Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Trade names: FUDR®
Chemocare.com uses generic drug names in all descriptions of drugs. FUDR is the
trade name for floxuridine. In some cases, health care professionals may use the
trade name FUDR when referring to the generic drug name floxuridine.
Drug type: Floxuridine is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic"
or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. This medication is classified as an "antimetabolite."
(For more detail, see "How this drug works" section below).
What Floxuridine Is Used For:
- Floxuridine is used to treat advanced colon, kidney or stomach cancer.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use
this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Floxuridine Is Given:
- Floxuridine can be given by infusion through an artery (intra-arterial). The
manufacturer recommends that patients be hospitalized for the first course of treatment.
- Floxuridine may be given directly into the hepatic (liver) artery.
- Floxuridine may also be given by infusion through a vein (intravenous).
- The amount of floxuridine that you will receive depends on many factors, including
your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type
of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose,
schedule, and how the drug will be given.
Important things to remember about the side effects of floxuridine:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the
effectiveness of the medication.
- The side effects of floxuridine and their severity depend on how much of the drug
is given. In other words, high doses may produce more severe side effects.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for
patients taking floxuridine:
- Low blood counts. Your white and red blood cells and platelets may temporarily
decrease. This can put you at increased risk for infection, anemia and/or bleeding.
Nadir: Meaning low point, nadir is the point in time between chemotherapy
cycles in which you experience low blood counts.
Onset: none noted
Nadir: 7-10 days
Recovery: 14-17 days
- Mouth sores
- Diarrhea (may be severe)
These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%)
of patients receiving floxuridine:
- Poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Elevated liver enzymes (temporary increase in alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase,
transaminase, and bilirubin). (see liver problems) This is seen more with the intra-arterial
infusion directly into the liver.
- Hand -foot syndrome (Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia or PPE) -skin rash, swelling,
redness, pain and/or peeling of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of feet.
- Stomach ulcers (This is seen more with the intra-arterial infusion).
Your fertility, meaning your ability to conceive or father a child, may be affected
by floxuridine. Please discuss this issue with your health care provider.
Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in less than
10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always inform your
health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you
should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection).
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.
Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the
- Diarrhea (2 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Blood in the urine
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Tingling or burning, redness, swelling of the palms of the hands or soles of feet
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting floxuridine treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any
other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins,
herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, or products containing
aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
- Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval
while taking floxuridine.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior
to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (floxuridine may be hazardous
to the fetus. Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of
the potential hazard to the fetus).
- For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking floxuridine.
Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with
your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
- Do not breast feed while taking this medication.
- Floxuridine must be used with caution in patients with poor nutritional status,
kidney or liver problems, low levels of white blood cells or platelets, bone marrow
problems, or serious infections. It also must be used with caution in patients
who have had high levels of radiation to the pelvic area or previous chemotherapy
with alkylating agents.
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds and
those not feeling well, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately
to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times
a day with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda and/or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt mixed
with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- This medication causes little nausea. But if you should experience nausea,
take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small frequent
meals. Sucking on lozenges and chewing gum may also help.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided
completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Prevention of hand-foot syndrome. Modification of normal activities of daily living
to reduce friction and heat exposure to hands and feet, for about a week after treatment
(for more information see - Managing side effects: hand foot syndrome).
- Keep palms of hands and soles of feet moist using emollients.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health
care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that
are effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you
are taking floxuridine, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy.
Periodic blood work to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function
of other organs (such as your liver and kidneys) will also be ordered by your doctor.
How Floxuridine Works:
Cancerous tumors are characterized by cell division, which is no longer controlled
as it is in normal tissue. "Normal" cells stop dividing when they come
into contact with like cells, a mechanism known as contact inhibition. Cancerous
cells lose this ability. Cancer cells no longer have the normal checks and
balances in place that control and limit cell division. The process of cell
division, whether normal or cancerous cells, is through the cell cycle. The
cell cycle goes from the resting phase, through active growing phases, and then
to mitosis (division).
The ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells depends on its ability to halt
cell division. Usually, the drugs work by damaging the RNA or DNA that tells
the cell how to copy itself in division. If the cells are unable to divide,
they die. The faster the cells are dividing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy
will kill the cells, causing the tumor to shrink. They also induce cell suicide
(self-death or apoptosis).
Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells only when they are dividing are called cell-cycle
specific. Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells when they are at rest are called
cell-cycle non-specific. The scheduling of chemotherapy is set based on the
type of cells, rate at which they divide, and the time at which a given drug is
likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.
Chemotherapy is most effective at killing cells that are rapidly dividing.
Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between the cancerous cells
and the normal cells. The "normal" cells will grow back and be healthy but in the
meantime, side effects occur. The "normal" cells most commonly affected by
chemotherapy are the blood cells, the cells in the mouth, stomach and bowel, and
the hair follicles; resulting in low blood counts, mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea,
and/or hair loss. Different drugs may affect different parts of the body.
Floxuridine is classified as an antimetabolite. Antimetabolites are very similar
to normal substances within the cell. When the cells incorporate these substances
into the cellular metabolism, they are unable to divide. Antimetabolites are
cell-cycle specific. They attack cells at very specific phases in the cycle.
Antimetabolites are classified according to the substances with which they interfere.
- Folic acid antagonist: Methotrexate
- Pyrimidine antagonist: 5-Fluorouracil, Floxuridine, Cytarabine,
Capecitabine, and Gemcitabine
- Purine antagonist: 6-Mercaptopurine and 6-Thioguanine
- Adenosine deaminase inhibitor: Cladribine, Fludarabine and
Floxuridine is similar to the drug 5-fluorouracil, it was developed to enhance the
activity of 5-fluorouracil. It needs to be broken down by the body to its
active form, this form is the same as one of the metabolites (broken down substances)
of 5-flurouracil. The enzyme that is responsible for metabolizing this drug
is present primarily in the liver and the lining of the stomach and intestines.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health
care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information
contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
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