General Info: Uses and Effects
Xeloda (Capecitabine) is an anti cancer chemotherapy drug. The medication is considered to be in the class of drugs known as antimetabolite. It is often used for the treatment of different types of cancer such as colon or rectal cancer, esophageal, hepatobiliary, gastric, pancreatic, peritoneal, fallopian tube, metastatic breast cancer, or other unknown primary cancer. It is important to mention that there are other health conditions not listed here that this medication is used for (off label use).
Contraindication: Important to Know
Before you start your treatment with Capecitabine, you should inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. This is because the medication can be dangerous to an unborn baby. You must understand the risks involved in using this medication while pregnant before you go ahead to use it. While taking Xeloda Capecitabine, it is advisable for the patient, male or female, to use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy during the course of the treatment. You should also discuss with your doctor about the safety of becoming pregnant after completing your treatment. Breast feeding women should also stop breastfeeding while taking this medication.
It is highly recommended that you take plenty fluid while using the drug except otherwise advised by your physician. You should also try to avoid interacting with people with fever or cold as you may be at a high risk of infection. Maintain proper hygiene during the course of your treatment and wash your hands regularly.
Instructions on Taking
Before you start taking this medication, it is important that you read the information leaflet given to your by your doctor or pharmacist. You must stick to the dose schedule given to you by your physician. Do not take more than the recommended dosage or take it for longer than is recommended. Doing so will not make your symptoms disappear faster. However, it can have fatal side effects which include death.
Xeloda Capecitabine is usually recommended to be taken as a pill through the mouth. You should take it after food, usually within thirty minutes of taking a meal and should be taken with water. The tablets come in two different sizes: 150mg, and 500mg. Swallow the tablet whole and do not dissolve, chew or crush before use. The drug is often recommended to be taken in divided dosage of twelve hours apart. In case you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your normal dosage schedule. Do not take double doses to make up for lost dose. This can have serious adverse effect on you if you do so. The quantity of the medication that will be prescribed by your doctor will depend on some factors such as your weight, height, general health, age, other health conditions, and the condition or type of cancer being treated.
When it comes to the side effects of medications, it is important to know that most people will not develop all of the side effects of Xeloda Capecitabine mentioned here. The side effects of the medication are usually predictable in terms of their severity, onset, and duration. Usually, the side effects will improve at the completion of therapy and in most cases, they are manageable.
Some of the common side effects that can be experienced by patients using Xeloda include the following:
- Low red blood cell count (anemia);
- Low white blood cell count;
- Skin rash, redness, swelling, peeling and/or pain of the soles of feet and skin on the palms of hands;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Rash and itching;
- Elevated liver enzymes;
- Abdominal pain.
The above common adverse effects occur in more than 30% of patients being treated with Capecitabine. There are also some less common side effects that occur in about 10-29% of patients using this medication. These side effects include:
- Poor appetite;
- Mouth Sores;
- Low platelet count;
- Swelling of the ankles and feet;
- Eye irritation;
- Tingling or numbness of hands or feet;
- Back, joint, muscle, and bone pain;
- GI motility disorder.
It is important to note that the list of side effects is not exhaustive. It is therefore important to inform your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms while taking the medication. There are some side effects that occur in less than 10% of patients using the medication. Do not take any symptom for granted. Inform your physician immediately you notice anything that makes you feel uncomfortable while using the medication. If you experience high fever or chills while taking the drug, you should call your physician immediately, irrespective of the time of the day.
There are some other side effects that require medical attention but are not regarded as emergency. In case you experience any of the under listed symptoms, call your physician within twenty four hours of noticing it.
- Vomiting more than four to five times within 24 hours;
- Unusual bruising or bleeding;
- Nausea that interferes with your ability to eat and still persists after using prescribed medication;
- Diarrhea episodes of four to six times within 24 hours;
- Tarry or black stools, or if you notice blood in your urine or stool;
- Extreme fatigue;
- Yellowing of the skin;
- Mouth sores;
- Confusion, excessive sleepiness, and loss of balance;
- Burning or tingling, swelling, swelling or redness of the soles of the feet or palms of hands.
Interaction with Other Drugs
Before you start a course of Xeloda Capecitabine, ensure you inform your doctor about any other drugs (prescription, non prescription, herbal supplement, vitamins) you are taking. Do not use aspirin or product containing aspirin without the approval of your doctor. In addition to this, do not use antacids within a period of two hours of using this medication. If you are currently using Warfarin for blood thinning, you need to inform your physician so that they can adjust your dosage after carrying out blood work. You should also not take any kind of vaccination or immunization while taking this drug without the express approval of your doctor. The patients that are hypersensitive to fluorouracil may also not be able to use this medication.