PURPOSE Oral capecitabine has been used as adjuvant therapy for colorectal cancer patients since the 1990s. Patient-initiated cessation or reduced use of capecitabine occurs widely for various reasons, yet the consequences of these actions are unclear. The present study sought to clarify treatment outcomes in such patients. METHODS The study included 173 patients who had been diagnosed with stage II or III colon cancer according to the pathologic report after radical surgery at Samsung Medical Center from May 2005 to June 2007 and who had received capecitabine as adjuvant therapy. The patients were divided into groups according to whether the dose was reduced (I, dose maintenance; II, dose reduction) or stopped (A, cycle completion; B, cycle cessation). Recurrence and disease-free survival rates between the two groups each were analyzed. RESULTS Of the 173 patients, 128 (74.6%) experienced complications, most frequently hand-foot syndrome (n = 114). Reduction (n = 35) or cessation (n = 18) of medication was most commonly due to complications. Concerning reduced dosage, both groups displayed no statistically significant differences in recurrence rate and 3-year disease-free survival rate. Concerning discontinued medication use, the cycle completion group showed an improved recurrence rate (P = 0.048) and 3-year disease-free survival rate (P = 0.028). CONCLUSION The results demonstrate that maintaining compliance with capecitabine as an adjuvant treatment for colon cancer to preventing complications positively affects patient prognosis.