Xeloda is a chemotherapy agent that treats cancer. It is the brand name of the generic drug Capecitabine and it is available for prescription use only.
How it works
The active ingredient capecitabine in Xeloda is also known as cytotoxic antimetabolite. This substance is converted into 5-fluorouracil inside cancer cells through the activity of enzymes. Tumors are caused when cancerous cells multiply and grow. 5-fluorouracil works by preventing the multiplication of harmful cancer cells. It interferes with DNA and RNA which are vital for the growth of cells. Xeloda causes a reduction in these genetic material and it paves the way for cancer cells to perish. 5-fluorouracil can affect any type of cells that rapidly multiply, but since its concentrations are high in cancer cells, its target on normal cells are less.
Colon cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer can be treated with Xeloda.
Xeloda is prescribed to be taken twice a day, in the morning and evening at least half hour after meals.
The dose usually depends on the type of cancer you have, its severity and the other treatments you are undergoing. Follow the precise directions of your doctor when administering this drug.
Xeloda is normally administered in a 3 week cycle in which the drug is taken twice a day for a period of 2 weeks and then discontinued for 7 days.
If you are on other medications, consult your doctor to know the suitable Xeloda dosage for you.
If you a miss a dose, it is not recommended that you take a double dose. Wait for the next dose and continue as usual.
The most common side effects associated with this drug are:
Numbness or tingling sensation in hands and feet
Swelling of hands and feet
Sores or gum boils inside the mouth
Other less common side effects are temporary hair loss, anemia and irregular heartbeat.
An allergy to Xeloda may cause rashes, peeling, itching, swelling of tongue or throat and severe dizziness.
The most hazardous side effect of this drug is its effect on the bone marrow. Blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and 5-fluorouracil can decrease the production blood cells as it causes rapidly growing cells to depreciate. Low count of white blood cells may expose you to infections.
Therefore, it is important to monitor your blood count constantly when taking Xeloda.
Before taking Xeloda inform your doctor if you:
Are taking an anti-coagulant medication
Have kidney disease, hemophilia or liver disease
Have a history of heart disease or strokes
Have a nervous disorder
If you are experiencing the following you are not eligible for the use of Xeloda.
Allergy to fluorouracil
A condition called DPD deficiency
Low platelet count
Received treatment for chicken pox in the recent past
If you are affected by diarrhea or severe vomiting after taking Xeloda, you might soon find yourself dehydrated. To avoid further complications, drink plenty of fluids and take medicine to lessen the discomfort.