Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking capecitabine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 times a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) within 30 minutes after a meal. Do not crush or split the tablets. If you have trouble swallowing the tablets whole, ask your health care professional for advice. Your doctor may direct you to take this medication in a treatment cycle. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, tiredness, weakness, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, or changes in taste may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of this medication. Drink plenty of fluids unless directed otherwise. Your doctor may also prescribe medication (such as loperamide) to help lessen diarrhea. Vomiting or diarrhea that doesn't stop may result in a serious loss of body water (dehydration). Contact your doctor promptly if you notice any symptoms of dehydration, such as unusual decreased urination, unusual dry mouth/thirst, or dizziness/lightheadedness.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. Also, temporary nail changes may occur.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Stop taking capecitabine and tell your doctor right away if any of these very serious side effects occur: severe nausea/vomiting (vomiting 2 or more times per day, unable to eat or keep food/fluids in your stomach), painful redness/swelling/sores in mouth or on your tongue.
Before taking capecitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to 5-fluorouracil; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: lack of a certain enzyme (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase - DPD), blood disorders (such as bone marrow suppression), heart problems (such as heart failure), kidney disease, liver problems.
Capecitabine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Get medical help right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
See also Warning section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (such as prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
A product that may interact with this drug is: allopurinol.
Capecitabine is very similar to fluorouracil. Do not use medications containing fluorouracil while using capecitabine.