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Information about Xeloda

Brand Name(s): Xeloda

Generic Name Capecitabine

What are capecitabine tablets?

CAPECITABINE (Xeloda®) is a type of chemotherapy for treating cancer. Capecitabine interferes with the growth of cancer cells and decreases the size of the tumor. It is used for treating breast cancer, and colon or rectal cancer. Generic capecitabine tablets are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take capecitabine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bleeding or blood disorders
  • decreased kidney function
  • heart disease such as angina or coronary artery disease
  • infection (especially virus infection such as chickenpox or herpes)
  • irregular heart beat
  • liver disease
  • recent radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to capecitabine, 5-fluorouracil, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take capecitabine tablets by mouth within 30 minutes after the end of a meal (usually breakfast and dinner). Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your doctor or health care professional, even if the tablets make you feel unwell. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Your prescriber or health care professional may want you to take a combination of 150 mg and 500 mg tablets for each dose. If a combination of tablets is prescribed, it is very important that you correctly identify the tablets. Taking the wrong tablets could result in an overdose (too much medication) or underdose (too little medication).

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, skip that dose and do not take double or extra doses. Instead, continue your regular dosing schedule and check with your prescriber or health care professional. If you vomit after taking a dose, call your prescriber or health care professional for advice.

What drug(s) may interact with capecitabine?

  • aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide (Maalox®)
  • digoxin
  • folic acid
  • leucovorin
  • phenytoin
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking capecitabine?

The side effects you may experience with capecitabine therapy depend upon the dose, other types of chemotherapy or radiation therapy given, and the disease being treated. Not all of these effects occur in all patients. Discuss any concerns or questions with your prescriber or health care professional.

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • low blood counts - capecitabine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
  • signs of infection - fever (100.5 °F or greater) or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
  • signs of decreased red blood cells - unusual weakness or tiredness, fainting spells, lightheadedness
  • dehydration (excessive water loss from the body)
  • hand-and-foot syndrome: pain, swelling, redness, or tingling of the hands and/or feet
  • pain, redness, swelling, or sores in your mouth or throat
  • severe diarrhea (more than 4 bowel movements a day or any diarrhea at night)
  • severe nausea/vomiting (if you lose your appetite and eat much less than usual or vomit more than once in a 24 hour period)
  • yellow color of skin or eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • bone pain
  • constipation
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dry or itchy skin
  • eye irritation
  • headache
  • heart burn or indigestion
  • loss of appetite or decreased appetite
  • mild nausea or stomach upset
  • mild diarrhea
  • muslce aches
  • tiredness
  • weakness

What should I watch for while taking capecitabine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. The side effects of capecitabine can continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects right away.

Capecitabine may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon because capecitabine affects good cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects as above, but continue your course of medicine even though you feel ill, unless your prescriber or health care professional tells you to stop.

Capcitabine will decrease your body's ability to fight infections. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you have a fever, chills, sore throat or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat these symptoms yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Capecitabine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding. Be careful not to cut, bruise or injure yourself because you may get an infection and bleed more than usual.

Capecitabine may harm your unborn baby. You should contact your prescriber immediately if you believe or suspect you or your partner have become pregnant while you are taking capecitabine.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking capecitabine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Protect from moisture. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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