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Capecitabine: Is It The Medicine For You?

We see that cancer cases have risen gradually as the years pass. The exact cause of cancer is not fully known, but a sedentary lifestyle, environmental changes, and gene mutations can be pointed out as some of the causes of cancer. Around 5-10% of cancer cases are due to hereditary or inherited genes. There are several varied kinds of cancers. Cancer can begin in any cell and any part of the body. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that spread quickly.




In Breast Cancer, the cells in the breast grow out of control. Based on which cells in the breast turn cancerous, there can be different kinds of breast cancer. Genetic mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can result in breast and ovarian cancer as well. Around 5%-10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary. Rectal Cancer, also known as colon cancer, begins in the large intestine or colon. Initially, it is seen as polyps, which are benign (non-cancerous) clumps of cells. As cancer progresses the symptoms begin to show up. Some of the early symptoms include blood in stools, and insistent abdominal discomforts like cramps, gas, or pain. Some medicines like antimetabolites help in slowing down the pace of growth of cancerous cells. Capecitabine is one such drug, that the doctor may prescribe.

What is Capecitabine?

Capecitabine belongs to the fluoropyrimidine class of medications especially called antimetabolites. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Capecitabine is used on its own, but it is beneficial when used in combination. It is an oral chemotherapy drug. It has proved beneficial for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and gastric cancer.

Precautions to be taken before using Capecitabine

A discussion about your medical history and allergies is helpful. Let your doctor know if you experience any allergic response to Capecitabine

•    Are taking anticoagulants, allopurinol leucovorin, and phenytoin,
•    Have Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency
•    Are you on any medication
•    Have a kidney, liver, or heart disease,
•    Have had surgery or are planning one
•    Are pregnant or planning to be
•    Are breastfeeding

Capecitabine may make you drowsy, hence, it is advised to not drive after taking it. Capecitabine is a prescription-only drug and needs to be taken with extreme caution. It is vital to follow all the instructions of the doctor while on Capecitabine.

How to take Capecitabine?

•    It is an oral medicine, to be taken by mouth
•    One must take it within 30 minutes of the meal.
•    It needs to be taken twice a day.
•    Drink plenty of liquids while taking a course of Capecitabine as you may feel dehydrated.
•    Swallow the tablet completely. Never crush or break it.
•    Follow the dosing instruction of your doctor carefully.


For oral dosage form (tablets) For metastatic breast and colorectal cancer:

In patients receiving this medicine alone:

•    In adults the initial dose is 2500 milligrams (mg) per square meter (m(2)) of body size, to be taken every day. It is divided into two doses and taken about 12 hours apart. It is given as a three weeks cycle. The doses are taken for 2 weeks, followed by 1-week rest. Your doctor may alter the dose if required. The dose is based on body size and is given as per the decision of your doctor.
•    In children, the doctor decides the dose and the relevant use of it.

For patients receiving this medicine with docetaxel:

•    In adults, the initial dose is 2500 milligrams (mg) per square meter (m (2)) of body surface area per day, divided into 2 doses and taken about 12 hours apart. This is given as a three-week cycle. The doses are taken for 2      weeks, followed by 1-week rest. Your dose may be adjusted by your doctor, if needed. The dose is based on the body's surface and must be determined by your doctor.
•    In children, the dose is decided on various parameters by your doctor.

How is Capecitabine available?

It is available in tablet form. The available strengths are 150 milligrams (mg) and 500 milligrams (mg).

The popular brand names for Capecitabine are listed below

•    Cacit (Zydus Cadila)
•    Capsy (Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd)
•    Capecite (Abbott)
•    Capnat (Natco Pharma Ltd)
•    Capetero (Hetero Drugs Ltd)
•    Xeloda (Roche Products India Pvt Ltd)
•    Citabin (United Biotech Pvt Ltd)
•    Capegard (Cipla Ltd)
•    Capezam (Zuventus Healthcare Ltd)
•    Capeta Nova (Alkem Laboratories Ltd)

Side Effects of Capecitabine

Like all drugs in the market, Capecitabine also has some side effects. Almost all the side effects get better with time, however, you should discuss with your doctor if they continue over a long period and tend to disrupt your daily activities.

It is important to note that not all patients show side effects, but a small percentage can experience the following side effects after consuming the medicine.

Common side effects of Capecitabine

•    Stomach pain or upset stomach
•    Continual constipation 
•    Loss of appetite
•    Change in ability to taste food
•    Increased thirst
•    Unusual tiredness or weakness
•    Dizziness
•    Headache
•    Hair loss
•    Skin rash
•    Back, join, or muscle pain
•    Red, swollen, itchy, or teary eyes
•    Trouble with sleep

Severe side effects of Capecitabine

If the person alters the dosage without medical consultation or consumes it for a long time or longer than required and advised by the doctor, there can be some severe side effects.

•    Diarrhoea
•    Nausea, vomiting
•    Sores in the mouth
•    Swelling, pain, or redness
•    Peeling of skin especially on the feet soles or the palms
•    Fever, chills, and sore throat
•    Any sign of an infection
•    Chest pain or pressure
•    Fast heartbeat
•    Dark urine
•    Yellowing of skin or eyes

If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek emergency medical advice and consult your doctor immediately.

How to know if Capecitabine is the drug for you?

Your unique genes tell you if a drug is suitable for you or not. Genes determine how your body will respond to a certain drug.  The genetic information can envisage a response to a drug. The study is known as pharmacogenetics. MEDNAwise pharmacogenetic testing is the way to know the most effective drug, suited for you.  The MEDNAWise test studies your genes and tells your body’s genetic response to 70+ drugs used in different medical specialties, including Capecitabine. It is beneficial for somatic and inherited disorders.  MEDNAwise test helps to know the most effective drug and the correct dosage for you. It also reduces the risk of any adverse reactions by telling you if any drug would give unwanted after-effects.

This precision medicine and a personalized way of healthcare have taken medical science to new heights.  A no prick, no blood test, MEDNAwise test is a simple, quick, and, direct-to-consumer test. It is an easy saliva test. You can do it from the comfort of your house. Detailed results are sent to you. An added benefit is that after the results; counsellors are available for a free consultation, who guide you with diet plans and further health check-ups. MEDNAwise is a super test as it needs to be taken just once in a lifetime. The results can be used any time you face any medical problem. It is especially crucial during medical emergencies and future hospitalization.A truly wonderful test is easily available at affordable rates. It is time to be safe and sure about your health. Take the MEDNAwise test today! Call Indus Health Plus to book one for you.


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