Treats cancer of the colon, rectum, breast, pancreas, and stomach. Also called 5-FU.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not be treated with this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to fluorouracil.
How to Use This Medicine
- This medicine is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
- Your doctor will prescribe your dose and tell you how often it will be given.
- Your medicine will be given through a tube that is put in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, or hand and sometimes in your chest. This is called intravenous (in-tra-VEEN-us), or IV.
- A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
If a dose is missed:
- This medicine needs to be given on a regular schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or the clinic where you get your treatments for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- If you get your treatments at a clinic, the staff at the clinic will keep your medicine there.
- If you get your treatments at home, you may need to store your medicine. Keep the IV liquid at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and light.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
- If you get your treatments at home, you should be given a special container for the used needles, medicine bag, and tubes. Put it where children or pets cannot reach it.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- You should not use aspirin or any product that has aspirin it (such as some cold medicines) unless you have talked to your doctor.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines (such as flu shots).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Do not breastfeed while you are being given this medicine.
- Before you start your treatments, tell your doctor if you have any infections, bone marrow problems, or liver or kidney disease.
- You may get infections more easily while getting this medicine. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections.
- This medicine may make your mouth sore and irritated. Keep your mouth clean to prevent infection. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush or mouth swab.
- This medicine can cause nausea and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up. If the medicine does not help (you can't keep liquids down), call your doctor.
- Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are receiving fluorouracil. Use an effective method of birth control while you are getting this medicine.
- If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Fever, chills, or sore throat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Diarrhea, loose watery stools
- Mouth sores that keep you from drinking liquids
- Severe vomiting
- Wheezing, trouble breathing
- Severe rash or hives
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Hair loss
- Mild rash
- Darkening of skin
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013