Capecitabine

Updated 
August 31, 2015
Reviewed By: 

Capecitabineinfo-icon (Xelodainfo-icon) is an antimetaboliteinfo-icon chemotherapyinfo-icon medicineinfo-icon used to treat metastaticinfo-icon breast cancer that grows despite treatment with certain other anticancer medicines.

How Capecitabine Works

Capecitabineinfo-icon is an inactive form of 5-fluorouracilinfo-icon, a chemotherapyinfo-icon medicineinfo-icon. When you take capecitabine, it stays inactive until it reaches your liver. Your liver and the enzymes in the cancer cells then convert the capecitabine to its active form. The active 5-fluorouracil then kills the cancer cells when they try to divide.

How Capecitabine Is Given

Capecitabineinfo-icon is given as a pill two times per day for 7 to 14 days followed by one week off, but your doseinfo-icon and schedule may be different.

Side Effects and Things to Remember

Common side effects include:

Less common side effects include:

Before starting capecitabineinfo-icon, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the counter-medicines. You should not become pregnant while you are taking capecitabine.

If you have pain or diarrhea that bothers you, talk to your doctor right away. You may be able to take a lower doseinfo-icon of capecitabine that makes you more comfortable while keeping the treatment just as effective.

Your doctor, pharmacistinfo-icon or nurseinfo-icon can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.

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