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Medications for Colorectal Cancer

Other names: Cancer, Colon; Cancer, Colorectal; Cancer, Rectal; Colon Cancer; Colon Carcinoma; Colorectal Carcinoma; Rectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the term used to describe any type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum.

The colon (also called the large bowel) is the part of the digestive system that turns what remains of our digested food into solid waste before expelling it from the body. Colorectal cancer may also be called bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer.

What Causes Colorectal Cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells. It occurs when a mutation or abnormal change occurs that upsets how our cells multiply and divide. This allows the cell to keep dividing, out-of-control, instead of dying and being replaced by a new cell. Sometimes these out-of-control cells cluster together and form a lump called a tumor. Tumors can form in almost any area of the body,

Experts are not sure why colorectal cancer develops in some people but not others, but they have identified a number of risk factors that make people more likely to develop colorectal cancer. These include:

  • Age: 91% of cases are diagnosed in people older than 50
  • Polyps in the bowel (these can be identified up during a colonoscopy). Most colon cancers develop within a polyp
  • People who eat diets low in fiber and high in animal protein (red meat), saturated fats, and calories
  • High alcohol consumption
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or people who have inherited certain genes
  • Excessive weight
  • Smoking
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • A history of inflammatory bowel disease (eg, Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s) or irritable bowel disease
  • A previous history of breast, ovary, or uterine cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Symptoms may vary depending on where the cancer is located and its size but may include:

  • A change in bowel habits (for example periods of diarrhea followed by periods of constipation)
  • Blood in the feces (these may give the stools a tarry or black appearance) or coming from the rectum
  • A feeling like the bowel is not completely empty after a bowel movement
  • Bloating or feeling full even after not eating for a while
  • Abdominal pain
  • A lump in the abdomen or rectum felt by a doctor
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained iron deficiency.

See your doctor if any of these symptoms persist for more than four weeks and there is no apparent reason for them.

How is Colorectal Cancer Diagnosed?

If colorectal cancer is suspected based on your symptoms or the results of screening or another test, further tests will be conducted before a definite diagnosis is made. These may include:

  • A digital rectal examination
  • An x-ray of the digestive tract
  • Blood tests
  • Colonoscopy (usually needed for a definite diagnosis unless cancer has been found during an unrelated surgery).

How is Colorectal Cancer Treated?

Treatment for colorectal cancer depends on the type of cancer, if it has spread, and where it is located. Treatment may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.

Drugs used to treat Colorectal Cancer

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Filter
Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
oxaliplatin 4.8 4 reviews for oxaliplatin to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
oxaliplatin systemic
Brand name:
Eloxatin
Drug class:
alkylating agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Xeloda 9.0 8 reviews for Xeloda to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
capecitabine systemic
Drug class:
antimetabolites
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
capecitabine 8.4 16 reviews for capecitabine to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
capecitabine systemic
Brand name:
Xeloda
Drug class:
antimetabolites
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
fluorouracil 1.0 2 reviews for fluorouracil to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
fluorouracil systemic
Drug class:
antimetabolites
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Avastin 5.5 3 reviews for Avastin to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
bevacizumab systemic
Drug class:
VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
leucovorin Rate Add review
Rx C N
Generic name:
leucovorin systemic
Drug class:
antidotes
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Keytruda 4.5 2 reviews for Keytruda to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
pembrolizumab systemic
Drug class:
anti-PD-1 and PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies (immune checkpoint inhibitors)
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Betaseron Rate Add review
Rx C N X
Generic name:
interferon beta-1b systemic
Drug class:
interferons
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Opdivo 4.8 5 reviews for Opdivo to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx N
Generic name:
nivolumab systemic
Drug class:
anti-PD-1 and PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies (immune checkpoint inhibitors)
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Braftovi 1.0 1 review for Braftovi to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx N
Generic name:
encorafenib systemic
Drug class:
multikinase inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
nivolumab 4.8 5 reviews for nivolumab to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx N
Generic name:
nivolumab systemic
Brand name:
Opdivo
Drug class:
anti-PD-1 and PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies (immune checkpoint inhibitors)
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
pembrolizumab 6.3 4 reviews for pembrolizumab to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
pembrolizumab systemic
Brand name:
Keytruda
Drug class:
anti-PD-1 and PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies (immune checkpoint inhibitors)
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
Yervoy Rate Add review
Rx C N
Generic name:
ipilimumab systemic
Drug class:
anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
ipilimumab Rate Add review
Rx C N
Generic name:
ipilimumab systemic
Brand name:
Yervoy
Drug class:
anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
irinotecan 3.0 3 reviews for irinotecan to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
irinotecan systemic
Brand name:
Camptosar
Drug class:
miscellaneous antineoplastics
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Stivarga 3.7 8 reviews for Stivarga to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
regorafenib systemic
Drug class:
multikinase inhibitors, VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
bevacizumab 5.5 3 reviews for bevacizumab to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
bevacizumab systemic
Brand names:
Avastin, Mvasi, Zirabev, Alymsys, Avzivi, Vegzelma
Drug class:
VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
Erbitux 7.8 4 reviews for Erbitux to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
cetuximab systemic
Drug class:
EGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Camptosar 5.0 1 review for Camptosar to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx D N
Generic name:
irinotecan systemic
Drug class:
miscellaneous antineoplastics
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
cetuximab 7.8 4 reviews for cetuximab to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
cetuximab systemic
Brand name:
Erbitux
Drug class:
EGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph
Vectibix 6.3 4 reviews for Vectibix to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
panitumumab systemic
Drug class:
EGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Eloxatin Rate Add review
Rx D N
Generic name:
oxaliplatin systemic
Drug class:
alkylating agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
methotrexate Off-label Rate Add review
Rx X N X
Generic name:
methotrexate systemic
Drug class:
antimetabolites, antirheumatics, antipsoriatics, other immunosuppressants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
Lonsurf Rate Add review
Rx N
Generic name:
tipiracil / trifluridine systemic
Drug class:
antineoplastic combinations
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Zaltrap 10 1 review for Zaltrap to treat Colorectal Cancer
Rx C N
Generic name:
ziv-aflibercept systemic
Drug class:
VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information

Frequently asked questions

View more FAQ

Topics under Colorectal Cancer

Learn more about Colorectal Cancer

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Medicine.com guides (external)

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription only.
OTC Over-the-counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over-the-counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Expanded Access Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.