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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Capecitabine (Oral)

Capecitabine (By Mouth)

Capecitabine (ka-pe-SITE-a-been)

Treats breast cancer and colon cancer.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have severe kidney disease.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or within 30 minutes after you have eaten. Swallow the tablet with water.
  • This medicine is usually given every day for 14 days, followed by no medicine for 7 days. Your doctor may want you to repeat this cycle. At each dose you may need to take two capecitabine tablets that are different colors and have different numbers imprinted on them. Make sure you do not take the wrong tablet at the wrong time of day, or you may get too little or too much of the medicine.
  • Never share your medicine with anyone.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, do not take the missed dose. Skip the missed dose and take your regular dose at the scheduled time.
  • Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using phenytoin (Dilantin®), leucovorin (Wellcovorin®), folic acid (vitamin B9), a blood thinner (Coumadin®), or antacids (such as Maalox®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney, liver, or heart disease.
  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Many of the side effects of this medicine are important if they reach a certain stage. If they are mild, your doctor will probably want you to continue using this medicine. However, if the side effects become more severe, you will need to stop using it, at least for awhile. Stop taking capecitabine and call your doctor if you have:
    • Diarrhea: 4 or more bowel movements each day, diarrhea at night, or blood in bowel movements
    • Nausea: able to eat very little or not at all
    • Vomiting: more than 1 time in 24 hours
    • Pain, redness, blistering, swelling, or numbness in the hands or feet that interferes with daily life
    • Mouth or tongue sores or pain, redness, or swelling, even if you can eat
    • Fever of 100.5° or higher or other signs of infection such as chills or sore throat
  • These problems should get better within 2 to 3 days after you stop taking the medicine. Call your doctor if you do not get better.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness or weakness, pale skin
  • Yellow eyes or skin

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite
  • Mild numbness, tingling, swelling, pain, redness, scaling, or blistering on the hands or feet
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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