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Generic Name: capecitabine (KAP e SYE ta been)
Brand Name: Xeloda

What is capecitabine?

Capecitabine is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their spread in the body.

Capecitabine is used to treat colon cancer, and breast or colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Capecitabine is often used in combination with other cancer medications and/or radiation treatments.

Capecitabine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about capecitabine?

You should not take capecitabine if you have severe kidney disease or a metabolic disorder called DPD (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase) deficiency.

If you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven), you may need to have more frequent "INR" or prothrombin time tests. Taking a blood thinner can increase your risk of severe bleeding while you are using capecitabine, and for a short time after you stop taking capecitabine. This risk is higher in adults older than 60.

Slideshow: View Frightful (But Dead Serious) Drug Side Effects

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking capecitabine?

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to capecitabine or fluorouracil (Adrucil), or if you have:

  • severe kidney disease; or

  • a metabolic disorder called DPD (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase) deficiency.

To make sure capecitabine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:

  • kidney disease;

  • bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia;

  • liver disease;

  • a history of coronary artery disease; or

  • if you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).

Do not use capecitabine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking capecitabine, whether you are a man or a woman. Tell your doctor if a pregnancy occurs during treatment.

It is not known whether capecitabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking capecitabine.

How should I take capecitabine?

Capecitabine is usually taken twice per day. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Capecitabine is given in a 3-week treatment cycle, and you may only need to take the medicine during the first 2 weeks of each cycle. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with capecitabine.

Capecitabine is only part of a treatment program that may also include other medications taken on different schedules. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Capecitabine should be taken with food or within 30 minutes after eating a meal.

Take capecitabine with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, if you are unable to eat because of stomach illness, or if you are sweating more than usual. Prolonged illness can lead to dehydration or kidney failure.

You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medicine is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Capecitabine can have long lasting effects on your body. You may need frequent medical tests for a short time after you stop using this medicine.

You must remain under the care of a doctor while you are taking capecitabine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking capecitabine?

This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.

Capecitabine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fever above 100.5 degrees;

  • nausea, loss of appetite, eating much less than usual, vomiting (more than once in 24 hours);

  • severe diarrhea (more than 4 times per day, or during the night);

  • blisters or ulcers in your mouth, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing;

  • pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, blistering, or peeling skin on your hands or feet;

  • dehydration symptoms--feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;

  • heart problems--chest pain or pressure, uneven heartbeats, shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling or rapid weight gain;

  • kidney problems--little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath;

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • low blood cell counts--fever or other flu symptoms, cough, skin sores, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • stomach pain or upset, constipation;

  • tired feeling;

  • mild skin rash; or

  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect capecitabine?

If you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven), you may need to have more frequent "INR" or prothrombin time tests. Taking a blood thinner can increase your risk of severe bleeding while you are using capecitabine, and for a short time after you stop taking capecitabine. This risk is higher in adults older than 60.

Other drugs may interact with capecitabine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about capecitabine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01. Revision Date: 2015-01-12, 3:16:12 PM.

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