • Zyprexa.
  • Emend-long acting
  • Anzamet-long acting
    Zofran-short acting
  • Kytril-short acting
  • Transderm SCOP patch-the motion sickness patch
  • Aloxi - premed IV
  • Metoclop
  • Marinol
  • Cesamet (RX)
  • Meclizine: it's supposed to be for motion control sickness, but I found it helps me get through nausea from treatment and liver mets. It's over the counter now Jan T.
  • Nexium one hour before meds
  • Peppermint Altoids
  • Water with lemon or real lemon and sugar
  • Cold canned pears
  • queazie pops from Tina's Treasures in Scottsdale, Az.

Loss of Appetite

  • Nutritional drinks-Ensure, Boost, Unjury protein powder (at unjury.com)
  • Marinol
  • Decadron
  • Smoothies

Constipation

  • Prunes (grandma was right!)
  • Miralax
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Lactulose (RX)
  • Senokot
  • Benefiber
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Equate Stool Softener (at Wal Mart) for constipation
  • glycerin suppositories
  • Slippery Elm an herb recommended by Barbara
  • Solaray- Total Cleanse-Daily Fiber- 120 capsules for 12.95 on Amazon.com
  • cod liver oil capsules. Also helps achy joints skin, hair & nails
  • Sugar free chocolate candy-one or two pieces (Harry and David sugarfree chocolate covered cherries; Whitman; Russell; and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory)
  • Aloe
  • Yakima Valley Anti Constipation Fruit Paste - Recipe

1 # pitted prunes
4 oz senna tea leaves (from health food store)
1 # raisins
1 # figs
1 cup lemon juice

1. Prepare tea; use about 2 1/2 cups boiling water, add to tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes.
2. Strain tea to remove tea leaves.
3. Place the tea in a large pan
4. Add all the fruit to the tea
5. Simmer for 15 minutes
6. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Allow to cool
7 Use food processor/blender/mixer to turn the fruit mixture into a paste.
8. Place in glass jars or plastic containers and place in refrigerator or freezer. (It will keep for many months in the refrigerator. It will not freeze, but will keep forever in the freezer.)

DOSAGE: 1-2 TBSP per day. Suggestions for use: Can be spread on toast, English muffin, bagel, muffin or rice cake. Best to use whole grain products for the fiber they provide. Good for breakfast, lunch or snack. On an English muffin or a bagel, for variety, first spread a thin layer of cream cheese and top with fruit paste. Also good mixed with strawberry or raspberry jam for a change of flavor. Norma says her husband doesn't need it, but uses it anyway because it tastes so good. Another recipe: mix 1 Cup unprocessed bran, 1 cup applesauce
 3/4 cup prune juice Mix to form paste and store in refrigerator.
Take 1 tbsp. daily and drink with a full glass of water or more.

Diarrhea

  • Esdifan OTC
  • Immodium
  • Marshmallows-one metster reports excellent post chemo results with a "dose" of two -- possible candidate for strangest remedy!
  • Huggies flushable non-perfumed wipes

Anal Fissure

  • Baby wipes rather than toilet paper
  • Stool softeners
  • suppositories with hydrocortizone
  • nifedipine gel .2% (Rx)
  • witch hazel (don't get it on the fissure itself!)

Heart Burn/Acid Reflux

  • Aloe Vera juice or gel, good mixed with grape juice, sold at most health food stores Kaye
  • Zantac or generic OTC (Walzan is Walgreen's brand, much cheaper & just as effective as the name brand stuff Sandy
  • Prilosec OTC

ONJ Mouth Care

  • Peroxicare Tooth Paste (Arm and Hammar) plus Listerine mouth wash (and only Listerine due to its ingredients)
  • Dry/Sore Mouth, Chemo-mouth
  • Nystatin mouth rinse
  • Gel Clair (new product)
  • Colgate Orabase Soothe-N-Seal
  • Biotene
  • Biotene's oral balance gel, good for those who sleep with mouth open
  • Oral Balance toothpaste
  • Club Soda/sparkling mineral water with lemon/lime
  • make a rinse of 1 quart of water, 1 heaping tbs of baking soda, one heaping tbs of salt; use four times a day. Swallowing caused vomiting, so don't!

