Capecitabine (Xeloda) (The James)

Taking Your Treatment Home

What you need to know about your Anti-Cancer Medicine


Capecitabine (Xeloda)

Here is important information on how to use, handle, and store your medicine, what side effects to look for and how to manage them.


What it looks like: Oval, light-colored tablets (may be white, pink or tan/beige)


How to handle and store:

  • There are special safe handling instructions for this medicine. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about the precautions you need to follow when you take this medicine at home.
  • Store in closed container in a dry place such as a cabinet away from light, heat, and moisture.
  • Do not store in your bathroom or refrigerator.
  • Keep this medicine away from children and do not share it with anyone.


How to take:

  • Do not take more tablets than ordered by your doctor.
  • Do not crush, break, or chew the tablets.
  • This medicine is usually taken 2 times each day, 10 to 12 hours apart.
  • Take medicine with a full glass of water and with food.
  • If you miss a dose, wait until it is time for your next dose, and skip the missed dose. Do not double up on doses.
  • Use a calendar or diary to keep track of what days and what times you take this medicine.



  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to get rid of prescription medicines safely.



  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take warfarin (Coumadin) or phenytoin (Dilantin).
  • Do not get pregnant while on this medicine. Talk with your doctor about what birth control to use.


Possible Side Effects

You can find more information on side effects in the Patient Education booklet, Treatment with Chemotherapy and Anti-Cancer Medicines.



What to do:

  • Call your doctor if this happens more than 4 times in a day or for more than 1 or 2 days or if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Your doctor may tell you to take a medicine called Loperamide (Imodium). It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this medicine, not the directions on the box.


Hand-and-Foot Syndrome

What this means: You may have tingling, numbness or pain on the palms of your hands and bottom of your feet. Your hands and feet may become swollen or red and you may develop small sores or blisters.

What to do:

  • It is important to keep your appointments to have your bloodwork checked.
  • Wear shoes and clean socks that fit well to prevent skin irritation.
  • Use a moisturizing cream or lotion.
  • Keep your hands and feet clean and dry.


Soreness of the Mouth or Throat (Mucositis)

What this means: You may get sores or blisters on your lips or in your mouth.

What to do:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat moist foods.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol. These can make your symptoms worse.
  • Do not use mouthwashes with alcohol or peroxide.
  • Call your doctor if it is uncomfortable to eat or drink.


Nausea and Vomiting

What to do:

  • Eat small meals or snacks often during the day. Stay away from spicy or high-fat foods.
  • Drink water during the day.
  • Call your doctor if you are unable to keep liquids down for more than 24 hours or if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Take your anti-nausea medicine as ordered by your doctor.


Low White Blood Cells/Preventing Infection

What this means: You may be at risk of getting an infection.

What to do:

  • Call your doctor if your temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher.
  • Wash your hands often.


Bleeding/Bruising/Black Stools

What to do:

  • Call your doctor if you notice that you are bruising more easily, if your stools are black or tarry or if you have other unusual bleeding, such as bright red blood in stools or nosebleeds that do not stop.
  • Call your doctor for sudden, severe stomach pain.
  • Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) for regular aches and pains.


This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Tell your doctor if you have these or any other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine. Your James health care team will give you further help to manage side effects.



© 3/6/2019. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.

For more health information, call the Patient and Family Resource Center at 614-366-0602 or visit