An overdose of fluorouracil or capecitabine is rare, but when it occurs, the effects are serious and can be fatal
The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved Vistogard (uridine triacetate) for the emergency treatment of adults and children who receive an overdose of the cancer treatment fluorouracil or capecitabine, or who develop certain severe or life-threatening toxicities within four days of receiving these cancer treatments.
Fluorouracil (taken by infusion) and capecitabine (taken orally) are similar types of chemotherapy that have been used for decades to treat several types of cancer, including breast and gastrointestinal cancers. An overdose of fluorouracil or capecitabine is rare, but when it occurs, the effects are serious and can be fatal.
Vistogard, taken orally, blocks cell damage and cell death caused by fluorouracil chemotherapy. Patients should take Vistogard as soon as possible after the overdose (whether or not they have symptoms) or early-onset (within four days) of severe or life-threatening toxicity. The patient’s health care provider will determine when he or she should return to the prescribed chemotherapy after treatment with Vistogard.
The efficacy and safety of Vistogard were studied in 135 adult and paediatric cancer patients who were treated in two separate trials and had either received an overdose of flourouracil or capecitabine, or had early-onset, unusually severe or life-threatening toxicities within 96 hours after receiving flourouracil (not due to an overdose). The studies’ primary measure was survival at 30 days or until chemotherapy could resume if prior to 30 days. Of those who were treated with Vistogard for overdose, 97 per cent were still alive at 30 days. Of those treated with Vistogard for early-onset severe or life-threatening toxicity, 89 per cent were alive at 30 days. In both studies, 33 per cent of patients resumed chemotherapy in less than 30 days.
Vistogard is not recommended for treating non-emergency adverse reactions associated with flourouracil or capecitabine because Vistogard may lessen the efficacy of these drugs. The safety and efficacy of Vistogard initiated more than 96 hours following the end of treatment with flourouracil or capecitabine have not been established.
The most common side effects of treatment with Vistogard were diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. Vistogard is marketed by Wellstat Therapeutics Corporation based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.