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Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. Temporary nail changes may occur, which may rarely include fungal infections in the nail beds.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of this medication. It may become very severe (possibly fatal). To decrease this side effect, your doctor may prescribe medication (e.g., loperamide) to control your symptoms, replace lost fluids by vein, or stop treatment with capecitabine. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent serious problems due to a loss of too much body water (dehydration). If you experience signs of severe diarrhea (e.g., 4 or more stools per day, diarrhea at night, bloody stools), or if you experience signs of dehydration (e.g., dizziness, decreased amount of urine), stop taking this drug and tell your doctor immediately.
Stop taking capecitabine and tell your doctor immediately if you have any of these serious side effects: severe nausea/vomiting (vomiting 2 or more times per day, inability to eat or keep food/fluids in your stomach), painful redness/swelling/sores in mouth or throat.
If any of the above symptoms occur, your doctor may lower your dose when you start taking capecitabine again or may stop treatment with this drug.
Treatment with capecitabine may sometimes cause your hands/feet to develop a skin reaction called hand-foot syndrome (palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia). You can prevent or reduce these problems by protecting your hands and feet from a great deal of heat or pressure. Avoid unnecessary exposure to heat (e.g., hot dishwater, long hot baths). Avoid pressure on elbows, knees, and soles of feet (e.g., leaning on elbows, kneeling, long walks). Wear loose clothing. Depending on how severe your hand-foot syndrome is, your doctor may prescribe a medication to reduce the symptoms or decrease/delay your next dose of capecitabine. If you experience pain/swelling/redness, blisters, or numbness of the hands/feet that affects your usual activities, stop taking this medication and tell your doctor immediately.
This medication can lower your ability to fight an infection. Stop taking this medication and call your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as high fever, chills, or persistent sore throat.
Tell your doctor immediately if you have any of these unlikely but serious side effects: abdominal/stomach pain, unusual bruising or bleeding, extreme tiredness, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression), swelling of the ankles/feet, vision changes, shortness of breath, change in the amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing of the eyes/skin, fast/irregular heartbeat.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, fainting, jaw/left arm pain.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other side effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the Xeloda (capecitabine) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »
PRECAUTIONS: Before taking capecitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to 5-fluorouracil; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: severe kidney disease, a certain enzyme deficiency (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (e.g., bone marrow suppression), heart problems (e.g., coronary artery disease, heart failure), kidney problems, liver problems.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use an effective sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. This will also help protect you from problems related to heat (hand/foot syndrome). See Side Effects section for more information.
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lower the risk of bleeding gums.
Caution is advised when this drug is used in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
This drug is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control. It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while taking this medication.
It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of possible harm to the nursing infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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