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Targeted Therapy

Brand names:


Often used for:

Melanoma, Lung cancer, Brain tumors

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What is Dabrafenib?

Dabrafenib is a type of medicine called a targeted therapy. This medicine is a BRAF kinase inhibitor. This medicine only works on cancer cells with a change or mutation in the BRAF gene. Dabrafenib acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing. Before this medicine is given, patients will be tested to see if they have the BRAF V600 gene mutation.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts, glucose, and electrolyte levels in the blood and to monitor liver and kidney function. Patients will have regular skin and eye exams.

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Given as a capsule by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Low blood counts
  • Headache
  • Fever/chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash, itching, dryness, redness
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Warts or growths on the skin
  • Hand-foot syndrome (tingling of the hands and feet, redness and flaking of the skin)
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Eye problems
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Swelling of pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Second skin cancers
  • Loss of fertility in males

Not all patients who take dabrafenib will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Dabrafenib can increase risk of skin cancer. Let a doctor know about any sores, bumps, warts, or other skin changes.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 2 weeks after completing therapy.
  • Dabrafenib may make birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control methods less effective. Sexually active patients should also use another form of birth control, like condoms, to prevent pregnancy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids.

Dabrafenib at home:

  • Take dabrafenib at the same times each day.
  • Take on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Swallow capsules whole. Do not open, crush, or chew.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature.
  • If you miss a dose and the next dose is not due for at least 6 hours, take the missed dose right away. If the next dose is due in less than 6 hours, do not take the missed dose.
  • Caregivers should wear gloves when handling this medicine.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.

Dabrafenib resources