Chemotherapy-induced diarrhea can be classified as complicated or uncomplicated. This classification can be used to triage the patient for treatment.


Criteria for complicated diarrhea:

(1) CTC Grade 3 or 4 diarrhea

(2) presence of moderate to severe cramping or abdominal pain

(3) CTC nausea or vomiting Grade 2, 3 or 4

(4) decreased performance status

(5) fever

(6) sepsis

(7) neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 500 per µL)

(8) bleeding, including bloody stools

(9) dehydration

(10) dizziness on standing (orthostatic hypotension, from pages 2922 and 2924)


If the patient does not meet the criteria for complicated diarrhea, then the patient would be classified as uncomplicated.


A patient with complicated diarrhea requires close medical management and aggressive therapy. A patient with uncomplicated diarrhea can be managed conservatively.


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