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Capecitabine - Oral

Pronunciation: KAP-e-SYE-ta-been

Common Brand Name(s): Xeloda

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Warning

People taking capecitabine along with certain "blood thinners" (anticoagulants such as warfarin) may have a higher chance of serious, rarely fatal bleeding. Bleeding has occurred during treatment and as long as one month after stopping capecitabine. If you are using an anticoagulant, blood lab tests (INR/PT) will be closely checked. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of bleeding or bruising (such as bloody/black/tarry stools).

Uses

Capecitabine is used to treat certain types of cancer (such as breast, colon, rectal, stomach, esophageal, pancreatic cancer). It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

How To Use

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking capecitabine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily (about 12 hours apart). Your doctor may direct you to take this medication in a treatment cycle. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.

Swallow the tablets whole with water within 30 minutes after a meal. Do not crush, chew, or split the tablets. If you have trouble swallowing the tablets whole, ask your health care professional for advice.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

If you vomit after taking a dose, do not take another dose at that time. Take your next dose at the regular time.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, tiredness, weakness, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, or changes in taste may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Diarrhea is a common side effect of this medication. Drink plenty of fluids unless directed otherwise. Your doctor may also prescribe medication (such as loperamide) to help lessen diarrhea. Vomiting or diarrhea that doesn't stop may result in dehydration. Contact your doctor promptly if you notice any symptoms of dehydration, such as unusual decreased urination, unusual dry mouth/thirst, or dizziness/lightheadedness.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. Also, temporary nail changes may occur.

People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, you have been prescribed this drug because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • severe nausea/vomiting (vomiting 2 or more times per day, unable to eat or keep food/fluids in your stomach)
  • painful redness/swelling/sores in mouth or on your tongue
  • easy bruising/bleeding
  • mental/mood changes (such as depression)
  • unusual tiredness
  • swelling of the ankles/feet
  • vision changes
  • signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine)
  • yellowing eyes/skin
  • dark urine

Capecitabine may make you develop a skin problem called hand-foot syndrome. To help prevent this, protect your hands and feet from heat or increased pressure. Avoid activities such as using hot dishwater, taking tub baths, jogging, long walks, or using garden or household tools such as screwdrivers. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, redness, blisters, or numbness of the hands/feet. Your doctor may prescribe medication (such as balm) to help with symptoms. If symptoms affect your usual activities, get medical help right away.

This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infections (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough).

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:

  • chest/jaw/left arm pain
  • unusual sweating
  • fainting
  • slow/fast/irregular heartbeat

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as:

  • rash/blisters/peeling
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other side effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking capecitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to 5-fluorouracil; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • a certain enzyme deficiency (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase - DPD)
  • blood disorders (such as bone marrow suppression)
  • heart problems (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease)
  • kidney disease
  • liver problems

Capecitabine can make you more likely to get infections or may make current infections worse. Stay away from anyone who has an infection that may easily spread (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, flu). Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Tell your health care professional that you are using capecitabine before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hand-foot syndrome.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using capecitabine. Capecitabine may harm an unborn baby. Your doctor should order a pregnancy test before you start this medication. Women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. Men using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after the last dose. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended during treatment and for 1 week after the last dose. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

See also Warning section.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (such as prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

A product that may interact with this drug is:

  • allopurinol

Capecitabine is very similar to fluorouracil. Do not use medications containing fluorouracil while using capecitabine.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others.

Lab and/or medical tests (such as bilirubin, complete blood counts, kidney/liver function) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time and check with your doctor. Do not double the dose to catch up.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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