MONDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The first generic version of the oral chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat cancers of the colon/rectum or breast, the agency said Monday in a news release.

This year, an estimated 142,820 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon/rectum, and 50,830 are predicted to die from the disease, the FDA said, citing the U.S. National Cancer Institute. An estimated 232,340 women will be diagnosed with cancer of the breast this year, and some 39,620 will die from it.

The most common side effects of the drug are diarrhea, vomiting; pain, redness, swelling or sores in the mouth; fever and infection, the FDA said.

The agency stressed that approved generics have the same high quality and strength as their brand-name counterparts.

License to produce the generic drug was given to Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals. The brand name drug is produced by the Swiss pharma firm Roche.

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