Dabrafenib (brand name-Tafinlar) is an FDA-approved treatment used alone or in combination with trametinib (Mekinist) for melanoma (a type of skin cancer), thyroid, and non-small cell lung cancer that cannot be treated with surgery or that has spread to other parts of the body.
Dabrafenib is in a class of medications called kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps stop the spread of cancer cells.
Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about dabrafenib mesylate.
How should I take dabrafenib mesylate (Tafinlar)?
Dabrafenib comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Take dabrafenib about 12 hours apart at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take dabrafenib exactly as directed.
Do not take more or less of it or more often than your doctor prescribes. Do not stop taking dabrafenib without talking to your doctor. Swallow the capsules whole; do not open, break, or crush them.
Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment. Do not stop taking dabrafenib mesylate without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of Dabrafenib Mesylate or Tafinlar?
Common side effects
- joint pain
- muscle pain, or back pain
- loss of appetite
- cough, runny nose, or sore throat
- hair loss
- eye pain
- increased thirst
- red or swollen eyelids
- rash, red skin, or pimples
- change in size or color of a mole
- swelling, pain, redness, or peeling of skin on the palms and soles of the feet
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- yellowing of the skin and eyes
- changes in the skin (new wart, skin sore, or red bump that bleeds or does not heal)
Serious side effects
- dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness
- decreased urination
- frequent urination
- sensitivity to light
- blurred vision or vision changes, including seeing halos (blurred outline around objects) or colored dots
- ongoing pain that begins in the stomach area but may spread to the back
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- coughing up or vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
Dabrafenib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What are the special precautions should I follow?
Before taking dabrafenib mesylate or Tafinlar
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any disease or symptom in the past or now
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to father a child. If you or your partner becomes pregnant while taking dabrafenib, call your doctor. Dabrafenib may harm the fetus.
While you are on dabrafenib mesylate or Tafinlar
- Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You should not breastfeed while taking dabrafenib and for 2 weeks after your final dose.
- If you have dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist you are taking dabrafenib.
I forgot a dose. What should I do?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is less than 6 hours until your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
In case of an emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
How should I safely store and dispose of dabrafenib mesylate?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
You should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Last Revised -06/09/2023, FDA updated- 01/15/2020, SG
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