"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved two new drugs, Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib), for patients with advanced (metastatic) or unresectable (cannot be removed by surgery) melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin "...
If your healthcare provider prescribes TAFINLAR for you in combination with trametinib, also read the Patient Information leaflet that comes with trametinib.
What is the most important information I should know about TAFINLAR?
TAFINLAR may cause serious side effects, including the risk of new cancers:
- TAFINLAR, when used alone or in combination with trametinib, may cause a type of skin cancer, called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC). New melanoma lesions have also occurred in people who take TAFINLAR.
- TAFINLAR, in combination with trametinib, may cause new cancers including basal cell carcinoma.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk for these cancers.
Check your skin and tell your healthcare provider right away about any skin changes including a:
Your healthcare provider should check your skin before you start taking TAFINLAR, and every two months while taking TAFINLAR, to look for any new skin cancers. Your healthcare provider may continue to check your skin for six months after you stop taking TAFINLAR.
Your healthcare provider should also check for cancers that may not occur on the skin. Tell your healthcare provider about any new symptoms that have developed while taking TAFINLAR in combination with trametinib.
See “What are the possible side effects of TAFINLAR?” for more information about side effects.
What is TAFINLAR?
TAFINLAR is a prescription medicine used alone or in combination with trametinib to treat people with a type of skin cancer called melanoma:
- that has spread to other parts of the body or cannot be removed by surgery, and
- that has a certain type of abnormal “BRAF” gene.
Your healthcare provider will perform a test to make sure that TAFINLAR is right for you.
TAFINLAR (alone or in combination with trametinib) is not used to treat people with a type of skin cancer called wild-type BRAF melanoma.
It is not known if TAFINLAR is safe and effective in children.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TAFINLAR?
Before you take TAFINLAR, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- have had bleeding problems or blood clots
- have heart problems
- have eye problems
- have liver or kidney problems
- have diabetes
- plan to have surgery, dental, or other medical procedures
- have a deficiency of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme
- have any other medical conditions
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. TAFINLAR can
harm your unborn baby.
- Females who are able to become pregnant should use birth control (contraception) during treatment with TAFINLAR and for 2 weeks after stopping treatment with TAFINLAR alone, or for 4 months when taking TAFINLAR in combination with trametinib.
- Birth control using hormones (such as birth control pills, injections, or patches) may not work as well while you are taking TAFINLAR alone or in combination with trametinib. You should use another effective method of birth control while taking TAFINLAR alone or in combination with trametinib.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control methods that may be right for you during this time.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant during treatment with TAFINLAR alone or in combination with trametinib.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if TAFINLAR passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take TAFINLAR or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TAFINLAR and certain other medicines can affect each other, causing side effects. TAFINLAR may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how TAFINLAR works. You can ask your pharmacist for a list of medicines that may interact with TAFINLAR.
Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How should I take TAFINLAR?
- Take TAFINLAR exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Do not change your dose or stop TAFINLAR unless your healthcare provider tells you.
- Take TAFINLAR 2 times a day, about 12 hours apart.
- If you take TAFINLAR in combination with trametinib, take the first dose of TAFINLAR in the morning, and take the second dose of TAFINLAR in the evening, about 12 hours apart. Take trametinib 1 time a day at the same time each day, either with the morning or the evening dose of TAFINLAR.
- Take TAFINLAR at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
- Do not open, crush, or break TAFINLAR capsules.
- If you miss a dose of TAFINLAR, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is within 6 hours of your next scheduled dose, just take your next dose at your regular time. Do not make up for the missed dose.
- If you are taking TAFINLAR in combination with trametinib and you miss a dose of trametinib, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is within 12 hours of your next scheduled dose of trametinib, just take your next dose at your regular time. Do not make up for the missed dose.
- If you take too much TAFINLAR, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
What are the possible side effects of TAFINLAR?
TAFINLAR may cause serious side effects, including:
- See “What is the most important information I should know about TAFINLAR?”
