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.
Common side effects include:
- Decrease in appetite
- Hand and foot syndrome
- Low red and white blood cell counts
- Menopausal symptoms
- Mouth sores
- Nausea and vomiting
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.