Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood counts: This medication can decrease the number of red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells (neutropenia), and platelets (thrombocytopenia). Your doctor will do blood tests to monitor for this and adjust your dose of capecitabine or temporarily stop it if your blood counts are too low. If you develop a fever while your blood cell counts are low, contact your doctor immediately.
Diarrhea or dehydration: This medication frequently causes diarrhea. If you develop diarrhea that occurs more than 4 times a day or at all during the night, contact your doctor. Your doctor will monitor you closely for dehydration. Severe dehydration can cause rapid loss of kidney function and is a medical emergency. If you experience any symptoms of severe dehydration (e.g., increased thirst, dry mouth), stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately.
Hand and foot syndrome: This medication can cause hand and foot syndrome (numbness, redness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hands and feet; blistering or peeling of the hands and feet). If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. If the symptoms are severe and interfere with your ability to walk or do other daily activities, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately.
Heart disease: People with a history of heart disease may be more likely to experience side effects that affect the heart when taking this medication. Stop using the medication and contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as abnormal heart rate, chest pain, and swelling of your extremities while taking this medication.
Kidney disease: If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with moderately-to-severely reduced kidney function will need lower doses of this medication.
Liver function: If you have reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication may harm the baby if used during pregnancy. Both men and women should use effective birth control (e.g., condoms, birth control pill) during treatment. If you or your partner become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if capecitabine passes into breast milk. Because of the risks associated with this medication, women should not breast-feed while taking capecitabine.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 18 years of age.
Seniors: People over the age of 65 may be at an increased risk of side effects from this medication.