Xeloda (capecitabine) is a chemotherapy drug that stops or slows down the proliferation of malignant cells and prevents them from spreading around the body. Particularly, it is prescribed for patients dealing with colon, colorectal and breast cancer. It is used to treat metastasizing cancer. Xeloda is not an over-the-counter drug, so before using it, one must pass a handful of examinations and consultations.
Mechanism of Action
Once capecitabine gets into the body and reaches the tumor, it is metabolized to fluorouracil, which impedes the synthesis of DNA. It kind of cuts off DNA supply to cancer cells and, thus, reduces their potential for further growth.
Take Xeloda as prescribed by the doctor. Follow the schedule and intake rules advised by your chemotherapist even if the leaflet says otherwise. Do not change the dose or stop using the drug. If you have any adverse reactions or feel like the treatment is not working, contact your healthcare provider.
How to Use Xeloda
Xeloda is administered orally. Dosage depends on cancer type (metastatic, adjuvant colorectal cancer, etc.), severity of the condition, your body size and weight, and response to the drug. Mostly, the drug is taken twice daily, 30 minutes after a meal – after breakfast and supper (1,250 mg/m2 each time, the daily dose amounting to 2,500 mg/m2). Swallow tablets whole and wash them down with water. Do not chew, crush or cut them apart.
Do not apply Xeloda to the skin or smell the tablets: they can enter your body through the skin and respiratory system;
Stop using the drug once the cycle is over;
Do not increase the dose even if you cannot see any signs of improvement;
Do not use expired tablets;
Keep Xeloda out of the reach of children.
Precautions, Warnings and Contraindications
Avoid using Xeloda if you are:
Allergic to its components and metabolites;
Planning pregnancy/have become pregnant, or are breastfeeding;
Prone to hepatic and renal disorders;
Suffering from dihydropirimidine dehydrogenaze deficiendy (DPD);
Dealing with or have a history of coronary disorders;
Experiencing a blood clotting issue.
Use birth control during Xeloda treatment. If you realize you are pregnant, contact your doctor.
If you are about to concomitantly use Xeloda with Coumadin, Jantoven, Warfarin or other blood thinners, have your anticoagulant response monitored as frequently as you can. Clinical studies did reveal cases (including fatal!) of severe bleeding due to changes in coagulation parameters.
Like most types of chemotherapy, Xeloda therapy may cause side effects. The most common ones are:
Nausea and vomiting;
Pain and numbness in the limbs;
Skin rash, blistering, peeling;
If any of these reactions occur, and they get too severe, contact your healthcare provider. He/she may adjust the dosage, advise drugs that lessen these symptoms, or replace Xeloda with another medicine.