What is Dabrafenib?
Dabrafenib is an anti-cancer medication prescribed to treat melanoma (skin cancer) that has already spread to other parts of the body and cannot be treated by other methods (unresectable melanoma) This medication is advised to use under medical supervision only.
Type of drug
Dabrafenib belongs to class of medication called kinase inhibitors.
Dabrafenib itself is an active ingredient in the drug Tafinlar.
Use in brief
Dabrafenib is prescribed to use in the treatment of skin cancer. Also used as a combination medication along with other medicine to treat some types of lung cancers and thyroid cancer. Tafinlar in combination with Trametinib is indicated for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma
- You can only have dabrafenib if your cancer has a change (mutation) in the BRAF gene. Your doctor will check for this mutation before you can start this drug. Dabrafenib is prescribed in the treatment of below mentioned health conditions.
- Melanoma (Skin cancer) melanoma skin cancer that can’t be removed with surgery (unresectable) or has spread to another area of the body (metastatic or advanced melanoma)
- stage 3 melanoma skin cancer that has been removed with surgery (to reduce the risk of cancer coming back)
- Advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
- Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (Trametinib) have been approved in combination to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer caused by an abnormal BRAF.
- Dabrafenib is not indicated in patients with wild type BRAF melanoma.
How does Dabrafenib work?
Dabrafenib medicine belongs to anti-cancer type of drugs and works by targeting certain proteins made by the changed BRAF gene that helps cancer cells to grow and helps to slow down or stop the spread of cancer causing cells.
How to Take Dabrafenib?
Form of medicine – Dabrafenib medicine is available in the form of capsules.
Follow the instructions as mentioned in the prescription. Generally, advised to use at least one hour before food or two hours after food. Never crush or chew the tablet but swallow the whole medicine along with some water or liquids. In general this medicine is advised to use with food.
Common Dosage for Dabrafenib:
The recommended dosage regimen of TAFINLAR is:
- 150mg orally taken twice daily as a single agent approximately 12hours apart.
- 150mg orally taken twice daily in combination with Trametinib 2mg (once daily) approximately 12hours apart.
However, dosage depends on the severity of the health condition been treated and is decided by your doctor. Follow the instruction by your doctor. Never miss a dose or take excess dose. Consult your doctor immediately if any excess dosage happens by mistake. Do not open crush or break the capsule.
When to Avoid Dabrafenib?
No clinical data is available regarding the contraindications of this medicine. Follow the instructions by your doctor and inform your current health condition with him for proper diagnosis.
Side-effects of Dabrafenib
Dabrafenib may possibly show some side effects in some patients. It is advised to consult your doctor if any of such side effects are noticed and if they are prolonged. Below mentioned are some possible side effects by Dabrafenib. It may show side effects that are not mentioned here in this list.
- Joint pains
- Muscle pains
- Back Pain
- Loss of Appetite
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Hair Loss
Effects on organs:
Eye Disorders: Vision blurred, transient blindness.
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Stomatitis, pancreatitis.
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions: Asthenia.
Infections and Infestations: Cellulitis, folliculitis, paronychia, rash pustular.
Neoplasms: Benign, Malignant, and Unspecified (including cysts and polyps): Skin papilloma.
Skin and Subcutaneous tissue Disorders: Palmar Plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome, hyperkeratosis hyperhydrosis.
Deep Venous Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism.
Immune System Disorders:
Hypersensitivity manifesting as bullous rash.
Renal and Urinary Disorders:
This medicine may possibly show adverse effects on liver if the patient is suffering from any health issues related to liver. It is advised to use with extreme precautions and medical supervision in case of severe health disorders or impairment related to these organs to consult the doctor and share detailed information about the current health condition so that the doctor can alter the dosage depending on the patient’s health condition.
Reported Allergic Reactions
Rarely allergic symptoms like rashes may be noticed in some patients. But generally, no major allergic reactions are noticed in case of Dabrafenib. But it is not recommended in patients who have known allergic reactions towards Dabrafenib. Consult your doctor immediately if any allergic reactions are noticed.
Effect on menstrual cycle
This medicine may affect the menstrual cycle. You may consult your gynaecologist for further information.
Drug Interactions to Be Careful About
Dabrafenib has the possibility of showing drug interaction if used along with the below-mentioned list of medicines. It is advised to share the medication details that you might be using any with your doctor before he prescribes this medicine to you.
- Levomethadyl acetate
Consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice and Seville oranges is not advised as this may effect in the medicine levels in the blood and cause severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mouth sores, diarrhea, hair loss, pain, numbness, weakness. Follow the guidelines mentioned in the prescription as a safety precaution. It is not advised to use along with food as the food would slowdown absorption of the medicine.
Interactions with laboratory procedures :
Incidence of Laboratory Abnormalities increased in patients treated with Tafinlar. These include Hyperglycemia, Hypophosphatemia, Increased alkaline phosphatase, Hyponatremia. It is always good to share details about your current medication before attending any lab tests so that your doctor and lab technician is aware of it.
Is Dabrafenib Addictive?
No drug addiction is noticed in case of Dabrafenib.
Can I have Dabrafenib with alcohol?
It is advised to keep the alcohol consumption at minimal level or stop completely while using this medicine to avoid complications.
Can I have Dabrafenib When Pregnant?
Not advised to use in general in pregnant women. If you are using this medicine already, then it is advised to postpone the pregnancy until you stop the course and one more month after stopping the course. This medicine possibly be absorbed by skin and lungs and can harm the fetus, hence handling this drug is not advised in case of pregnancy is not advised.
Can I have Dabrafenib when feeding a baby?
Breastfeeding is not advised while under this medication. Your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding while using this medication and at least for two months more after the usage of final dosage.
Can I drive after taking Dabrafenib?
Dabrafenib may cause tiredness as a side effect which may cause an inability to participate in some activities which require alertness. In such conditions, it is not advised to do activities such as driving.
Effect of overdose Dabrafenib
Serious adverse effects may be possible if overdosage happens in large quantities. Consult your doctor immediately in such situations.
Effect of using expired Dabrafenib?
It is advised not to use any medicine that is expired to avoid any adverse effects. Consult your doctor immediately if any adverse effects are noticed by taking any expired medicine.
Effect of missing a dose of Dabrafenib
No major adverse effects are noticed if only one dosage is missed. But if you are missing the dosages regularly, it is advised to keep a reminder so that you don’t miss the regular dosage.
It is advised to store the medication away from direct sunlight and to keep at room temperature. Keep away from the reach of the children and pets.
Alternatives: The FDA has approved several new, effective treatments for patients who have advanced melanoma.
- Other types of targeted therapy, include: Vemurafenib (Zelboraf)
- Trametinib (Mekinist)
- Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) + Trametinib (Mekinist) in combination
- Vemurafenib (Zelboraf) + Cobimetinib (Cotellic) in combination.
If for some reason an experienced doctor is not available around you, then you can contact us here.
Dr. Divya has been pursuing Dentistry for about 5 years now. Endodontics and Orthodontics are her areas of interest and she holds a BDS degree from Govt. Dental College, Vijayawada, AP. Besides pursuing her career as a Dentist, she is passionate about Technical writing and is spending her free time in writing medical articles to bring awareness and share medical knowledge to the public.