How Does Xeloda Work?

Xeloda® (capecitabine) is a medication used to treat breast cancer and colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum). It is a unique chemotherapy medication, as it is taken orally rather than intravenously. But how does Xeloda work?
In the body, Xeloda is transformed into a chemotherapy medicine known as 5-FU (fluorouracil). Fluorouracil cannot be given by mouth because it does not absorb well from the digestive tract into the body. Xeloda was developed as a way for fluorouracil to be given orally (rather than intravenously).
Once Xeloda is transformed into fluorouracil, it works by:
  • Interfering with a cell's ability to make new DNA (molecules that contain the cell's genetic information)
  • Causing important parts of the cell to stop functioning.
Together, these two actions can cause permanent damage to cells. Cancer cells divide more rapidly than normal healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by Xeloda.
(For more information on how this medicine works, click Xeloda. This article provides a complete overview of the drug, including information on its uses, general precautions, and potential side effects.)
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