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Capecitabine

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antimetabolite Xeloda Cancer-related

Capecitabine - What is it for

Capecitabine is used to treat certain cancers such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and gastric cancer.

Capecitabine - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Capecitabine cause?

Common side effects include:

  • Mild nausea or vomiting may occur at the beginning
    • Take small, frequent meals throughout the day.
    • Take the medications for nausea or vomiting as instructed by your doctor if any.
  • Diarrhea
    • Drink plenty of clear fluids to replace those lost (2 litres everyday).
    • Avoid oily or spicy food and milk or dairy products.
  • Mouth sores
    • Rinse your mouth after meals using an alcohol-free mouthwash or salt water.
    • Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush.
  • Palms of the hands or soles of the feet may become numb, sore, red or dry
    • Moisturize these areas daily.
    • Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes.
  • Skin discolouration e.g. darkening at certain areas
    • This is temporary. Your skin will return to normal when you stop Capecitabine.
  • Nail changes e.g. discolouration, more brittle
    • Keep your nails short and trim to avoid easy breaking.
  • Feeling tired and lack of energy
    • Do not drive or operate machinery when you feel tired.
  • Decreased white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets
    • This may put you at higher risk of infections, bleeding or bruising and feeling tired.
    • To reduce your risk of infection:
      • Avoid crowds and people who are sick. Wear a face mask when you are going out.
      • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before handling food.
      • Eat food that is fresh and completely cooked, and avoid raw or half-cooked food.
    • To reduce your risk of bleeding problems:
      • Be careful when using sharp objects such as knives.
      • Try not to bruise, cut or knock yourself.
      • Brush your teeth gently as your gums may bleed more easily.
      • Apply direct pressure to any cuts or wounds to help stop bleeding.

Rare but serious side effects include:

  • Signs of infection - fever of 38°C and above, chills, cough, body aches
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, black sticky stools or blood in urine
  • Very bad diarrhoea (e.g. more than 4 times a day) that does not improve even after taking medications used to stop diarrhoea
  • Painful blisters and peeling of hands or feet, or very bad skin rash
  • Dark urine or light coloured stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Very bad swelling of hands, feet or lower legs

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Capecitabine, what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or to fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • You or your partner becomes pregnant or is planning for pregnancy
    • You should use effective birth control during treatment.
  • You are breastfeeding
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment.
  • You have any other medical conditions such as heart problems

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Capecitabine?

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking or intend to take any other medication such as warfarin, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies.

Capecitabine - Dosage and How to Use

How should Capecitabine be used?

  • Take Capecitabine two times a day (about 12 hours apart), within 30 minutes of a meal. Take the exact dose that your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not break, chew or crush the tablet. Swallow the tablet whole.
    • Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have difficulty swallowing.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember if it is within 6 hours of your usual time. However if more than 6 hours have passed, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses at the same time.

What should I do if I overdose?

Capecitabine - Handling

How should I handle Capecitabine safely?

Capecitabine - Storage

How should I store Capecitabine?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Capecitabine safely?

​Pack Capecitabine into a bag and bring it back to the pharmacy where you received it from.

Capecitabine - Additional Information

​You may refer to the following website if you need more information: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

  • Updated on Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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