Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Fluorouracil Injection is an antineoplastic (anticancer) antimetabolite is effective in the palliative management of carcinoma (cancer) of the colon, rectum, breast, stomach and pancreas. Fluorouracil injection is available in generic form. Common side effects of fluorouracil injection include:
- mouth inflammation and sores,
- sore throat,
- inflammation of the esophagus,
- loss of appetite,
- low white blood cell counts (leukopenia),
- hair loss, and
- skin rash.
The normal dose of fluorouracil is 12 mg/kg of fluorouracil injection given intravenously once daily for four successive days. The daily dose should not exceed 800 mg. If no toxicity is observed, 6 mg/kg are given on the 6, 8, 10 and 12 days unless toxicity occurs. No therapy is given on the 5, 7, 9 or 11 days. Therapy is discontinued at the end of the 12 days. Fluorouracil injection may interact with leucovorin calcium. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Fluorouracil injection is not recommended for use during pregnancy; it may harm a fetus. It is unknown if fluorouracil injection passes into breast milk. Because fluorouracil inhibits DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, breastfeeding is not recommended while using this drug.
Our Fluorouracil Injection Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Leukopenia usually follows every course of adequate therapy with fluorouracil. The lowest white blood cell counts are commonly observed between the 9th and 14th days after the first course of treatment, although uncommonly the maximal depression may be delayed for as long as 20 days. By the 30th day the count has usually returned to the normal range.
Alopecia and dermatitis may be seen in a substantial number of cases. The dermatitis most often seen is a pruritic maculopapular rash usually appearing on the extremities and less frequently on the trunk. It is generally reversible and usually responsive to symptomatic treatment.
Other adverse reactions are:
Gastrointestinal: gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding.
Allergic Reactions: anaphylaxis and generalized allergic reactions.
Dermatologic: dry skin; fissuring; photosensitivity, as manifested by erythema or increased pigmentation of the skin; vein pigmentation; palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome, as manifested by tingling of the hands and feet followed by pain, erythema and swelling.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Fluorouracil Injection (fluorouracil)