To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.


Table of Contents



Generic NameBrand Name
fluorouracilCarac, 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.

Side Effects

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:

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 medical oncologist.

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) to help you understand this medication.

Credits for Fluorouracil

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised June 28, 2013

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.