fluorouracil (injection)

Pronunciation: FLOOR oh URE a sil

Brand: Adrucil

What is the most important information I should know about fluorouracil?

Multum donot

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to fluorouracil, or if you have bone marrow depression, a serious infection, or if you are malnourished or are not receiving proper nutrition.

Before you receive fluorouracil, tell your doctor if you have cancer that has spread to your bone marrow, liver or kidney disease, if you have ever had radiation treatment of your pelvic area, or if you have ever received other cancer medications in the past.

Multum nopreg

Do not receive fluorouracil without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Multum nobrfeed

You should not breast-feed a baby while being treated with fluorouracil.

Fluorouracil can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Do not receive a live vaccine during your fluorouracil treatment. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding, mouth sores, or unusual weakness.

What is fluorouracil?

Fluorouracil is a cancer medication. Fluorouracil interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Fluorouracil is used to treat cancer of the colon, rectum, breast, stomach, or pancreas.

Fluorouracil treats only the symptoms of cancer but does not treat the cancer itself.

Fluorouracil may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving fluorouracil?

Multum donot

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to fluorouracil, or if you have:

  • bone marrow depression;
  • a serious infection; or
  • if you are malnourished or are not receiving proper nutrition.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive this medication:

  • cancer that has spread to your bone marrow;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease; or
  • if you have ever had radiation treatment of your pelvic area.

Tell your doctor about all other cancer medications you have received in the past, especially BiCNU, CeeNU, Cytoxan, DTIC-Dome, Gliadel, Leukeran, Myeleran, Neosar, Temodar, or Zanosar.

Multum nopreg

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not receive fluorouracil without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Multum nobrfeed

It is not known whether fluorouracil passes into breast milk. However, you should not breast-feed a baby while being treated with fluorouracil.

How is fluorouracil given?

Fluorouracil is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Multum emt

Your first dose of fluorouracil will be given in a hospital setting where you can be closely watched in case the medication causes serious side effects.

Fluorouracil injections are usually given daily for 3 or 4 days in a row, and then every other day for another 3 or 4 days. This treatment cycle may be repeated once a month. You may also receive a weekly dose. Follow your doctor's instructions.

How often you need fluorouracil injections will depend on many factors, including side effects and how your body responds to the medication. Try not to miss any appointments for your fluorouracil injections.

Your white blood cell (WBC) counts may need to be checked with a blood test before you receive each fluorouracil dose. This will help your doctor determine whether you can safely receive the injection.

Multum emt

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.

Fluorouracil can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), mouth sores, or unusual weakness.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your fluorouracil injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Multum emt

Since fluorouracil is given by a healthcare professional, an overdose is not likely to occur.

Overdose symptoms may include more severe forms of the side effects that fluorouracil can cause, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood, or any signs of infection (such as fever, chills, sore throat, and mouth sores).

What should I avoid while receiving fluorouracil?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Multum donot

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with fluorouracil, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), oral polio, chickenpox (varicella), BCG (Bacillus Calmette and Guérin), and nasal flu vaccine.

What are the possible side effects of fluorouracil?

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Multum donot

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or throat, or on your lips;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or any bleeding that will not stop);
  • weakness or fainting;
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • watery diarrhea, ongoing or severe vomiting;
  • hand-foot syndrome (tingling, pain, redness, swelling, or tenderness in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet);
  • numbness or tingling anywhere in your body, loss of muscle control; or
  • chest pain, sudden weakness on one side of the body, confusion, or problems with vision, speech, or balance.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • temporary hair loss;
  • mild to moderate nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • mild, itchy skin rash;
  • eye dryness, watering, or increased sensitivity to light; or
  • temporary loss of your fingernails or toenails.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect fluorouracil?

Tell your doctor about all other cancer medications you are receiving, especially leucovorin (Wellcovorin).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with fluorouracil. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about fluorouracil.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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