Xeloda (Capecitabine) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Xeloda
Xeloda is a cancer medication used to treat specific types of cancers such as cancer of the colon and rectum, which has spread to other parts of the body. The generic name of the drug is Capecitabine. It works to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors. Xeloda is also used to treat colon cancer after surgery and to treat breast cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body and has not subsided in spite of taking other medicines. You need to exercise caution and consult your doctor before you buy Xeloda.
Side Effects for Xeloda
Some people may experience side effects after taking Xeloda such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness, tiredness, joint/back/muscle pain, sleeping problems, headaches, and dizziness. The intensity of some of the side effects can be curbed by introducing some changes in your lifestyle and diet such as eating several small meals. You should contact your doctor if any of these side effects worsen or persist for a long time. However, you should stop taking Xeloda and seek medical help if you experience severe side effects such as painful swelling/redness/sores in the throat or mouth or severe vomiting or nausea, stomach pain, and vision changes. In such a case, your doctor may lower the dose of the medication or stop Xeloda treatment altogether. A severe allergic reaction to Xeloda is very rare and may include: swelling of the face/throat/tongue, rashes, or breathing problems.
You should not take Xeloda if you have any allergies or are allergic to Xeloda or 5-fluorouracil. The drug should not be used if you have certain medical conditions such as a certain enzyme deficiency (such as dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency) or kidney disease. You should inform your doctor about your medical history of heart problems, liver problems, kidney problems, or blood disorders. If you are taking Xeloda, you should not take any immunizations or vaccinations without your doctor’s consent. Stay away from people who have recently taken an oral polio vaccine. Xeloda increases your sensitivity to the sun, so you should avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or sunlamps.
The drug is available in the form of a tablet. The medication is available in two strengths: Xeloda 150mg and Xeloda 500mg. The dosage is determined by your doctor, who may generally recommend a treatment cycle of two weeks. A rest period of one week is to be observed after two weeks of Xeloda treatment. You should take one Xeloda tablet with food or within 30 minutes after eating your meal.
Xeloda may interact with other drugs and cause certain side effects. It may react with blood thinners such as Warfarin, Phenytoin, or Fosphenytoin. Your doctor may be aware of the possible interactions of Xeloda with other medications, and so, you should tell your doctor about every medicine you take, which includes prescribed, non-prescribed, and herbal medicines.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.