Capecitabine (By mouth)


Capecitabine (kap-e-SYE-ta-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). You should not receive this medicine if you have severe kidney disease, or a condition called dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency. You should not receive this medicine if you are pregnant or breast feeding

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 use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use 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 use your medicine, wait until it is time for your next dose and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

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®), or folic acid (vitamin B9). Tell your doctor if you are using a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®), or antacids such as Maalox®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • 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.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease.
  • Some of the side effects of this medicine are important if they reach a certain stage. If side effects become severe, you may need to stop using the medicine for a short time. 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 your hands or feet.
    • 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:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • 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

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2015 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498