Uridine Triacetate (Vistogard®)
Pronounced: URE-i-deen trye-AS-e-tate
Classification: pyrimidine analog
About: Uridine Triacetate (Vistogard®)
Uridine triacetate is a pyrimidine analog. Uridine stops cell damage and cell death that is caused by fluorouracil. It is used to treat a fluorouracil or capecitabine overdose or for patients who have early-onset, severe or life-threatening toxicity affecting the cardiac or central nervous system or unusually severe adverse reactions including gastrointestinal toxicity and/or neutropenia (low white blood cell count). It must be given within 96 hours of the end of fluorouracil or capecitabine administration. It should not be used for non-emergent treatment of side effects because it may lessen the effects of the drugs.
Uridine triacetate is not a cancer treatment, but a supportive care medicine. This means it is used to counteract the effects of cancer and its treatments.
How to Take Uridine Triacetate
The first dose of uridine triacetate should be administered within 96 hours of the end of flurouracil or capecitabine administration. Your provider will tell you how many doses to take. Directions for use:
- Uridine triacetate comes in a granule form, to be taken every 6 hours for 20 doses.
- The granules should be mixed with 3 to 4 ounces of a soft food (applesauce, pudding, yogurt).
- Take the dose within 30 minutes of mixing with food.
- Do not chew the granules.
- Drink at least 4 ounces of water with each dose.
- If a patient vomits within 2 hours of taking the dose another dose should be taken as soon as possible and the next dose given at the regularly scheduled time.
- If you miss a dose, take a dose as soon as possible, and take the next dose at your regularly scheduled time.
Storage and Handling
Store your medication in the original, labeled package at room temperature and in a dry location (unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider or pharmacist). This medication should not be stored in a pillbox. Keep containers out of reach of children and pets.
Where do I get this medication?
Uridine triacetate is available through select specialty pharmacies. Your oncology team will work with your prescription drug plan to identify an in-network specialty pharmacy for distribution of this medication and shipment directly to your home. You may receive this medication while in the hospital if your side effects warrant hospital care.
This medication may be covered under your prescription drug plan. Patient assistance may be available to qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage. Co-pay cards, which reduce the patient co-pay responsibility for eligible commercially (non-government sponsored) insured patients, may also be available. Your care team can help you find these resources, if they are available.
Possible Side Effects of Uridine Triacetate
Keep in mind that many of the side effects you will be experiencing while taking uridine triacetate may be side effects of the fluorouracil or capecitabine previously received, and not the uridine triacetate. Talk to your care team about the side effects you are experiencing and any recommendations. They can help you decide what will work best for you. These are the most common or important side effects:
Nausea and/or Vomiting
Talk to your doctor or nurse so they can prescribe medications to help you manage nausea and vomiting. In addition, dietary changes may help. Avoid things that may worsen the symptoms, such as heavy or greasy/fatty, spicy or acidic foods (lemons, tomatoes, oranges). Try antacids, (e.g. milk of magnesia, calcium tablets such as Tums), saltines, or ginger ale to lessen symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting can also be a side effect of fluorouracil and capecitabine. It is important to call your doctor or nurse if you are unable to keep fluids down for more than 12 hours or if you feel lightheaded or dizzy at any time.
Your oncology team can recommend medications to relieve diarrhea. Also, try eating low-fiber, bland foods, such as white rice and boiled or baked chicken. Avoid raw fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals and seeds. Soluble fiber is found in some foods and absorbs fluid, which can help relieve diarrhea. Foods high in soluble fiber include: applesauce, bananas (ripe), canned fruit, orange sections, boiled potatoes, white rice, products made with white flour, oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat, and farina. Drink 8-10 glasses on non-alcoholic, un-caffeinated fluid a day to prevent dehydration. Diarrhea can also be a side effect of fluorouracil. Notify your provider if you experience any diarrhea.
It is not known whether exposure of an unborn child to this medication could cause birth defects, so you should not become pregnant or father a child while on this medication. Effective birth control is necessary during treatment. Even if your menstrual cycle stops or you believe you are not producing sperm, you could still be fertile and conceive. You should consult with your healthcare team before breastfeeding while receiving this medication.