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Fluorouracil Solution for injection

What is this medicine?

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.

How should I use this medicine?

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.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

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

  • breathing problems

  • changes in vision

  • chest pain

  • mouth sores

  • 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

  • stomach pain

  • unusual bleeding

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

  • diarrhea

  • dry or itchy skin

  • hair loss

  • headache

  • loss of appetite

  • sensitivity of eyes to the light

  • stomach upset

  • unusually teary eyes

What may interact with this medicine?

  • allopurinol

  • cimetidine

  • dapsone

  • digoxin

  • hydroxyurea

  • leucovorin

  • levamisole

  • 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

  • methotrexate

  • metronidazole

  • pyrimethamine

  • some other chemotherapy drugs like busulfan, cisplatin, estramustine, vinblastine

  • trimethoprim

  • trimetrexate

  • vaccines

Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen

  • aspirin

  • ibuprofen

  • ketoprofen

  • naproxen

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • blood disorders

  • dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) deficiency

  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • 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

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 6/10/2009
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.