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All about: Fluorouracil

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Generic Name: Fluorouracil Injection (flure-oh-YOOR-uh-sihl)
Brand Name: Adrucil

Fluorouracil should only be given by a health care provider in a medical setting. You will need to be in a health care facility the first time you take it due to the possibility of a severe reaction.

Fluorouracil is used for:

Treating symptoms of colon, rectum, breast, stomach, and pancreas cancer.

Fluorouracil is an antimetabolite. It works by interfering with the production of proteins necessary for cell growth and reproduction.

Do NOT use Fluorouracil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Fluorouracil
  • you have a serious infection or are malnourished
  • you are taking sorivudine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Fluorouracil :

Some medical conditions may interact with Fluorouracil . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have impaired liver or kidney function

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Fluorouracil . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Amphotericin B, cimetidine, folic acid, interferon alfa, leucovorin, metronidazole, sorivudine, tamoxifen, thiazide-type diuretics (eg, hydrochlorothiazide), or vinca alkaloids (eg, vincristine) because the actions and side effects of Fluorouracil may be increased
  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because their actions and side effects may be increased by Fluorouracil
  • Carbamazepine or quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by Fluorouracil

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Fluorouracil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Fluorouracil :

Use Fluorouracil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Fluorouracil is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Fluorouracil at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If Fluorouracil contains particles, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it. Fluorouracil may discolor slightly during storage but this does not affect its potency or safety.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you are also receiving methotrexate, these 2 medicines should be given separately. Ask your doctor for more information.
  • If you miss a dose of Fluorouracil , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Fluorouracil .

Important safety information:

  • Fluorouracil may lower your body's ability to fight infection. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have thoroughly washed your hands first. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, rashes, or chills.
  • If nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite occur, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • Check with your doctor before have immunizations (vaccinations) while you are using Fluorouracil .
  • Fluorouracil may reduce the number of blood cells, which are needed for clotting. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark tarry stools to your doctor.
  • Fluorouracil may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Fluorouracil . Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
  • LAB TESTS, including complete blood cell count, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Fluorouracil has been shown to cause harm to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Fluorouracil during pregnancy. It is unknown if Fluorouracil is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Fluorouracil .

Possible side effects of Fluorouracil :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Changes in eyesight; dry skin; fatigue or weakness; hair loss; headache; itchy rash; loss of appetite; nail changes; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bleeding; blood in the urine; bloody stools; chest pain; chills; fever; frequent diarrhea; inflammation of the mouth or throat; joint pain; lower back or abdominal pain; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; painful urination; severe vomiting; sore throat; sores on the mouth or lips; unusual bruising or bleeding; vomiting; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; intestinal bleeding; nausea; vomiting.

Proper storage of Fluorouracil :

Store Fluorouracil between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Fluorouracil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Fluorouracil , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Fluorouracil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Fluorouracil . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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