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Potentially fatal skin reactions linked to cancer drug Xeloda: Health Canada

A drug used to treat advanced breast and colorectal cancers has been linked to potentially fatal skin reactions in some patients, says the medication’s manufacturer in an advisory from Health Canada.

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. said Tuesday that severe skin reactions have been reported in patients taking the drug Xeloda.

Xeloda is used to treat advanced breast cancer or breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, as well as metastatic colorectal cancer and cancer of the colon following surgical removal.

Severe skin reactions such as Stevens–Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, in some cases with a fatal outcome, have been reported during treatment with Xeloda, the company said.

Signs and symptoms of severe skin reactions may include flu-like symptoms, fever, skin itching and a painful, red or purplish skin rash that spreads and blisters, causing the skin to shed. Other possible symptoms include mouth sores, eye burning, itching and discharge.

Patients who develop any of these symptoms should contact their health-care professional immediately, Hoffmann-La Roche said.