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5-Fluorouracil and Capecitabine: Assessment and Treatment of Uncommon Early-Onset Severe Toxicities Associated With Administration

Edith Brutcher
Deborah Christensen
Melissa Hennessey Smith
Judy B. Koutlas
Jean B. Sellers
Tahitia Timmons
Joanna Thompson
CJON 2018, 22(6), 627-634 DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.627-634

Background: Uncommon early-onset severe toxicities from 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and capecitabine can be fatal if early warning signs are not recognized and treated promptly.

Objectives: This article delineates the differences between expected side effects and uncommon early-onset severe toxicities from 5-FU and capecitabine. It also provides background for understanding the reasons patients may develop these toxicities and reviews the efficacy of standard supportive care against a novel therapy (uridine triacetate).

Methods: A panel of nurses convened to review the literature about toxicities associated with 5-FU and capecitabine administration and determined methods to educate nurses about toxicities and treatment.

Findings: Standard supportive care for 5-FU and capecitabine toxicities is associated with high fatality rates. Uridine triacetate treatment within 96 hours of administration is associated with survival.

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