FLUOROURACIL, 5-FU (flure oh YOOR a sil) is a chemotherapy drug. It slows the growth of cancer cells. This medicine is used to treat many types of cancer like breast cancer, colon or rectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer.
This drug is given as an infusion or injection into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness
changes in vision
nausea and vomiting
pain, swelling, redness at site where injected
pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
redness, swelling, or sores on hands or feet
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
changes in finger or toe nails
dry or itchy skin
loss of appetite
sensitivity of eyes to the light
unusually teary eyes
medicines for seizures like ethotoin, fosphenytoin, phenytoin
medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin, enoxaparin, and dalteparin
some other chemotherapy drugs like busulfan, cisplatin, estramustine, vinblastine
Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:
It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency
infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
malnourished, poor nutrition
recent or ongoing radiation therapy
an unusual or allergic reaction to fluorouracil, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.
Men should inform their doctor if they wish to father a child. This medicine may lower sperm counts.
Do not treat diarrhea with over the counter products. Contact your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days or if it is severe and watery.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.