What is this medication?
FLUOROURACIL (flure oh YOOR a sil) 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): Adrucil
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Blood disorders
- Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency
- Infection, such as chickenpox, cold sores, herpes
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Poor nutrition
- Recent or ongoing radiation therapy
- An unusual or allergic reaction to 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?
This medication is injected into a vein. It is administered by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
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?
Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- Live virus vaccines
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Medications that treat or prevent blood clots, such as warfarin, enoxaparin, dalteparin
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.
In some cases, you may be given additional medications to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
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 or 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.
Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your care team if you have diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days or if it is severe and watery.
This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths.
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 3 months after the last dose. A reliable form of contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 3 months after the 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.
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
- High ammonia level—unusual weakness or fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, seizures
- 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
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet, muscle weakness, change in vision, confusion or trouble speaking, loss of balance or coordination, trouble walking, seizures
- 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):
- Dry skin
- Increased tears
- Pain, redness, or swelling with sores inside the mouth or throat
- Sensitivity to light
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?
This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.
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 Fluorouracil
- Use of ice chips in the mouth 10-15 minutes before and after IV injections of Fluorouracil may reduce the incidence and severity of mouth sores.
- 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.
- 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/or not feeling well, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remain as active as you are able. Gentle exercise is encouraged, such as a daily walk.
- 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.
- Prevention of hand-foot syndrome. You may need to modify 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.
- You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the drug is known.
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) despite anti-diarrhea medication and diet alterations.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Blood in the urine
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- 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.