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Targeted Therapy

Brand names:


Often used for:


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What is Vemurafenib?

Vemurafenib 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. Vemurafenib acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing. Before being given this medicine, patients will be tested to see if they have the BRAF V600 gene mutation.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and electrolyte levels in the blood and monitor liver and kidney function. Patients will have regular skin exams and tests to watch for changes in heart function.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Rash, itching, dry skin, redness
  • Warts
  • Thickening of skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Changes in taste
  • Liver problems
  • Second skin cancers
  • Swelling or redness of the eye

Not all patients who take vemurafenib 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.

  • Patients should protect their skin from the sun while taking this medicine.
  • Wearing sunglasses may help with sensitivity to light.
  • While taking this medicine, do not eat grapefruit or Seville (bitter) oranges or drink juice or beverages containing grapefruit or Seville orange.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 2 weeks after completion of therapy.
  • 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.

Vemurafenib at home:

  • Take vemurafenib at the same time each day, with or without food. Take with a full glass of water.
  • Swallow tablets whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew tablets.
  • If you vomit after taking vemurafenib, do not take another dose.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature.
  • If you miss a dose and the next dose is not due for at least 4 hours, take the missed dose right away. If the next dose is due in less than 4 hours, do not take the missed dose.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.