Dry/Sore Nose and Nose Bleeds

  • Run a humidifier
  • Aquaphor
  • Rhinaris- for irritation
  • Steaming, hot water (Bonus: facial),
  • Vaseline petroleum jelly with a cotton swab just inside the nose, especially just before bed. Doesn't cure, but alleviates the pain & far fewer nose bleeds. (this could provide a breeding place for bacteria according to some)
  • Olive Oil-applied with Q tip (recommended by a flight attendant)
  • Saline nasal spray (some have moisturizers)
  • Ayr nasal spray
  • Xlear nasal spray--health food stores or www.vitacost.com
  • Nasal Cease (for nosebleeds) available at CVS
  • PONARIS Nasal Emollient

Runny Eyes

  • Livostin eye drops Rx
  • Systane (OTC)
  • Dry Stinging Nettles help control the runny nose and weepy eyes that are caused by Taxotere.

Fluids

  • Low sodium carbonated spring water
  • ginger ale
  • ginger tea
  • Propel water
  • Pedialyte

Joint pain

  • Celebrex-RX-a lot of us are on it works wonders for some
  • Glucosamine/Chrondroitin + MSM supplement,
  • Microlactin (I get mine from Vitacost.com, but you can buy these practically anywhere) Kris
  • Aleve-naproxen
  • cod liver oil capsules. Also helps constipation, skin, hair & nails
  • Potassium

"Chemobrain"

  • making lists, word games (crossword puzzles, wordfind), Balderdash, Word Mojo (Yahoo game online - free), journal-writing memories & current thoughts/feelings, card game "Concentration" - kinda a "use it or lose it" thang! Sandy
  • Phosphatidylserine - improved cognition (to offset the effects of chemobrain, again, can get from Vitacost.com
  • Cymbalta also called duloxetine for peripheral neuropathy
  • neurontin (600-1200 mg per day) for neuropathy.
  • little purse-sized notebook & a pen. Not just for your to-do-list! Also good for immediately recording questions you keep forgetting to ask the oncologist, odd side effects that aren't continual & frequency & degree of pain/discomfort.

Hot Flashes

  • Effexor Rx "treatment of choice" for women who cannot take estrogen
  • Evening Primrose Oil --I've been taking it twice a day for 8 months and it works terrific! I'm down to about 1-2 a day instead of hourly Cathy M.
  • A body cooling neck wrap that does not require refrigeration. It  is basically a fabric bandana with some sort of neat gel crystals in it. You soak it in plain tap water for about 30 minutes or so the first time and it stays cool for up to 3 days! You rehydrate it every 2nd or 3rd day for 10 to 15 minutes. Tie it around your neck or head, whatever. The Cobber, from Australia is available at www.bodycool.tv. A similar product is called the Neck Buddy and is sold in the USA at some drug stores and health food stores.
  • "Chillow" a chilled pillow, order from www.soothsoft.com. Or smarthome.com.

 Itchy Skin

  • Neurotin (Rx)
  • Hydroxyzine (Rx)
  • Benedryl cream mixed with witch hazel
  • Any topical benedryl-cream, gel
  • Benedryl , 25 mg OTC-talk to onc about how much you may take
  • Rash Mist - it is a Diaper Rash Spray that works great for external irritations caused from yeast infections.

Scalp Itch

  • I used one of those stocking like head covers under the wig, and it felt comfortable even when the hair began to grow back in. Esther
  •  100% aloe vera gel (clear) at drug stores such as those in Walmart or Longs Drugs. It is about $7.00. Kaye
  • OTC cortisone cream
  • A pencil is a great tool for scratching under the wig! LOL anonymous

Radiation Burns

  • Aquaphor
  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
  • Aloe Vera
  • Glaxal based cream
  • Miaderm Radiation Relief.
  • Suggestions for treating radiation burns (from a Radiation Technologist):
  • ONLY DO THIS ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR RADIATION TREATMENTS:
  • Brew some really strong tea - use something like regular Lipton, not a green tea. Let it cool completely, dip a cloth in it and apply the cloth to the burning areas. This will take the burning sensation away (it's the tannic acid in the tea that does that). She said some patients with radiation to large areas have even dipped whole t-shirts in it and worn them to get relief! You can save the
    tea and reuse it.
  • She also suggested if you have an area of "weepy" skin to keep it clean and dry and start applying an antibiotic cream to prevent infection.

