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Why do you need to take Xeloda with food?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Jan 9, 2024.

Official answer


Xeloda (capecitabine), an oral chemotherapy medication, should be taken within 30 minutes after eating a meal in order to get the proper dosage of medication in your blood.

Xeloda should not be taken on an empty stomach. Clinical studies have shown that food influences the pharmacokinetics of the medication and thus affects its metabolites (the result of the metabolization of a medication).

Food helps slow the rate and extent of absorption of Xeloda, which is important because it is rapidly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract upon ingestion. Rapid absorption can lead to high concentrations of the medication within the liver, which then can result in a toxicity. Delaying the rate of absorption with food will ensure the proper dosage is being metabolized within the body. Taking Xeloda with food can also help to decrease the occurrence of adverse events.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prescribing Information: Xeloda (capecitabine). March 2015. Available at: [Accessed January 12, 2022].
Segal EM, Flood MR, Mancini RS, et al. Oral chemotherapy food and drug interactions: A comprehensive review of the literature. Journal of Oncology Practice. 2014. July; 10(4): e255-e268.

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