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In the U.S.—
Capecitabine (ka-pe-SITE-a-been) belongs to the group of medicines called antimetabolites. It is used to treat breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Capecitabine interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by the medicine, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern.
This medicine is available only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage form:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For capecitabine, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to capecitabine or to fluorouracil. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—It is best to avoid pregnancy during treatment with this medicine. Studies in animals have found that capecitabine causes birth defects and death of the fetus. Be sure that you have discussed this with your doctor before starting treatment with this medicine. Also, tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while taking this medicine.
Breast-feeding—It is not known whether capecitabine passes into human breast milk. However, because this medicine may cause serious side effects, breast-feeding generally is not recommended while you are taking it.
Children—There is no specific information comparing use of capecitabine in children with use in other age groups.
Older adults—Patients 80 years of age or older may be more sensitive to the effects of capecitabine. Severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting may be more likely to occur in these patients. Patients 60 years of age and older and/or who are also taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner), may be more likely to have blood clotting problems.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking capecitabine, it is especially important that your health care professional knows if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of capecitabine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Each dose of this medicine should be taken within 30 minutes after the end of a meal.
Swallow the tablets with water.
Dosing—The dose of capecitabine will be different for different patients. The dose that is used depends on a number of things, including the patient"s body size. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of capecitabine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. If you have any questions about the proper dose of capecitabine, ask your doctor.
Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, do not take the missed dose at all and do not double the next one. Instead, go back to your regular dosing schedule and check with your doctor.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Your health care professional may request that you have a test to determine if your blood is clotting properly and may preform this test frequently, if you are also taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner).
Check with your doctor immediately if you develop a fever of 100.5 °F or higher, or if you notice any other signs of a possible infection. These signs include cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, painful or difficult urination, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, and white spots inside the mouth or throat.
Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor immediately if any of the following occur:
If vomiting occurs less often than mentioned above, or if nausea does not cause you to eat less than usual, it is not necessary for you to stop taking the medicine or to check with your doctor (unless these effects are particularly bothersome). Also, you do not need to stop taking the medicine if diarrhea occurs less often than mentioned above or if the other side effects listed are not severe enough to interfere with eating or other daily activities. However, check with your doctor as soon as possible if they occur.
While you are being treated with capecitabine, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor"s approval . Capecitabine may lower your body"s resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not take oral polio vaccine since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have taken oral polio vaccine within the last several months. Do not get close to them, and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
Capecitabine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Diarrhea (moderately severe [four to six stools a day more than usual, or at night]); pain, blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of palms of hands and/or bottoms of feet (severe enough to interfere with normal activities); pain and redness, swelling, or sores or ulcers in your mouth or on your lips (severe enough to interfere with eating)
Nausea (severe, accompanied by loss of appetite); vomiting (severe [occurring two times or more in 24 hours])
Also check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
Abdominal or stomach cramping or pain (severe); agitation; back pain; bleeding and bruising; bleeding gums; blood in urine or stools; bloody nose; bloody or black, tarry stools; bloody nose; blurred vision; burning, dry or itching eyes; chest pain; chills; cold; collapse; coma; confusion; constipation (severe); convulsions; cough or hoarseness (accompanied by fever or chills); cough producing mucus; coughing or spitting up blood; decreased frequency/amount of urine; difficulty breathing; difficulty in swallowing or pain in back of throat or chest when swallowing; discharge from eye; drowsiness; dry mouth; excessive tearing; extra heartbeats; eye redness, irritation, or pain; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever or chills; flu-like symptoms; hallucinations; headache, sudden and severe; heavier menstrual periods; high fever; hot, red skin on feet or legs; inability to speak; increased blood pressure; increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding; increased thirst; irritability; itching in genital or other skin areas; large amount of triglycerides in the blood; lightheadedness; loss of consciousness; lower back or side pain (accompanied by fever or chills); mood or mental changes; muscle aches or cramps; muscle spasms; nosebleeds; numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or lips; painful or difficult urination (accompanied by fever or chills); painful, swollen feet or legs; pain, tenderness, and/or swelling in upper abdominal (stomach) area; pale skin; paralysis; pinpoint red spots on skin; prolonged bleeding from cuts; rapid, shallow breathing; red or dark brown urine; redness, pain, swelling or eye, eyelid or inner lining of eyelid; scaling; seizures; severe constipation; severe vomiting; shortness of breath, troubled breathing, tightness in chest, and/or wheezing; slow or irregular heartbeat; slurred speech; sneezing, sore throat, and/or stuffy nose; sores, ulcers or white spots on lips or in mouth; stiff neck; stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain; swelling of lymph nodes; temporary blindness; tiredness or weakness (severe); trouble in speaking; twitching seizures; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual lump or swelling in the chest; vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds; weakness in arm and/or leg on one side of the body, sudden and severe; weight gain; weight loss; wheezing; white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue; white patches with diaper rash; yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
Continuing vomiting; dark-colored urine; general feeling of tiredness or weakness
Also, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Abdominal or stomach pain (mild or moderate); blistering, peeling, redness, and/or swelling of palms of hands or bottoms of feet (not severe enough to interfere with daily activities); diarrhea (mild [fewer than four stools a day more than usual]); numbness, pain, tingling, or other unusual sensations in palms of hands or bottoms of feet; pain and redness, swelling, or sores or ulcers in your mouth or on your lips (not severe enough to interfere with eating); unusual tiredness or weakness (mild or moderate); yellow eyes or skin
Less common or rare
Clumsiness or unsteadiness; dark urine; decrease or increase in blood pressure; light-colored stools; problems with coordination; skin rash or itching; swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs; swollen glands; unexplained nosebleeds
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Constipation (mild or moderate); loss of appetite (not due to nausea); nausea (not accompanied by loss of appetite); vomiting (mild [once a day or less])
Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles” or tingling feelings; changes or discoloration in fingernails or toenails; difficulty in moving; discouragement; dizziness; fatigue; headache; heartburn; increase in heart rate; increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight; muscle pain; pain; pain in joints; pain in limbs; pain and redness of skin at place of earlier radiation (x-ray) treatment; red, sore eyes; sunken eyes; thirst; trouble in sleeping; weakness; wrinkled skin
Bone pain; change in color of treated skin; difficulty in walking; discouragement; dryness or soreness or throat; feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings; feeling sad or empty; full feeling in abdomen; full or bloated feeling or pressure in the stomach; general feeling of discomfort or illness; hoarseness; hot flushes; impaired balance; increased weight; joint pain; lack of appetite; loss of interest or pleasure; muscle weakness; noisy breathing; pain in rectum; pain, swelling, or redness in joints; passing less gas; rough, scratchy sound to voice; runny nose; sensation of spinning; shakiness in legs, arms, hands, feet; shivering; sleepiness; sores on the skin; sweating increased; swelling of abdominal or stomach area; tremor or shaking of hands or feet; trouble concentrating; voice changes
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
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