Fluorouracil

Pronunciation

Generic Name: fluorouracil (FLURE-oh-UE-ra-sil)
Brand Name: Adrucil

Fluorouracil should only be given by a health care provider in a medical setting. You will need to be in a health care facility the first time you take it due to the possibility of a severe reaction.


Fluorouracil is used for:

Treating symptoms of colon, rectum, breast, stomach, and pancreas cancer.

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

Do NOT use fluorouracil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in fluorouracil
  • you have a serious infection or are malnourished
  • you are taking sorivudine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using fluorouracil:

Some medical conditions may interact with fluorouracil. 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 or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have impaired liver or kidney function

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

  • Amphotericin B, cimetidine, folic acid, interferon alfa, leucovorin, metronidazole, sorivudine, tamoxifen, thiazide-type diuretics (eg, hydrochlorothiazide), or vinca alkaloids (eg, vincristine) because they may increase fluorouracil's side effects
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because they may increase fluorouracil's side effects
  • Carbamazepine or quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by fluorouracil

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if fluorouracil 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 fluorouracil:

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

  • Fluorouracil is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Do not use fluorouracil if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you take methotrexate, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take it with fluorouracil.
  • If you miss a dose of fluorouracil, contact your doctor immediately.

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

Important safety information:

  • Fluorouracil may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • If nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite occur, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine while you are using fluorouracil.
  • Fluorouracil 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.
  • Fluorouracil may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to fluorouracil. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell count, may be performed while you use fluorouracil. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Fluorouracil has been shown to cause harm to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using fluorouracil while you are pregnant. It is not known if fluorouracil is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking fluorouracil.

Possible side effects of fluorouracil:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Changes in eyesight; dry skin; fatigue or weakness; hair loss; headache; itchy rash; loss of appetite; nail changes; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bleeding; blood in the urine; bloody stools; chest pain; chills; fever; frequent diarrhea; inflammation of the mouth or throat; joint pain; lower back or abdominal pain; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; painful urination; severe vomiting; sore throat; sores on the mouth or lips; unusual bruising or bleeding; vomiting; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; intestinal bleeding; nausea; vomiting.

Proper storage of fluorouracil:

Fluorouracil is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using fluorouracil at home, store fluorouracil as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep fluorouracil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about fluorouracil, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Fluorouracil 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.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take fluorouracil or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about fluorouracil. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to fluorouracil. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using fluorouracil.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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