5-Fluorouracil

Description

5-Fluorouracil is a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer of the breast, bowel, stomach, esophagus, and the pancreas. It may also be used to treat certain other cancers. This medicine is not recommended for use in patients less than 18 years of age.

Side effects

Major & minor side effects for 5-Fluorouracil

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of appetite
  • Watery eyes
  • Photophobia
  • Change in taste/ Metallic taste
  • Discoloration along veins
  • Decrease in blood cell count
  • Drying and cracking of skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Darkening of skin where radiation was received (Radiation recall)
  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • Discoloration and loss of nails
  • Redness, swelling and pain of palms or soles
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Vision disturbances
  • Injection site redness, bruising, or sores
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bloody or coffee colored vomit
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Bleeding and irritation of nose

Uses of 5-Fluorouracil

What is it prescribed for?

  • Adenocarcinoma of the colon and rectum
  • Adenocarcinoma of the breast
  • Gastric adenocarcinoma
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
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Concerns

Commonly asked questions

  • Onset of action
    The amount of time required for this medicine to show its action is not clinically established.
  • Duration of effect
    The amount of time for which this medicine remains active in the body is not clinically established.
  • Safe with alcohol?
    Interaction with alcohol is unknown. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption.
  • Is it habit forming?
    No habit-forming tendencies were reported.
  • Usage in pregnancy?
    This medicine is not recommended for use in pregnant women unless absolutely necessary. All the risks and benefits should be discussed with the doctor before receiving this medicine.
  • Usage while breast-feeding?
    This medicine is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women unless absolutely necessary. All the risks and benefits should be discussed with the doctor before receiving this medicine. Your doctor may advise you to discontinue the drug or to discontinue breastfeeding based on your clinical condition.

Allergy

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with a known allergy to 5-Fluorouracil, capecitabine, or any other inactive ingredient present along with it.

Bone marrow suppression

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with bone marrow suppression, especially post radiation therapy or treatment with other anticancer medications, due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition.

Severe liver/kidney damage

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with severe liver or kidney damage due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition.

Active severe infection

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with an active severe infection since it may worsen the patient’s condition.

Poor nutritional state

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with an active nutritional deficiency or malnourishment due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition.

Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency

This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with an inherited deficiency of an enzyme called Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase since the risks of toxicity and fatal adverse effects are significantly higher in such patients.
Warnings for special population

Pregnancy

This medicine is not recommended for use in pregnant women unless absolutely necessary. All the risks and benefits should be discussed with the doctor before receiving this medicine.

Breast-feeding

This medicine is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women unless absolutely necessary. All the risks and benefits should be discussed with the doctor before receiving this medicine. Your doctor may advise you to discontinue the drug or to discontinue breastfeeding based on your clinical condition.
General warnings

Other medicines

5-Fluorouracil may interact with many other medicines and may cause severe adverse effects. Hence, it is advised that you inform the doctor about all your current medicines including any herbs and supplements before beginning treatment with this medicine.

Vaccinations or immunization

Vaccinations with live or attenuated strains of micro-organisms should be avoided while receiving this medicine due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition. Similarly, treatment with this medicine should not be initiated if the patient has been vaccinated recently.

Liver impairment

This medicine should be used with caution in patients suffering from liver diseases due to the increased risk of severe adverse effects. Regular monitoring of liver function tests is necessary while receiving this medicine. Appropriate dose adjustments or replacement with a suitable alternative may be required in some cases based on the clinical condition.

Kidney impairment

This medicine should be used with caution in patients suffering from kidney diseases due to the increased risk of severe adverse effects. Regular monitoring of kidney function tests is necessary while receiving this medicine. Appropriate dose adjustments or replacement with a suitable alternative may be required in some cases based on the clinical condition of the patient.

Infections

Use of this medicine may weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to opportunistic infections. Hence, it is recommended to take suitable precautionary measures to avoid infections during treatment with this medicine. Report any unusual symptoms to the doctor. Appropriate corrective measures, dose adjustments, or replacement with a suitable alternative may be necessary based on the clinical condition.

Diarrhea

Use of this medicine may cause moderate to severe diarrhea in some patients. Contact your doctor immediately if you have more than 5 episodes of loose stools within a 24-hour period in spite of dietary alterations and uptake of anti-diarrheal medications. Therapy may need to be discontinued in such cases based on the clinical condition of the patient.

Photosensitivity

This medicine may make you more sensitive to sunlight or tanning lights. You are advised to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing to avoid adverse reactions to sunlight during treatment with this medicine.

Driving or Operating machinery

Use of this medicine may cause symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness, or drowsiness in some patients. It is advised that you do not perform any activities such as driving a vehicle or operating machinery if you experience any of these symptoms during treatment with this medicine.

Laboratory tests

Certain laboratory tests may need to be performed before, during, after treatment with this medicine. Your doctor may advise periodic blood tests as well as tests to monitor the function of other organs like liver and kidney.

Hand-foot syndrome

Use of this medicine may cause redness, swelling, peeling of the skin in the palm of hands and feet. It is advised to modify normal activities of daily life to reduce friction and heat exposure of hands and feet for the entire treatment duration and beyond. If the symptoms are severe, therapy may need to be discontinued.