Radiation Burns to Throat

  • Carafate. two teaspoons 3-4 times a day and then don't eat/drink for 30 minutes. Obtain Rx from rad onc

Hand/Foot Syndrome

  • (Hand-foot syndrome is a side effect of some chemotherapy drugs that results when a small amount of drug leaks out of the blood vessels, damaging tissues. This tends to happen in the hands and the feet because of the increased friction and heat that your extremities are exposed to through daily activities. Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding friction and heat. Treatment consists of reducing or stopping treatment with the drug that caused the syndrome. You may be able to prevent symptoms by avoiding friction or heat).
  • Reduce exposure of hands and feet to friction and heat by avoiding the following:
  • Hot water (washing dishes, long showers, hot baths)
  • Impact on your feet (jogging, aerobics, walking, jumping)
  • Using tools that require you to squeeze your hand on a hard surface (garden tools, household tools, kitchen knives)
  • Rubbing (applying lotion, massaging)

  • One metster has gotten good results by covering creamed feet with plastic wrap then sox

  • Biafine Helps heal the skin on peeling feet and hands. Available at CVS, in the pharmacy, may have to ask for it. www.biafine.orthoneutrogena.com

  • Dimethyl-sulfoxide (DMSO)

  • Balmex (in the grocery store with diaper rash products) just added to the list in 3/07

  • Butt Paste also with diaper rash products

  • Oral dexamethasone

  • Vitamin B 6 100 mg (200 mg twice a day recommended for nails by one metster)

  • Vitamin B--100mg of each, B1, B6, and B12

  • White cotton gloves/sox to wear over cream at night

  • Wedge shaped cosmetic sponges in the heels of shoes provide cushioning

  • Xeroform petrolatum dressing-for dressing cracks-great when refrigerated and cold

  • Hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil to clean lifting nails

  • Vicks Vaporub for toenail fungus

  • ResQ cream by Dr. Burt for hands & Almond Milk hand cream by Dr. Burt for feet

  • Working Hands lotion from the drugstore

  • Bag Balm

  • DiabEase, an OTC product made for diabetics with foot issues, available at Target, soak feet in it

  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment

  • Super glue on cracks-change daily

  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Cracked Heel Moisturizing Treatment.

  • Wet washcloth in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. Partially defrost and cover with light towel when you need a cold pack for feet or hands

  • Epsom salts soak (2 T to 1 Gallon of lukewarm water), 10 min or so, 2x/day.

  • Wet/dry dressing for raw areas-- Have a stock of 2x2 sterile guaze bandages. Take one gauze 2x2 and dip it in the epsom salt solution, then wring it out. Put that directly on the open wound. Take a dry 2x2 and put it on top of the damp one. Hold it all on not with tape, which can damage the skin more, but with the stretchy kind of bandage that sticks to itself. There are two kinds, the "band-aid" colored kind and the white kind

 Neuropathy

  • Neurontin 600 mg every six hours
  • Lyrica.
  • alpha lapoic acid (100 mg. twice a day).
  • folic acid w/B-12.
  • general Multi B-100
  • L-Glutamine-- 1 Tablespoon twice a day

 Nails

  • Keep nails trimmed short to avoid snags
  • (recommended by a dermatologist and done successfully by one metster) use funginail twice a day, and cortisone cream at night along with soaking in vinegar
  • Wear dark nail polish to protect from sunlight
  • Nails: Surgical gloves while preparing mucky foods
  • Sally Hansen xtra strength cuticle cream all over the nails, cheap, smells good & gives a somewhat healthy appearance to ugly nails.
  • Tea Tree Oil, alone or with Vicks Vaporub
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • Lamisil
  • Hoof Saver made by Farnum available at equestrian centers and on line

 Vaginal Dryness

  • Replens OTC
  • Testosterone cream 2.5 mg/ml cream, Rx compounded
  • Estring (Rx)
  • Rash Mist - it is a Diaper Rash Spray that works great for external
    irritations caused from yeast infections.

 Minor Indulgences

  • Star Bucks Frappuccino
  • Massage
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Facial
  • No guilt chocolate
  • A glass of Merlot
  • Electric mattress pad-very soothing
  • Down comforter-makes a cozy nest
  • High thread count cotton sheets

 Major Indulgences

  • Weekend trips
  • A new car so you don't have to worry about repairs
  • Chrysler Town and Country suggested for comfortable front seats
  • Prius suggested for dainty appetite at the gas pump
  • Red convertible for the "inner babe"
  • Spa or hot tub
  • A cruise