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Where is Capecitabine used?

Capecitabine is a prescription used to treat breast cancer and colon cancer that has already spread to other parts of the body. This medication slows and stops the development of cancer cells. This is also used together with other medications to treat metastatic breast cancer.

This is a cytotoxic medicine that kills cells that are multiplying like cancer cells. It belongs to the group of medications that is called anti-metabolites. This medication is supplied as film-coated for oral administration. This has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How does Capecitabine work?

Capecitabine is a prodrug that is converted to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the body. But it is more converted in tumor cells than in normal tissues. It is taken as tablets, while 5-FU normally needs to be injected. 5-FU is an analog of pyrimidine. Pyrimidine is part of the genetic material of cells (DNA and RNA). In the body, 5-FU takes the place of pyrimidine and inhibits the enzymes tangled in creating new DNA. Consequently, it inhibits the growth of tumor cells and eventually kills them.

How is Capecitabine taken?

You will usually take this medicine twice a day, in the morning and evening for 14 days. You will also have a seven-day break from taking the medicines. This 21-day period is one treatment cycle. If you are prescribed Capecitabine differently from the 21-day cycle your doctor will explain it. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a glass of water within half an hour of eating a meal. Take the medication exactly as it is given by your doctor.

This medication should be used regularly for the best benefit. Do not take more than the prescribed dosage. Doing so, your condition will not recover faster or your risk of side effects will increase.

What are the possible side effects of Capecitabine?

  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain or upset
  • Weakness
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Back, joint, or muscle pain

If these side effects persist or get worse, call your doctor right away.

What are the precautions in taking Capecitabine?

  • This medication can be absorbed through the lungs and skin which may harm an unborn baby. Women who are pregnant must not take or handle this medication. If you are a breastfeeding woman, consult your doctor first before taking a dose of this drug.
  • Let your doctor know if you have any medical history or current treatments, surgeries, medications including vitamins, herbal products, or food supplements.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to it or other containing ingredients of this drug. This may have an ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. If you have any signs of an allergic reaction, call for emergency medical help right away.
  • You should not share this with others with the same symptoms as yours.
  • This drug may make you drowsy or dizzy. For this reason, you should not drive or operate any machinery.  Do activities until you know how the medicine affects you.