page_title_detailed
general_content

Capecitabine (Xeloda) is an antimetabolite chemotherapy medicine used to treat metastatic breast cancer that grows despite treatment with certain other anticancer medicines.

How capecitabine works

Capecitabine is an inactive form of 5-fluorouracil, a chemotherapy medicine. 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.

Who gets capecitabine

Capecitabine alone or with docetaxel (Taxotere) or paclitaxel (Taxol) are three of the many chemotherapy regimens that can be used to treat metastatic breast cancer. Capecitabine can also be used with lapatinib (Tykerb) for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancers.

How capecitabine is given

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

Side effects and things to remember

Common side effects include:

Less common side effects include:

Before starting capecitabine, 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 dose of capecitabine that makes you more comfortable while keeping the treatment just as effective.

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

 

about_this_page_tabbed_module

Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Laura Spring MD

Tagged:

Was this page helpful?

Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to create a world that understands there is more than one way to have breast cancer. To fulfill its mission of providing trusted information and a community of support to those impacted by the disease, Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers on-demand emotional, practical, and evidence-based content. For over 30 years, the organization has remained committed to creating a culture of acceptance — where sharing the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer fosters self-advocacy and hope. For more information, learn more about our programs and services.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[item.name]
[item.name]
[item]
[item]