Xeloda Side Effects

by on July 2, 2012


The most common side effects of Xeloda (Capecitabine) are constipation, dizziness, back, muscle, or joint pain, headache, itchy or dry skin, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, and weakness. If any of these effects becomes bothersome, notify your doctor.

Common Xeloda Side Effects

The most common Xeloda or capecitabine side effects include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Back, muscle, or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Itchy or dry skin
  • Eye irritation
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in taste
  • Mild vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Xeloda Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur while taking Xeloda. If you experience any of the following symptoms indicating an allergic reaction, get emergency medical help right away.

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing

Many other capecitabine side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but that are still very serious. If you experience any of the following severe side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Severe diarrhea- more than 4 times per day or night
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting more than once in 24 hours
  • Jaundice
  • Swelling, sores, or white patches in mouth or throat
  • Flu symptoms such as; fever, chills, body aches
  • Pain, redness, tenderness, blistering, swelling, or peeling of skin on hands or feet.
  • Heavy feeling or chest pain, pain that spreads to shoulder or arm, nausea, sweating, and overall ill feeling
  • Slow heart rate, slow breathing, fainting, or weak pulse
  • Sudden numbness, confusion, headache, weakness, or problems with speech, vision, or balance.

Existing Medical Conditions

You should not take Xeloda if you have any of the following conditions; an allergy to capecitabine or fluorouracil; severe kidney disease or a metabolic disorder called DPD, or dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase; or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Certain medical conditions may require special tests or a dosage adjustment to ensure you can safely take this medication. Talk to your doctor before taking Xeloda if you have any of the following conditions; liver or kidney disease, a history of coronary artery disease, or if you are taking folic acid, leucovorin, blood thinners, or phenytoin.


It is not safe to take Xeloda if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Xeloda has been placed in category D by the FDA, which means that this drug could cause harm to an unborn child. It is very important to utilize reliable and effective birth control while you are taking this medication; if you become pregnant while you are taking Xeloda, notify your doctor right away. You should not use this medication if you are breastfeeding as it is unknown if it passes through breast milk and the effects it may have on a newborn.

Other Medications

It is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you are taking prior to starting a new one. If you take any of the following medications, talk to your doctor before taking Xeloda as they could cause a dangerous interaction to occur.

  • Type 2 diabetes medications such as glimepiride, glipizide, nateglinide, pioglitazone, repaglinide, rosiglitazo, or tolbutamide.
  • Heart or blood pressure medications such as amiodarone, carvedilol, losartan, or torsemide.
  • Sulfa drugs
  • Cancer medication such as paclitaxel or tamoxifen
  • Selegiline
  • Voriconazole
  • Bosentan
  • Fluoxetine
  • Rifampin
  • Montelukast
  • Fosphenytoin

Xeloda is cancer medication used to slow the spread of cancer cells through the body by interfering with their growth. Several medical conditions may require that you have special tests or dosage adjustments to ensure you can safely take this medication. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use Xeloda. If you experience a severe side effect or if a common one becomes bothersome, notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.