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All about: Xeloda

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Generic Name: capecitabine (cah peh SIGH tah bean)
Brand Names: Xeloda

What is capecitabine?

Capecitabine is a cancer (chemotherapeutic) medication. Capecitabine interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Capecitabine is used in the treatment of some types of breast and colorectal cancers.

Capecitabine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about capecitabine?

Capecitabine should only be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin). In some cases, severe bleeding and death have resulted when these medications were taken together, or when treatment with warfarin (Coumadin) was started in the month following treatment with capecitabine. If treatment with both medications is determined by your doctor to be necessary, special monitoring will be required.

If the dose of capecitabine prescribed for you requires a combination of different strength tablets, it is very important that you correctly identify the tablets to ensure the correct dose. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions regarding a dose.

Stop taking capecitabine and notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects: more than 4 bowel movements per day or diarrhea at night; vomiting more than once in a 24-hour period; the amount of food you eat each day is much less than usual or if you are only able to eat at certain times; pain, redness, swelling, or sores in or around the mouth; tingling, numbness, pain, swelling, or redness of the hands and/or feet (hand-and-foot syndrome); or fever (temperature greater than 100.5 degrees) or other evidence of infection.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking capecitabine?

Do not take capecitabine without first talking to your doctor if you are allergic to fluorouracil (Adrucil).

Before taking capecitabine, tell your doctor if you

  • have liver disease or a history of liver problems;
  • have kidney disease;
  • have heart or coronary artery disease; or

  • are taking any other medicines especially warfarin (Coumadin), phenytoin (Dilantin), folic acid (found in some vitamins), or leucovorin (Wellcovorin).

You may not be able to take capecitabine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during therapy if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Do not take this medication if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Capecitabine is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Contraceptive measures are recommended for both men and women during treatment with capecitabine. It is not known whether capecitabine will harm a nursing infant. Do not take capecitabine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding. The safety and effectiveness of capecitabine in patients younger than 18 years of age have not been established. If you are over the age of 80, you may be more likely to experience side effects from capecitabine.

How should I take capecitabine?

Capecitabine should only be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Take capecitabine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Each dose of capecitabine should be swallowed with water. Take capecitabine within 30 minutes after the end of a meal (usually breakfast and dinner).

If the dose of capecitabine prescribed for you requires a combination of different strength tablets, it is very important that you correctly identify the tablets to ensure the correct dose. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions regarding a dose.

Capecitabine is usually taken for 14 days followed by a 7 day rest period (no drug given), in a 21 day cycle. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Take all of the capecitabine that has been prescribed for you. Store capecitabine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of capecitabine, do not take the missed dose at all and do not double the next one. Instead, continue your regular dosing schedule and check with your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a capecitabine overdose include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset, and bleeding.

What should I avoid while taking capecitabine?

There are no restrictions on foods, beverages, or activities while taking capecitabine, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Capecitabine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking capecitabine and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; difficulty breathing; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives);

  • diarrhea (more than 4 bowel movements each day or any diarrhea at night);

  • vomiting (more than once in 24 hours);

  • nausea or a loss of appetite (if the amount of food you eat each day is much less than usual or if you are only able to eat at certain times);

  • fever (temperature greater than 100.5 degrees) or other signs of infection;

  • tingling, numbness, pain, swelling, or redness of the hands and/or feet (hand-and-foot syndrome); or

  • pain, redness, swelling, or sores in or around the mouth.

Other less serious side effects may occur more frequently. Continue to take capecitabine and talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • dehydration;

  • a rash or dry or itchy skin;

  • tiredness;

  • dizziness;

  • headache;

  • constipation;

  • sleeplessness; or

  • eye irritation.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect capecitabine?

Talk to your doctor if you are taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin). In some cases, severe bleeding and death have resulted when these medications were taken together, or when treatment with warfarin (Coumadin) was started in the month following treatment with capecitabine. If treatment with both medications is determined by your doctor to be necessary, special monitoring will be required. Do not take any of the following medicines during treatment with capecitabine without first talking to your doctor:
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);

  • leucovorin (Wellcovorin); or

  • folic acid.

You may not be able to take capecitabine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with capecitabine. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about capecitabine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Capecitabine is available with a prescription under the brand name Xeloda. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Xeloda 150 mg--oblong light peach-colored tablets

  • Xeloda 500 mg-oblong peach-colored tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.05. Revision Date: 7/29/04 12:23:55 PM.

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