Xeloda : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More


Xeloda (Capecitabine) can cause serious or life-threatening bleeding when taken together with anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin®). Tell your doctor if you are taking warfarin. Your doctor will order lab tests to check how fast your blood clots, and your warfarin dose may need to be changed. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: unusual bleeding; vomiting or spitting up blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds; bloody or black, tarry stools; blood in the urine; red or dark brown urine; or bruising easily.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Xeloda (Capecitabine) is used in combination with other medications to treat breast cancer that has returned after treatment with other medications. It is also used only to treat breast cancer that has not improved after treatment with other medications. Xeloda is also used to treat colon or rectal cancer (cancer that begins in the large intestine) that has gotten worse or has spread to other parts of the body. It is also used to prevent the spread of colon cancer in people who have had surgery to remove the tumor. Xeloda is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Xeloda comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day (morning and evening) for 2 weeks, followed by a 1-week break before repeating the next dosing cycle. It is usually taken after a meal (within 30 minutes of breakfast and dinner) and with a glass of water. Your doctor will decide how many times to repeat this cycle. Take Xeloda at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take Xeloda exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may adjust your dose of Xeloda or stop your treatment for a period of time depending on your response to treatment and any side effects you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you feel during your treatment.

Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

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Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

Xeloda is also sometimes used to treat advanced stomach cancer (stomach cancer). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this drug for your condition.

This medicine may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking Xeloda,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Xeloda, fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in Xeloda tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: phenytoin (Dilantin), leucovorin, and folic acid (in multivitamins). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects. Other medications can also interact with Xeloda, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • Tell your doctor if you have been told that you have or have ever had a dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency (the lack of a natural enzyme in your body). Your doctor may tell you not to take Xeloda.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney, liver, or heart disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not plan to have children while you are taking Xeloda. You must use a reliable method of contraception to prevent pregnancy for yourself or your partner during your treatment with Xeloda. Xeloda can harm the fetus. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed during your treatment with Xeloda.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Xeloda may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • stomach pain or upset stomach
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • change in ability to taste food
  • increased thirst
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • hair loss
  • skin rash
  • back, join, or muscle pain
  • red, swollen, itchy, or teary eyes
  • trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
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Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sores in the mouth
  • swelling, pain, redness, or peeling of skin on the palms and soles of the feet
  • fever, chills, sore throat, or other signs of an infection
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • chest pain or pressure
  • fast heartbeat
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of skin or eyes

Xeloda may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

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In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • fever, chills, sore throat, or other signs of an infection
  • black, tarry stools
  • red urine
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests to check your body’s response to Xeloda.

Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Xeloda®

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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