This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
Brand Names: US
Brand Names: Canada
What is this drug used for?
- It is used to treat cancer of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?
- If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with this drug, like certain drugs that are used for HIV, infections, or seizures. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug and for 1 week after your last dose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- High blood pressure has happened with this drug. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- Have your skin checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- You may get sunburned more easily while you take this drug and for at least 1 week after you stop taking it. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun. Keep protecting yourself from sunburn for as long as you were told by your doctor.
- Certain types of skin cancer have happened in people taking this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have a change in color or size of a mole, or any new or changing skin lump or growth.
- You will need to have heart function tests while taking this drug. Talk with the doctor.
- This drug may affect how wounds heal. If you need to have surgery, you may need to stop this drug before surgery. Start taking it again after surgery as you have been told by your doctor. Call your doctor right away if you have a wound that does not heal or any other wound problems.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, or decreased appetite, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- This drug may affect being able to father a child. Talk with the doctor.
- This drug may cause harm to an unborn baby. A pregnancy test will be done before you start this drug to show that you are NOT pregnant.
- If you or your sex partner may become pregnant, you must use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask your doctor how long to use birth control. If you or your sex partner gets pregnant, call your doctor right away.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes; confusion; muscle pain, cramps, or spasms; weakness; shakiness; change in balance; an abnormal heartbeat; seizures; loss of appetite; or severe upset stomach or throwing up.
- Redness or irritation of the palms of hands or soles of feet.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Heart problems like heart failure and heart attack have happened. Sometimes, heart attacks have been deadly. If you have or have ever had heart problems, talk with your doctor. Get medical help right away if you have signs of heart problems like chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, bulging neck veins, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Low white blood cell counts have happened with this drug. This may lead to a higher chance of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Hair thinning.
- Hair loss.
- Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or decreased appetite.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Muscle spasm.
- Dry skin.
- Weight loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
How is this drug best taken?
Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food.
- Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
- Take this drug at the same time of day.
- If you throw up after taking a dose, do not repeat the dose. Take your next dose at your normal time.
- Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it has been more than 8 hours since the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
- Store tablets in the original container at room temperature. Keep the cap tightly closed. Do not take out the antimoisture cube or packet.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
General drug facts
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
Last Reviewed Date
© 2023 UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.