If you have certain kinds of cancer, your doctor might suggest Xeloda as a treatment option. It’s a prescription drug used to treat the following types of cancer in adults:

  • colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body
  • breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. For this indication, Xeloda may be taken alone or with docetaxel (Taxotere), which is another chemotherapy drug.

Xeloda is also used to prevent the following type of cancer from returning after treatment:

  • Dukes’ C colorectal cancer, which is cancer that has spread through the colon lining to your lymph nodes

Xeloda comes as a tablet you swallow and contains the active ingredient capecitabine. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Capecitabine belongs to a group of chemotherapy drugs called nucleoside metabolic inhibitors.

This article describes the dosages of Xeloda, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Xeloda, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Xeloda’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when using Xeloda, always follow the dosing schedule your doctor gives you.

This section covers standard dosage and administration information for Xeloda. Before prescribing this drug, your doctor will review dosage instructions specific to your condition.

What is Xeloda’s form?

Xeloda comes as a tablet that you swallow.

What strengths does Xeloda come in?

Xeloda tablets come in two strengths:

  • 150 milligrams (mg)
  • 500 mg

What are the usual dosages of Xeloda?

Your doctor will calculate your Xeloda dosage based on your body surface area in square meters (m2). They’ll use your weight in kilograms (kg) and your height in centimeters (cm) to calculate this number.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

The recommended Xeloda starting dose for all indications is 1,250 mg/m2. You’ll take this dose twice daily, in the morning and evening, for 2 weeks. Then you’ll stop for 1 week. This is one cycle. You’ll repeat this cycle until your doctor recommends you stop.

Your doctor may prescribe a combination of 150-mg tablets and 500-mg tablets to reach your exact dose.

Dosing for metastatic breast cancer

The following is the recommended dosage if you’re taking Xeloda alone for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of your body:

  • 1,250 mg/m2 twice daily for 2 weeks. Then you’ll stop taking Xeloda for 1 week. Repeat this cycle for as long as your doctor recommends.

The following is the recommended dosage of Xeloda if you’re taking it along with docetaxel (Taxotere) for breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body:

  • 1,250 mg/m2 twice daily for 2 weeks. Then you’ll stop taking Xeloda for 1 week. Repeat this cycle for as long as your doctor recommends.
  • In addition to Xeloda, you’ll receive a single treatment of 75 mg/m2 of docetaxel every 3 weeks. This is given as a 1-hour intravenous (IV) infusion (an injection into your vein given over time) by a healthcare professional.

Dosing for colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body

The recommended Xeloda dosage for colorectal cancer is 1,250 mg/m2 twice daily for 2 weeks. Then you’ll stop taking Xeloda for 1 week. Repeat this cycle for as long as your doctor recommends.

Dosing for previously treated Dukes’ C colon cancer

The recommended Xeloda dosage to prevent Dukes’ C colon cancer from returning after treatment is 1,250 mg/m2 twice daily for 2 weeks. Then you’ll stop taking Xeloda for 1 week. Repeat this cycle for a total of 8 cycles (about 6 months) or until your doctor advises you to stop treatment.

Is Xeloda used long term?

Your doctor will decide how long you’ll take Xeloda based on several factors, including:

  • the type of cancer you’re using Xeloda to treat
  • side effects you may have from this drug

If you’re taking Xeloda to prevent Dukes’ C colon cancer from returning, your doctor may have you stop treatment after 6 months.

Always take Xeloda exactly as your doctor prescribes it, and don’t stop treatment without talking with them.

Dosage adjustments

Your doctor may adjust your Xeloda dosage if you have certain side effects.

Depending on how severe and how frequent your side effects are, your doctor may:

  • decrease your Xeloda dose
  • temporarily pause your treatment
  • have you stop taking Xeloda

Your doctor may also reduce your Xeloda dosage based on how well your kidneys work.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Xeloda’s dosage.

Will my doctor use a dose calculator to determine my dosage?

Because Xeloda dosage is based on your body surface area (BSA), your doctor will use a formula involving your height and weight to determine your BSA. They’ll then use this number along with a dosing guide to determine your dosage. This will also determine how many Xeloda tablets you should take per dose.

Your doctor may also use certain calculations to determine how well your kidneys work. They may use this number to decide if you need a Xeloda dose reduction.

If I have radiation therapy while taking Xeloda, will I need a dose reduction?

Possibly. The manufacturer of Xeloda doesn’t specify a recommended dosage if you have radiation therapy while taking this drug. But in some studies, doctors have given people who were using both treatments together a lower dose of Xeloda than the recommended 1,250 mg/m2.

If you’re taking Xeloda along with radiation therapy, your doctor will decide the Xeloda dosage that’s right for you.

If you miss a dose of Xeloda, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They’ll let you know if you should skip the missed dose or take it. But you should avoid taking two doses together to make up for a missed dose.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Xeloda on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

The dosage of Xeloda you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Xeloda to treat
  • your weight
  • your height
  • how well your kidneys are working
  • side effects you may have from this medication
  • other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” under “What is Xeloda’s dosage?”)

The recommended way to take Xeloda is twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Take your dose with water within 30 minutes after you eat. Xeloda tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew Xeloda tablets.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. And check out the “Ask a Pharmacist’ section at the end of this article for another possible alternative.

For information on Xeloda expiration, storage, and disposal, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Xeloda in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

Do not take more Xeloda than your doctor prescribes as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Xeloda

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Xeloda. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Xeloda for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Xeloda without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Xeloda exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:

  • Would a lower dosage reduce my risk of side effects?
  • Would my Xeloda dosage change if I stopped taking warfarin?
  • Can I stop taking this drug for longer than 1 week between treatment cycles?

If you have breast cancer, sign up for Healthline’s breast cancer newsletter for news about treatments and first-person stories. Also consider joining Bezzy BC, an online breast cancer community, to connect with others living with the same condition.

Q:

Can my pharmacist cut my Xeloda tablets in half if I can’t swallow the whole pill?

Anonymous

A:

Your pharmacist may be able to cut your Xeloda tablets in half if their pharmacy has the safety equipment necessary to handle chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy medications, such as Xeloda, are considered cytotoxic. This means that they can harm cells. Because of this, pharmacists and doctors must wear special protective equipment, including certain kinds of gloves and gowns, if they’re handling cytotoxic drugs.

Many pharmacies have this type of equipment, but some may not. Your pharmacist will let you know if they can cut your Xeloda tablets for you.

You should not cut or crush your Xeloda tablets at home. Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you need to have your tablets cut.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.