capecitabine, Xeloda (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

PRESCRIBED FOR: Capecitabine is used for treating women with breast cancer that has spread to other tissues and is resistant to other more commonly-used drugs. It also is used following surgery for later stages of colon cancer and colorectal cancer that has spread to other tissues.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects with capecitabine are:

  • diarrhea,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • painful swelling of the mouth,
  • fatigue,
  • painful rash and
  • swelling of the hands or feet,
  • low white blood cell count (which can lead to infections),
  • low blood platelet counts (which can lead to bleeding), and
  • anemia.

Other important side effects experienced by some patients include:

  • heart attacks,
  • chest pain, and
  • abnormal heart beats.



PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 150 and 500 mg.

STORAGE: Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

DOSING: The recommended dose is 1250 mg/m2 twice daily, with the two doses approximately 12 hours apart. Tablets should be taken 30 minutes after eating. Capecitabine usually is prescribed in repeated cycles of 3-weeks, with the drug taken for two consecutive weeks followed by a week without drug. Some patients may need lower or delayed dosing if there are side effects.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Capecitabine increases the blood thinning effect of warfarin (Coumadin) and may increase the risk of bleeding. Capecitabine also may increase blood levels of phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125), and the dose of phenytoin may need to be reduced.

PREGNANCY: Capecitabine can damage the fetus. It should not be taken by pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether capecitabine is secreted into breast milk.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2015

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