PRAC starts review on screening patients before treatment with fluorouracil, capecitabine, tegafur and flucytosine to decrease the risk of side effects

EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has started a review of medicines containing fluorouracil (also known as 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU) and the related medicines capecitabine, tegafur and flucytosine, which can be converted to fluorouracil in the body.

Fluorouracil (given by injection), capecitabine and tegafur are cancer medicines, whereas topical (applied to the skin) fluorouracil is used for various skin conditions; flucytosine is a medicine used in severe fungal infections.

The review will examine existing screening methods and their value in identifying patients with low levels or complete lack of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), an enzyme necessary to break down fluorouracil, as these patients are at an increased risk of severe side effects.

Posted on the EMA website on 15 March 2019