About tegafur with uracil
|Type of medicine||An antimetabolite anti-cancer medicine|
|Used for||Colorectal cancer in adults|
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. It is also called bowel cancer or cancer of the large intestine. As the cancer cells multiply they form a tumour. If the tumour invades deeper into the wall of your colon or rectum, some cells may break off into your lymph channels or bloodstream. When this happens, the cancer metastasises (spreads) to other areas of your body.
Tegafur with uracil is a combination capsule which is used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. Tegafur is converted to a substance called fluorouracil in your body. This slows down the growth of the cancer cells. Uracil helps the fluorouracil work for longer in your body. You will also be given another medicine known as calcium folinate to take at the same time as these capsules.
Before taking tegafur with uracil
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tegafur with uracil, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or intend to have children in the future.
- If you are breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver, kidney or heart works.
- If your bone marrow has been damaged by another anti-cancer treatment.
- If you have problems due to bowel obstruction.
- If you have been told by a doctor that you lack certain enzymes which help remove medicines from your body.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take tegafur with uracil
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the capsules and a full list of possible side-effects from taking them.
- Tegafur with uracil capsules will be given to you by a specialist doctor who is experienced in treating your condition. Your dose will be calculated from your weight and height so it is important that you take the capsules exactly as your doctor has told you. As a guide, it is usual to take one or two capsules, three times daily. The dose you have been prescribed will be on the label of the pack of capsules to remind you.
- Swallow the capsules whole with a drink of water. Try to take them at the same times each day to avoid missing any - if you can, take your doses eight hours apart. You should take the capsules at least one hour before eating food, or one hour afterwards. You should also take the calcium folinate you have been prescribed at the same time.
- Each course of treatment will last you for 28 days and you will have a 7-day break between treatment courses.
- If you forget to take a dose, take the next dose when it is due and remember to let your doctor know about the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- You must try to keep your regular appointments with the doctor or hospital. This is so your progress can be checked. You will need to have regular blood tests during your treatment with this medicine.
- You must avoid getting pregnant or fathering a child while you are on tegafur with uracil and for three months afterwards. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner. Many anti-cancer treatments are associated with reduced fertility (particularly in men), so you may also want to ask your doctor for family planning advice if you intend to have children in the future.
- If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking these capsules.
- While you are taking this medicine and for several months after you stop treatment, do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking to your doctor first. This preparation lowers your body's resistance and there is a chance that you may get an infection from the vaccine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
Can tegafur with uracil cause problems?
This medicine can lower the number of red or white cells in your blood, increasing the chance of bleeding or bruising and getting an infection. You should take certain precautions to reduce the risk of infection - if possible, avoid people with infections and let your doctor know if you think you are getting a sore throat or if you have a high temperature.
Your doctor will have discussed with you the possibility of unwanted side-effects of treatment with these capsules. Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following:
|Common tegafur with uracil side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water so that you don't become dehydrated. If your diarrhoea is severe or if it continues, you must let your doctor know as soon as possible, as your dose may need adjusting for a short while|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain, indigestion||Eat simple meals (avoid rich or spicy foods). If this becomes troublesome, let your doctor know, as you can be prescribed an anti-sickness medicine|
|Feeling feverish and infections (due to changes in the number of your blood cells)||Let your doctor know about this as soon as possible|
|Feeling tired, weak, dizzy or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Headache, muscle pain||Ask your doctor to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Constipation, wind||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink several glasses of water each day|
|Dry or sore mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets. Also, let your doctor know about this, as there are preparations available which may be of help|
|Loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, feeling depressed, tingling feelings, watery eyes, coughing, feeling short of breath, hair loss, skin rash, loss of weight, sweating, loss of taste, swollen feet (fluid retention)||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store tegafur with uracil
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Uftoral® Hard Capsules; Merck Serono, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 05/09/2012||Document ID: 3794 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.