1 What is Tafinlar?

Brand: Tafinlar

Generic: Dabrafenib

Tafinlar is a kinase inhibitor that is used alone to treat metastatic or unresectable skin cancer (melanoma) that has the BRAF V600E mutation. 

It can be used together with trametinib to treat metastatic or unresectable melanoma that has the BRAF V600E or V600K mutations.

You will have to undergo an FDA-approved test to check what kind of BRAF mutations you have. You can only buy dabrafenib with a doctor’s prescription, and it is usually sold as a capsule.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Tafinlar, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. This is to make sure that Tafinlar is the right medication for you.

You need to tell your doctor if you’ve had allergic reactions to this medicine or to others like it. You should also tell him/her if you have allergies to food, animals, preservatives, dyes, and other drugs.

The safety and efficacy of dabrafenib in pediatric patients have not been studied adequately. However, in geriatric patients, appropriate studies have found that dabrafenib is not limited by any age-related factors.

This medicine can cause serious fetal harm and has a pregnancy category of D. Pregnant women need to consider the risks and benefits of dabrafenib treatment carefully.

For nursing mothers, a decision must be made between discontinuing breastfeeding and discontinuing the medication since it is not clear if dabrafenib can be passed in breast milk and cause serious harm to the baby.

The following medications should not be used concomitantly with:

  • dabrafenib
  • amifampridine
  • atazanavir
  • boceprevir
  • bepridil
  • cisapride
  • cobicistat
  • fluconazole
  • dronedarone
  • ketoconazole
  • lopinavir
  • mesoridazine
  • nelfinavir
  • piperaquine
  • pimozide
  • posaconazole
  • ritonavir
  • sparfloxacin
  • saquinavir
  • telaprevir
  • thioridazine
  • terfenadine
  • tipranavir
  • ziprasidone

Your doctor may not use dabrafenib or change your other medications.

Dabrafenib should be used with caution in patients who have the following medical conditions:

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Tafinlar requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. Not doing so can lead to serious problems because anticancer medications tend to cause a lot of side effects.

Again, you should fully understand, by now, the pros and cons of using the medication. If you are still confused or have questions, talk to your doctor or read the accompanying medication guide.

You should take only the recommended dose at the prescribed time within the duration of therapy. You need to take dabrafenib 2 hours after or 1 hour before meals. Do not open, break, or crush the capsule as it is to be swallowed whole.

The dosage and timing will depend on your condition. Adults with melanoma should take 150 mg twice daily and 12 hours apart. The use and dosage of dabrafenib in children need to be determined by the pediatrician.

Take a missed dose if the next one is more than 6 hours away. Otherwise, you should skip it and just resume the usual dosing schedule.

You need to store dabrafenib in a sealed container at room temperature. Make sure that children can’t get their hands on your medicines and throw away any expired medication.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Tafinlar, there are some precautions you must take. Your physician needs to check your progress regularly so that he/she can make sure that the medication is working properly.

As mentioned earlier, dabrafenib can be harmful to your unborn child. It is important that before you started taking dabrafenib, you made sure you were not pregnant. Also, you should avoid getting pregnant during treatment.

If you suspect that you have become pregnant while on dabrafenib, inform your doctor right away. You need to use at least two birth control methods during treatment.

Dabrafenib can also cause fertility problems in men. Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. Watch out for signs of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other types of skin cancer.

You need to report to your doctor immediately if you have:

  • skin changes like a new wart
  • change in size or color of a mole
  • a reddish bump that does not heal

Your doctor will also schedule skin exams before, during, and six months after dabrafenib therapy. This medication can also put you at risk of developing eye problems. You should get your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist.

Also, inform your physician if you have vision changes or eye pain during treatment. You should tell your doctor, as well, if you have a severe fever during treatment.

Watch out for signs of hyperglycemia like:

  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision
  • dry skin
  • increased hunger, thirst, and/or urination
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • unexplained weight loss
  • troubled breathing
  • or vomiting

Do not take over-the-counter medications without consulting your doctor first.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Tafinlar. However, you may not experience all of them.

Some common side effects include:

  • abdominal pain
  • bloody urine
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth
  • dry skin
  • greatly decreased the frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • polyphagia
  • polydipsia
  • lump on the skin
  • nausea
  • skin pain
  • skin scaling of hands and feet
  • blisters
  • rashes
  • tingling of the hands and feet
  • troubled breathing
  • skin ulceration
  • unexplained weight loss
  • vomiting
  • unusual tiredness weakness

Less common ones include change in:

  • color vision
  • eye pain
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • photosensitivity
  • tearing

You should call your doctor immediately if you experience those symptoms.

Some side effects do not need treatment. This include:

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