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Medications for Colorectal Cancer

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

What is Colorectal 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.

Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
Xeloda 8.9 7 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: capecitabine systemic

Drug class: antimetabolites

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

oxaliplatin 6.0 3 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: oxaliplatin systemic

Brand name:  Eloxatin

Drug class: alkylating agents

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

fluorouracil Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: fluorouracil systemic

Drug class: antimetabolites

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Avastin 5.5 3 reviews
Rx C N

Generic name: bevacizumab systemic

Drug class: VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

capecitabine 8.6 11 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: capecitabine systemic

Brand name:  Xeloda

Drug class: antimetabolites

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

leucovorin Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: leucovorin systemic

Drug class: antidotes

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, 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: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off-label: Yes

Keytruda Rate Add review
Rx D N

Generic name: pembrolizumab systemic

Drug class: anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

pembrolizumab 8.0 2 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: pembrolizumab systemic

Brand name:  Keytruda

Drug class: anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Opdivo 0.0 1 review
Rx N

Generic name: nivolumab systemic

Drug class: anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

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

irinotecan 3.0 2 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: irinotecan systemic

Brand name:  Camptosar

Drug class: miscellaneous antineoplastics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Stivarga 5.5 4 reviews
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
Rx C N

Generic name: bevacizumab systemic

Brand names:  Avastin, Mvasi, Zirabev

Drug class: VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Erbitux 7.8 4 reviews
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
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
Rx C N

Generic name: cetuximab systemic

Brand name:  Erbitux

Drug class: EGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

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

Vectibix 4.5 3 reviews
Rx C N

Generic name: panitumumab systemic

Drug class: EGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Fusilev Rate Add review
Rx C N

Generic name: levoleucovorin systemic

Drug class: antidotes

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

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

panitumumab 3.3 4 reviews
Rx C N

Generic name: panitumumab systemic

Brand name:  Vectibix

Drug class: EGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Zaltrap 10 1 review
Rx C N

Generic name: ziv-aflibercept systemic

Drug class: VEGF/VEGFR 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

regorafenib 5.5 4 reviews
Rx D N

Generic name: regorafenib systemic

Brand name:  Stivarga

Drug class: multikinase inhibitors, VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Topics under Colorectal Cancer

Learn more about Colorectal Cancer

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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.
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
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.

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Further information

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