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Capecitabine (Xeloda)


Capecitabine (Xeloda) is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Capecitabine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It converts to 5-FU once it reaches the tumour site. 

It is usually taken twice a day (in the morning and in the evening) for 2 weeks, followed by a 1 week break before repeating the next dosage cycle. It is usually taken after a meal (within 30 minutes of breakfast and dinner) and with a glass of water. Your doctor will decide how many times you should repeat this cycle.

The NIH advises:

  • Take capecitabine at around the same time every day. 
  • Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. 
  • Take capecitabine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. 
  • Your doctor may adjust your dose of capecitabine or stop your treatment for a period of time depending on your response to treatment and any side effects that you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment.
  • Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
  • If you forget a dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Capecitabine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • diarrhea  
    • Increase of 4 - 6 stools a day beyond what is normal
    • Diarrhea at night
  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • sores in the mouth

  • swelling, pain, redness, or peeling of skin on the palms and soles of the feet

  • fever, chills, sore throat, or other signs of an infection

  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

  • chest pain or pressure

  • fast heartbeat

  • dark urine

  • yellowing of skin or eyes

    If you have a temperature of 100.5 degrees fahrenheit or greater, or other signs of infection

    Stomatitis (pain, redness, swelling or sores in your mouth) - Moderate pain and redness of the mouth, swelling of the mouth or mouth sores

Capecitabine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT CAPTECITABINE, including what the pill should look like, click here offsite link.

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