Capecitabine

Brand Names

Xeloda® (There may be other brand names for this medication.)

How is it Administered?

Capecitabine comes as a pill, to be taken by mouth. Do not crush, chew, or dissolve the tablets.

Why am I Taking Capecitabine?

Capecitabine is used to treat metastatic breast, colon, and rectal cancers.

How Does Capecitabine Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells reproduce without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles — with phases for resting, active growing, and division (reproduction). Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type and characteristics of your cancer, how fast the cancer cells divide, and when each drug is most effective.

Capecitabine is in a class of drugs known as antimetabolites, drugs that interrupt the cell cycle. It is biologically similar to substances found inside cells. The cancer cells take in the capecitabine and it disrupts their growth and their ability to reproduce. If the cells are unable to reproduce, they die.

The faster cells are dividing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage or kill them. Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce quickly. The cells that are the most likely to be affected by chemotherapy are those that line the digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines), hair follicles, and blood cells.

These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores, hair loss, and decreased blood counts. Low blood counts may cause fatigue, anemia, and increase your risk of infection.

Continue Reading Detailed Drug Profile