Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Capecitabine is used to treat certain cancers such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and gastric cancer.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Take Capecitabine two times a day (about 12 hours apart), within 30 minutes of a meal. Take the exact dose that your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not break, chew or crush the tablet. Swallow the tablet whole.
    • Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have difficulty swallowing.
  • Try not to touch the tablets with your bare hands. Use the medication cup provided to take Capecitabine.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember if it is within 6 hours of your usual time. However if more than 6 hours have passed, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses at the same time.

What precautions should I take? 

Inform your healthcare professional if: 

  • You are allergic to this medication or to fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • You or your partner become pregnant or are planning for pregnancy. You should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least:
    • 3 months after stopping Capecitabine (for men)
    • 6 months after stopping Capecitabine (for women)
  • You are breastfeeding
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 2 weeks after the last dose of Capecitabine.
  • You have any other medical conditions such as heart problems

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Mild nausea or vomiting may occur at the beginning
    • Take small, frequent meals throughout the day.
    • Take the medications for nausea or vomiting as instructed by your doctor if any.
  • Diarrhea
    • Drink plenty of clear fluids to replace those lost (2 litres everyday).
    • Avoid oily or spicy food and milk or dairy products.
  • Mouth sores
    • Rinse your mouth after meals using an alcohol-free mouthwash or salt water.
    • Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush.
  • Palms of the hands or soles of the feet may become numb, sore, red or dry
    • Moisturize these areas daily.
    • Avoid wearing tight-fitting shoes.
  • Skin discolouration e.g. darkening at certain areas
    • This is temporary. Your skin will return to normal when you stop Capecitabine.
  • Nail changes e.g. discolouration, more brittle
    • Keep your nails short and trim to avoid easy breaking.
  • Feeling tired and lack of energy
    • Do not drive or operate machinery when you feel tired.
  • Decreased white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets
    • This may put you at higher risk of infections, bleeding or bruising and feeling tired.
    • To reduce your risk of infection:
      • Avoid crowds and people who are sick. Wear a face mask when you are going out.
      • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before handling food.
      • Eat food that is fresh and completely cooked and avoid raw or half-cooked food.
    • To reduce your risk of bleeding problems:
      • Be careful when using sharp objects such as knives.
      • Try not to bruise, cut or knock yourself.
      • Brush your teeth gently as your gums may bleed more easily.
      • Apply direct pressure to any cuts or wounds to help stop bleeding.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

  • Signs of infection - fever of 38°C and above, chills, cough, body aches
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, black sticky stools or blood in urine
  • Very bad diarrhoea (e.g. more than 4 times a day) that does not improve even after taking medications used to stop diarrhoea
  • Painful blisters and peeling of hands or feet, or very bad skin rash
  • Dark urine or light coloured stools, severe nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Very bad swelling of hands, feet or lower legs

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following: 

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking or intend to take any other medication such as blood thinners e.g. warfarin, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children. 

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack Capecitabine into a bag and bring it back to the pharmacy where you received it from. 

You may refer to the following website if you need more information: 



Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on 9 September 2022

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