Fluorouracil

Updated 
August 31, 2015

Fluorouracilinfo-icon is an antimetaboliteinfo-icon chemotherapyinfo-icon medicineinfo-icon used to treat breast cancer. It is one of the most commonly used medicines to treat cancer. Fluorouracil is also known as 5-fluorouracil and 5-FU.

How Fluorouracil Works

Fluorouracilinfo-icon interferes with the normal growth process of cancer cells. It stops them from making and fixing DNA, the directions that cells use to grow. Fluorouracil causes the cells to die when they try to divide. It works at specific times in the growth of the cellinfo-icon.

How Fluorouracil Is Given

Fluorouracilinfo-icon is given with other chemotherapyinfo-icon medicines in breast cancer. Some common combinations in breast cancer include:

Fluorouracil is given by veininfo-icon. It is usually given in several cycles, with a day (or days) of treatment followed by a period of “off” days. The exact schedule depends on the medicines used. Most chemotherapy regimens consist of between four and six cycles of treatment given over 3 to 6 months.

Side Effects and Things to Remember

Side effects may include:

Before starting fluorouracilinfo-icon, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counterinfo-icon medicines. You should not take fluorouracil during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Your doctor will test your blood before and during treatment to check your white and red blood cellinfo-icon levels. Your liver and kidneys will also be checked.

Be sure to call your doctor right away if:

  • you have chest pain, as this may be a sign of heart problems
  • you have pain at the injectioninfo-icon site, as this can be a sign of an allergic reaction
  • you have a high fever, as this can be a sign of a serious infectioninfo-icon

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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Article August 31, 2015
Article August 31, 2015
Article August 31, 2015