- bleeding problems. TAFINLAR, in combination with trametinib, can cause serious bleeding problems,especially in your brain or stomach, and can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider and get medical help right away if you have any unusual signs of bleeding, including:
- blood clots. TAFINLAR, in combination with
trametinib, can cause blood clots in your arms or legs, which can travel to
your lungs and can lead to death. Get medical help right away if you have the
- chest pain
- sudden shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- pain in your legs with or without swelling
- swelling in your arms or legs
- a cool or pale arm or leg
- heart problems, including heart failure. Your
healthcare provider should check your heart function before you start taking
TAFINLAR in combination with trametinib and during treatment. Call your
healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following signs and
symptoms of a heart problem:
- feeling like your heart is pounding or racing
- shortness of breath
- swelling of your ankles and feet
- feeling lightheaded
- eye problems. TAFINLAR alone, or in combination
with trametinib, can cause severe eye problems that can lead to blindness. Call
your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms of eye problems:
- blurred vision, loss of vision, or other vision changes
- see color dots
- halo (seeing blurred outline around objects)
- eye pain, swelling, or redness
- fever. TAFINLAR alone or in combination with trametinib can cause fever which may be serious. When taking TAFINLAR, in combination with trametinib, fever may happen more often or may be more severe. In some cases, chills or shaking chills, too much fluid loss (dehydration), low blood pressure, dizziness, or kidney problems may happen with the fever. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get a fever while taking TAFINLAR.
- skin reactions. Rash is a common side effect of
TAFINLAR alone, or when used in combination with trametinib. TAFINLAR alone, or
in combination with trametinib, can also cause other skin reactions. In some
cases these rashes and other skin reactions can be severe, and may need to be
treated in a hospital. Call your healthcare provider if you get any of the
- skin rash that bothers you or does not go away
- redness, swelling, peeling, or tenderness of hands or feet
- skin redness
- increased blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Some people
may develop high blood sugar or worsening diabetes during treatment with
TAFINLAR, alone or in combination with trametinib. If you are diabetic, your
healthcare provider should check your blood sugar levels closely during
treatment with TAFINLAR alone or in combination with trametinib. Your diabetes
medicine may need to be changed. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any
of the following symptoms of severe high blood sugar:
- increased thirst
- urinating more often than normal, or urinating an increased amount of urine
- TAFINLAR may cause healthy red blood cells to break
down too early in people with G6PD deficiency. This may lead to a type of
anemia called hemolytic anemia where the body does not have enough healthy red
blood cells. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following
signs or symptoms of anemia or breakdown of red blood cells:
- yellow skin (jaundice)
- weakness or dizziness
- shortness of breath
The most common side effects of TAFINLAR when used alone include:
- thickening of the outer layers of the skin
- joint aches
- hair loss
- redness, swelling, peeling, or tenderness of hands or feet
Common side effects of TAFINLAR when used in combination with trametinib include:
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach-area (abdominal) pain
- swelling of the face, arms, or legs
- night sweats
- decreased appetite
- muscle or joint aches
TAFINLAR, in combination with trametinib, may cause fertility problems in females. This could affect your ability to become pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a concern for you.
TAFINLAR may cause lower sperm counts in males. This could affect the ability to father a child. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a concern for you.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all of the possible side effects of TAFINLAR. For more information about side effects, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
You may also report side effects to GlaxoSmithKline at 1-888-825-5249.
How should I store TAFINLAR?
Store TAFINLAR at room temperature, between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
Keep TAFINLAR and all medicine out of the reach of children.
General information about TAFINLAR
Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use TAFINLAR for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give TAFINLAR to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them.
You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about TAFINLAR that is written for health professionals.
For more information, call GlaxoSmithKline at 1-888-825-5249 or go to www.TAFINLAR.com.
What are the ingredients in TAFINLAR?
Active ingredient: dabrafenib
Inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose
Capsule shells: hypromellose, red iron oxide (E172), titanium dioxide (E171).
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/22/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Tafinlar Information
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