Capecitabine Details

Treating certain types of breast, colon, or colorectal cancer in some patients. It may be used alone or with other medicines in some cases.

Capecitabine is an antimetabolite. It works by interfering with the production of proteins necessary for cancer cell growth and reproduction.

Do NOT use capecitabine if:

you are allergic to any ingredient in capecitabine or to 5-fluorouracil

you have severe kidney problems or you have been told that you lack the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD)

Before using capecitabine:

Some medical conditions may interact with capecitabine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding

if you are taking any prescription (particularly blood thinners) or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement (vitamin E, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)

if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

if you have a history of heart, kidney, or liver problems; bone marrow problems; or pain, redness, swelling, tingling, or tenderness of the palms of the hands or soles of the feet (hand-and-foot syndrome)

if you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation or sores in the mouth, or an infection

if you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or if you take folic acid or vitamins that contain folic acid

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with capecitabine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

Certain anticoagulants (eg, phenprocoumon, warfarin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased by capecitabine

Leucovorin because the risk of severe intestinal problems, diarrhea, and dehydration may be increased

Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because their side effects may be increased by capecitabine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if capecitabine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use capecitabine:

Use capecitabine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

An extra patient leaflet is available with capecitabine. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.

Take capecitabine with food or within 30 minutes after a meal.

Swallow capecitabine whole with water. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.

It is recommended to use gloves and safety glasses to avoid exposure in case a tablet breaks. If powder from a broken tablet comes into contact with skin, wash the skin immediately with soap and water. If powder comes into contact with your mouth, nose, or eyes, rinse thoroughly with water.

If you miss a dose of capecitabine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. Check with your doctor if you miss a dose.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use capecitabine.

Important safety information:

Tell your doctor or dentist that you take capecitabine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.

Capecitabine may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have thoroughly washed your hands first. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.

Capecitabine may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.

Avoid vaccinations with live virus vaccines (eg, measles, mumps, oral polio) while you are taking capecitabine. Vaccinations may be less effective.

Diarrhea is common with capecitabine. Some cases of diarrhea may cause dehydration and kidney problems that can sometimes be deadly. Do not try to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Call your doctor right away if the number of bowel movements you have in a day increases by 4 or more than is normal for you. Call your doctor right away if you have bloody diarrhea, severe stomach pain, and fever.

Dehydration has happened in people taking capecitabine. Dehydration may cause serious kidney problems that can be fatal. The risk may be increased in people who already have kidney problems or who are taking medicines that can cause kidney problems. The risk may also be increased in people who have loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or weakness. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

If you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.

Very bad skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. They can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

Heart problems (eg, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat) and sudden death have happened with capecitabine. These effects may be more common in people who have a history of heart disease. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor,

Patients who lack the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in the body are at increased risk of severe and sometimes fatal side effects. These include mouth irritation or sores, diarrhea, low white blood cell counts, or nerve problems. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

General information:

If you have any questions about capecitabine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Capecitabine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.

If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Major Side Effects

More common:

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • numbness, pain, tingling, or other unusual sensations in the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet
  • pain, blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet
  • pain, redness, swelling, sores, or ulcers in your mouth or on your lips
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Less common or rare:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramping or pain (severe)
  • agitation
  • back pain
  • bleeding and bruising
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • bloody nose
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • blurred vision
  • burning, dry, or itching eyes
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • cold
  • collapse
  • coma
  • confusion
  • constipation

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