- What is capecitabine (Xeloda), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for capecitabine (Xeloda)?
- What are the side effects of capecitabine (Xeloda)?
- What is the dosage for capecitabine (Xeloda)?
- What drugs interact with capecitabine (Xeloda)?
- Is capecitabine (Xeloda) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about capecitabine (Xeloda)?
What is capecitabine (Xeloda), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Capecitabine is an oral medication for treating advanced breast cancer that is resistant to combination therapy with the drugs of choice, paclitaxel (Taxol) and a drug from the anthracycline family of drugs, for example, doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Capecitabine is converted by the body to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a drug which has been given intravenously for many years to treat various types of cancer. It is not surprising, therefore, that capecitabine also is effective in the treatment of colorectal cancer, a type of cancer that is treated frequently with 5-FU. 5-FU inhibits the production by the cancerous cells of both DNA and protein that are necessary for the cells to divide and the cancer to grow in size. Capecitabine was approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of breast cancer and in 2005 for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
What brand names are available for capecitabine?
Is capecitabine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: No
Do I need a prescription for capecitabine?
What are the uses for capecitabine (Xeloda)?
Capecitabine (Xeloda) is a prescription medicine used to treat people with:
- cancer of the colon that has spread to lymph nodes in the area close to the colon (Dukes’ C stage) after surgery.
- cancer of the colon or rectum (colorectal) that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).
- breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) together with another medicine called docetaxel after treatment with certain other anti-cancer medicines have not worked.
- breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not improved after treatment with paclitaxel and certain other anti-cancer medicines, or who cannot receive any more treatment with certain anti-cancer medicines.
What are the side effects of capecitabine (Xeloda)?
The most common side effects with capecitabine are:
- painful swelling of the mouth,
- 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
Other important side effects experienced by some patients include:
What is the dosage for capecitabine (Xeloda)?
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.
What drugs interact with capecitabine (Xeloda)?
Capecitabine can interact with blood thinner medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin). Taking capecitabine with these medicines can cause changes in how fast your blood clots, and can cause life-threatening bleeding. This can occur as soon as a few days after you start taking capecitabine, or later during treatment, and possibly even within 1 month after you stop taking capecitabine. Your risk may be higher because you have cancer, and if you are over 60 years of age.
Before taking capecitabine, tell your doctor if you are taking warfarin or another blood thinner medicine.
If you take warfarin or a similar blood thinner during treatment with capecitabine, your doctor should do blood tests often, to check how fast your blood clots during and after you stop treatment with capecitabine. Your doctor may change your dose of the blood thinner medicine if needed.
Is capecitabine (Xeloda) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Capecitabine can damage the fetus. It should not be taken by pregnant women.
It is not known whether capecitabine is secreted into breast milk.
What else should I know about capecitabine (Xeloda)?
What preparations of capecitabine are available?
Tablets: 150 and 500 mg.
How should I keep capecitabine stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
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Capecitabine (Xeloda) is a drug prescribed for to treat women with breast cancer that has metastasized to other tissues, and is more resistant to other commonly used drugs. Review side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking this medication.
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Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Colon cancer (bowel cancer) is a malignancy that arises from the inner lining of the colon. Most, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
Anal cancer, cancer located at the end of the large intestine, has symptoms that include anal or rectal bleeding, anal pain or pressure, anal discharge or itching, a change in bowel movements, and/or a lump in the anal region. Treatment for anal cancer may involve radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery and depends upon the stage of the cancer, its location, whether cancer is eradicated after the first treatment, and whether the patient has HIV.
Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma
Gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma is cancer that forms in the area where the esophagus joins the stomach. Having GERD and Barrett's esophagus increases one's odds of developing gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Symptoms and signs of GE junction adenocarcinoma include dysphagia, weight loss, black stool, cough, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Paget Disease of the Breast (Paget's Disease of the Nipple)
Paget's disease is a rare form of cancer that forms in or around the nipple and frequently coexists with breast cancer. The exact cause of Paget's disease is unknown. Symptoms and signs include redness, scaling, and flaking of the nipple skin. A biopsy and imaging studies are needed to diagnose the disease. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and adjuvant therapy.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.