Nutrition

It is advised to maintain good nutrition during and after the therapy with this medicine. It is recommended to consult your doctor or a dietician with regards to appropriate diet changes during this period.

Delayed wound healing

Use of this medicine may delay the wound healing process. Contact your doctor and seek appropriate advice if a surgery is planned while receiving this medicine.

Contraception

It is advised to use suitable methods of contraception during and after therapy with this medicine. Pregnancy should be avoided while receiving this medicine. Contact your doctor immediately if pregnancy is suspected.

Blood cell counts

Usage of this medicine may alter the levels of blood cell components. Hence, caution is advised while initiating the therapy with this medicine in patients with a pre-existing blood cell disorder. Regular monitoring of white blood cells and platelet counts is advised while this medicine is being administered. An alternative treatment option may be necessary in some cases based on the clinical condition.

Cardiotoxicity

Usage of this medicine may increase the risk of heart-related complications. Hence, caution is advised while initiating the therapy in patients with any active heart condition. Close monitoring of heart function and vital signs, appropriate dose adjustments, or replacement with a suitable alternative may be necessary in some cases based on the clinical condition of the patient.

Overdose

Since this medicine is administered in the hospital or clinical setting by a qualified healthcare professional, the likelihood of an overdose is very low. However, emergency medical treatment will be initiated by the doctor if an overdose is suspected.

Missed Dose

Since this medicine is usually administered by a qualified healthcare professional in the clinical/hospital setting, the likelihood of a missed dose is very low. If you miss a scheduled appointment for a dose of this medicine, contact your doctor for further instructions.
All drugs interact differently for person to person. You should check all the possible interactions with your doctor before starting any medicine.
Interaction with Alcohol

Description

Interaction with alcohol is unknown. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption.

Instructions

Interaction with alcohol is unknown. It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption.
Interaction with Medicine

Live vaccines

Etanercept

Adalimumab

Clozapine

Folic Acid

Warfarin

Disease interactions

Gastrointestinal ulcers

This medicine should be used with caution in patients with stomatitis due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition. Extreme caution is advised for use in patients with peptic ulcer disease and ulcerative colitis. An alternative treatment option may be necessary in some cases based on the clinical condition of the patient.

Bleeding disorders

This medicine should be used with caution in patients with bleeding disorders due to the increased risk of thrombocytopenia. Close monitoring of blood cell counts is necessary while receiving this medicine. Temporary discontinuation of therapy with this medicine is recommended in patients with low levels of platelet count. An alternative treatment option may be necessary in some cases based on the clinical condition of the patient.

Coronary Artery Disease

This medicine should be used with caution in patients with active coronary artery diseases due to the increased risk of worsening of the patient’s condition. Appropriate dose adjustments and clinical monitoring are advised for these patients. Therapy with this medicine should be stopped if cardiotoxicity is clinically confirmed. An alternative treatment option may be necessary in some cases based on the clinical condition.
Food interactions
Report the use of multivitamins and minerals to the doctor before receiving this medicine. Folic acid content in any of the multivitamins and minerals may interact with this medicine and increase the risk of severe adverse effects. Appropriate dose adjustments or replacement with a suitable alternative may be required in some cases based on the clinical condition. Do not stop the use of any medicine without consulting your doctor.
Lab interactions
Information not available.
This medicine is usually administered in the clinical/hospital setting under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Follow all the instructions given by your doctor. The method of administration and dose strength is subject to vary based on the condition being treated and factors like age, body surface area, etc. Your doctor may delay the treatment or change the dose based on the clinical response or side effects experienced. Inform the doctor if you have a known allergy to this medicine. Report all your current medicines as well as your medical conditions to the doctor before receiving this medicine.
Miscelleneous

Usage does not depend on food timings

To be taken as instructed by doctor

May cause sleepiness

How it works
This medicine works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Legal Status

Approved

Approved

Approved

Approved

Classification

Category

Antimetabolites

Schedule

Schedule H

[Internet]. Accessdata.fda.gov. 2018 [cited 22 August 2018]. Available from:

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/012209s040lbl.pdf

[Internet]. Bccancer.bc.ca. 2018 [cited 22 August 2018]. Available from:

http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/drug-database-site/drug%20index/fluorouracil_monograph_1sep2015.pdf

DailyMed - Fluorouracil injection, solution [Internet]. Dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. 2018 [cited 22 August 2018]. Available from:

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=b90e0da7-f702-4f09-9488-74f2bb20e9ac

Fluorouracil [Internet]. Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2018 [cited 22 August 2018]. Available from:

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5-Fluorouracil#section=Top

Fluorouracil - DrugBank [Internet]. Drugbank.ca. 2018 [cited 22 August 2018]. Available from:

https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00544

Fluorouracil 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection or Infusion - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) - (eMC) [Internet]. Medicines.org.uk. 2018 [cited 14 December 2018]. Available from:

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6041/smpc#

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Information on this page was last updated on 26 Dec 2018

Disclaimer

We’ve made all possible efforts to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, however, it should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Practo only provides reference source for common information on medicines and does not guarantee its accuracy or exhaustiveness. The absence of a warning for any drug or combination thereof, should not be assumed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for any given patient. Practo does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information provided above. If you have any doubts about your medication then we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor, nurse or healthcare provider. See detailed T&C here.