What is this medication?
CAPECITABINE (ka pe SITE a been) treats some types of cancer. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Xeloda
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Have been told that you lack the enzyme DPD (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase)
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Low blood cell levels (white cells or platelets)
- Take medications that treat or prevent blood clots
- An unusual or allergic reaction to capecitabine, fluorouracil, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- If you or your partner are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with water. Take it as directed on the prescription label. Do not cut, crush, or chew this medication. Swallow the tablets whole. Take it with food within 30 minutes after finishing a meal. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
This medication is taken in "cycles". There will be days you do not take it. Talk to your care team if you have questions about when to take your medication. It is very important to follow the exact schedule. Taking it more often than directed can cause serious side effects.
Handling this medication may be harmful. Wear gloves while touching the medication or bottle. Talk to your care team about how to handle this medication. Special instructions may apply.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
People 65 years and older may have a stronger reaction.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, skip it. Take your next dose at the normal time. Do not take extra or 2 doses at the same time to make up for the missed dose.
What may interact with this medication?
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication.
This medication may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your care team tells you to stop.
You may need blood work while taking this medication.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medication may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your care team if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medication.
Avoid taking medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your care team. These medications may hide a fever.
Check with your care team if you have severe diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, or if you sweat a lot. The loss of too much body fluid may make it dangerous for you to take this medication.
This medication may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medication. Contact your care team right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. You may also notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips, or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
Talk to your care team if you or your partner wish to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant. This medication can cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy and for 6 months after the last dose. A negative pregnancy test is required before starting this medication. A reliable form of contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 6 months after the that last dose. Talk to your care team about effective forms of contraception. Do not father a child while taking this medication and for 3 months after the last dose. Use a condom while having sex during this time period.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for 2 weeks after the last dose.
This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Heart attack—pain or tightness in the chest, shoulders, arms, or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, cold or clammy skin, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Heart failure—shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, sudden weight gain, unusual weakness or fatigue
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
- Low red blood cell level—unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing
- Kidney injury—decrease in the amount of urine, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
- Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- Redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin over hands and feet
- Severe or prolonged diarrhea
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Stomach pain
- Unusual weakness or fatigue
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Keep the container tightly closed. Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, ask your pharmacist or care team how to get rid of this medication safely.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Capecitabine
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, 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.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Prevention of hand-foot syndrome. Modification of normal activities of daily living to reduce friction and heat exposure to hands and feet, as much as possible during treatment with capecitabine. (for more information see - Managing side effects: hand foot syndrome).
- Keeps palms of hands and soles of feet moist using emollients such as Aveeno®, Udder cream, Lubriderm® or Bag Balm®.
- Follow regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professional.
- Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see managing side effects - diarrhea).
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the drug is known.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- 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.
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 following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Tingling or burning, redness, swelling of the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
- Confusion, loss of balance, excessive sleepiness
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.