||Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex
How It Works
Fluorouracil interferes with how cancer
cells grow and divide. It affects all areas of the cell cycle.
Fluorouracil is an intravenous (IV) medicine. It usually is given
according to a schedule, such as once a week or once every 3 to 4 weeks, but it
may also be given continuously over 4 to 5 days. It also is available as a
cream for the treatment of skin cancer.
Why It Is Used
Fluorouracil is used to treat many
different types of cancer, such as cancer of the colon, rectum, breast,
stomach, and pancreas. It may also be used to treat skin cancer.
How Well It Works
Fluorouracil is an effective cancer
treatment. But the type of cancer you have and how widespread it is in your
body affect how well this medicine slows or stops cancer growth.
Fluorouracil can cause many side effects.
How severe the side effects are depends on how often you are treated and how
large a dose of this medicine you receive. Common side effects include:
Mouth sores, a sore throat, and trouble
Diarrhea and stomach pain.
white blood cell counts. Red blood cell counts and platelet counts can also be
- Sun sensitivity and easy sunburning. Be sure to wear hats
and sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, and stay out of the sun
as much as possible.
- Watery eyes.
- Darkening of nail
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Fluorouracil should be given only
under the supervision of a
Fluorouracil is used
to treat many types of cancer. But how well the medicine works depends on the
type of cancer and how widespread it is.
Fluorouracil is often
given with another medicine called leucovorin. This can increase your chance of
severe side effects.
Fluorouracil can cause birth defects. Do not
use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a
child while you are taking it.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Current as of
||June 28, 2013