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Capecitabine (Oral route)



Brand Names:

  • Xeloda

Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet


Oral route(Tablet)

Patients receiving concomitant capecitabine and oral coumarin-derivative anticoagulant therapy should have their anticoagulant response (INR or prothrombin time) monitored frequently in order to adjust the anticoagulant dose accordingly. Altered coagulation parameters and/or bleeding, including death, have been reported in patients taking capecitabine concomitantly with coumarin-derivative anticoagulants. These events occurred in patients with and without liver metastases. Age greater than 60 and a diagnosis of cancer independently predispose patients to an increased risk of coagulopathy .



Antineoplastic Agent



Uses of This Medicine:

Capecitabine is used to treat breast cancer and colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum). Capecitabine belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics (cancer medicines).

Capecitabine interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by the medicine, other side effects may also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, capecitabine is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • Advanced or metastatic stomach cancer (cancer that has spread to other areas of the body), first-line therapy.
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum that has spread to other areas of the body), first-line therapy, in combination with bevacizumab and oxaliplatin.
  • Gastric cancer (stomach cancer), stage II to IIIB, in combination with oxaliplatin.
  • Rectal cancer (cancer of the rectum), locally advanced, adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy, in combination with radiation therapy.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


There is no specific information comparing use of capecitabine in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults—

Patients 80 years of age or older may be more sensitive to the effects of capecitabine. Severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting may be more likely to occur in these patients. Patients 60 years of age and older and/or who are also taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner), may be more likely to have blood clotting problems.


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersDStudies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.


There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines—

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Tegafur

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 4, Live
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 7, Live
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine
  • Warfarin
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Fosphenytoin
  • Leucovorin
  • Levoleucovorin
  • Phenytoin

Other interactions—

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems—

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to capecitabine or to any ingredients in this medicine or
  • Allergy to 5-fluorouracil or
  • Shortage of an enzyme called dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase that your body needs—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Bone marrow depression or
  • Cancer—May increase risk of blood clotting problems.
  • Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)—Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body.
  • Heart disease—The risk of a side effect that affects the heart may be increased.
  • Infection—Capecitabine decreases your body's ability to fight infection.
  • Kidney disease, moderate or severe—The risk of side effects that affect the kidneys may be increased. Capecitabine should not be used in patients with severe kidney disease.
  • Liver disease—The amount of capecitabine in the body may be increased in patients with liver disease. Also, the risk of a side effect that affects the liver may be increased.

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Each dose of this medicine should be taken within 30 minutes after the end of a meal.

Swallow the tablets with water.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For breast and colorectal cancer:
      • Adults—At first, 2500 milligrams (mg) per square meter (m(2)) of body surface area per day, divided in 2 doses and taken about 12 hours apart. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—

If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Your doctor may request that you have a test to determine if your blood is clotting properly, and may preform this test frequently if you are also taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner).

Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor immediately if any of the following occur:

  • Diarrhea, moderately severe (four to six stools a day more than usual, or during the night).
  • Pain, blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of the palms of your hands or the bottoms of your feet that is severe enough to interfere with your normal activities.
  • Nausea that is severe enough to cause you to eat less than usual.
  • Vomiting that occurs two times, or more, in a 24-hour period.
  • Pain and redness, swelling, or sores or ulcers in your mouth or on your lips that are severe enough to interfere with eating.

If vomiting occurs less often than mentioned above, or if nausea does not cause you to eat less than usual, it is not necessary for you to stop taking the medicine or to check with your doctor (unless these effects are particularly bothersome). Also, you do not need to stop taking the medicine if diarrhea occurs less often than mentioned above or if the other side effects listed are not severe enough to interfere with eating or other daily activities. However, check with your doctor as soon as possible if they occur.

While you are being treated with capecitabine, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Capecitabine may lower your body's resistance and the vaccine may not work as well or you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, you should not be around other persons living in your household who receive live virus vaccines because there is a chance they could pass the virus on to you. Some examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, influenza (nasal flu vaccine), poliovirus (oral form), rotavirus, and rubella. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.

Capecitabine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Abdominal or stomach pain
numbness, pain, tingling, or other unusual sensations in the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet
pain, blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet
pain, redness, swelling, sores, or ulcers in your mouth or on your lips
unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common or rare
Abdominal or stomach cramping or pain (severe)
back pain
bleeding and bruising
bleeding gums
blood in the urine or stools
bloody nose
bloody or black, tarry stools
blurred vision
burning, dry, or itching eyes
chest pain
clumsiness or unsteadiness
cough or hoarseness (accompanied by fever or chills)
cough producing mucus
coughing or spitting up blood
dark urine
decreased frequency or amount of urine
difficulty with breathing
difficulty with swallowing or pain in the back of throat or chest when swallowing
discharge from the eyes
dry mouth
excessive tearing
extra heartbeats
eye redness, irritation, or pain
fast or irregular heartbeat
fever or chills
flu-like symptoms
headache, sudden and severe
heavier menstrual periods
high fever
hot, red skin on the feet or legs
inability to speak
increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
increased thirst
itching in the genital or other skin areas
light-colored stools
loss of consciousness
lower back or side pain (accompanied by fever or chills)
muscle aches or cramps
muscle spasms
numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
painful or difficult urination (accompanied by fever or chills)
painful, swollen feet or legs
pain, tenderness, or swelling in the upper abdominal or stomach area
pale skin
pinpoint red spots on the skin
problems with coordination
prolonged bleeding from cuts
rapid, shallow breathing
red or dark brown urine
redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
severe constipation
skin rash or itching
slow or irregular heartbeat
slurred speech
sneezing, sore throat, or stuffy nose
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
stiff neck
stomach bloating, burning, or cramping
swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
swelling of the lymph nodes
swollen glands
temporary blindness
tiredness or weakness
trouble with speaking
troubled breathing or tightness in the chest
unexplained nosebleeds
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual lump or swelling in the chest
vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body, sudden and severe
weight gain or loss
white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
white patches with diaper rash
yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings
changes or discoloration in the fingernails or toenails
difficulty with moving
increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
muscle pain
pain and redness of the skin at the place of x-ray treatment
pain in the joints or limbs
red, sore eyes
sunken eyes
trouble with sleeping
wrinkled skin
Bone pain
change in color of treated skin
difficulty with walking
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
feeling sad or empty
full or bloated feeling or pressure in the stomach
general feeling of discomfort or illness
hot flushes
impaired balance
increased sweating
joint pain
lack of appetite
loss of interest or pleasure
muscle weakness
noisy breathing
pain in the rectum
pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
passing less gas
rough, scratchy sound to voice
runny nose
sensation of spinning
shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
sores on the skin
swelling of abdominal or stomach area
tremor or shaking of the hands or feet
trouble concentrating
voice changes

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Last Updated: 11/4/2014

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