Xeloda and Depression
In clinical studies on Xeloda, depression was a commonly reported side effect (occurring in up to 5 percent of people). However, because these studies do not include a group taking a sugar pill (because it would be unethical to not treat cancer), it is unclear if the depression is actually because of the medication, a result of the cancer diagnosis, or other factors.
Several side effects are possible for people taking Xeloda® (capecitabine), and depression may be one of them.
In clinical studies, up to 5 percent of people taking Xeloda reported depression as a side effect. This data comes from clinical trials that extensively studied Xeloda in thousands of people and documented its side effects. The challenge with Xeloda and depression, however, is that given how infrequently depression is reported with the drug and how common it is within the general population (particularly people with cancer), it is difficult to tell whether depression is caused by Xeloda, other factors, or a combination of both.
Before most medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies where thousands of people are given a particular medicine and are then compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, the side effects are always carefully documented. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
However, sometimes it is unethical to not treat a condition. This is the case in cancer studies. Because it would be unethical to not treat cancer, Xeloda is not usually compared to a placebo ("sugar pill"). Therefore, it is difficult to tell if a side effect is due to Xeloda, other factors, or a combination of both.