Capecitabine is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat cancer of the breast, colon, stomach or rectum.
This medicine helps in treating tumour by preventing the growth of cancer cells.
Take Capecitabine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take this medicine within 30 minutes after a meal. Swallow it whole with a glass of water. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet. Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your condition.
If you missed a dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe kidney disease
- severe liver disease
as Capecitabine may not be suitable for you.
Some genetic traits may affect an individual’s response to Capecitabine. Individuals who have deficiency in the activity of the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) may experience severe, or sometimes fatal side effects e.g. diarrhoea, inflammation or ulceration of the gut or mouth, low blood cell levels. Your doctor may need to perform genetic testing to know if this medicine is suitable for you.
Do not take Capecitabine if you know that you do not have any activity of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while on Capecitabine therapy, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child.
Men should not father a child while being treated with this medicine. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods during Capecitabine therapy and for 6 months (in women) or 3 months (in men) after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss other reliable methods of birth control with your doctor.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for 2 weeks after the final dose.
Do not take Capecitabine with brivudine (medicine to treat viral infection) and blood-thinning medicines. Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- mild to moderate liver disease
- mild to moderate kidney disease
- heart disease
- imbalance of essential minerals in the body
- partial deficiency in the activity of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before and after treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to take.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver, kidney and heart function and electrolyte levels) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- If co-administration of blood-thinning medicines cannot be avoided, a blood test to determine INR (International Normalised Ratio) should be done more often. The INR measures how much time your blood takes to clot.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Capecitabine may cause dizziness and tiredness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: weakness, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, eye irritation, hand-foot syndrome (redness, swelling and pain of the palms of hand and/or soles of the feet), numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and feet and swelling of the ankles, feet or hand.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes
- persistent diarrhoea and dehydration
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- chest pain
This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take this medicine with the following medicines:
- medicine to treat viral infection e.g. brivudine
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin, phenprocoumon
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenytoin
- medicines for gout e.g. allopurinol
- medicine for cancer e.g. interferon-α
- medicines for folic acid deficiency e.g. folinic acid
Capecitabine should not be taken with antacids as antacids could reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. If you must take antacids, take it at least 2 hours after you have taken Capecitabine.
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Capecitabine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As Capecitabine is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired tablets to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.