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Mekinist

Generic Name: trametinib (tra ME ti nib)
Brand Names: Mekinist

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Dec 3, 2019.

What is Mekinist?

Mekinist (trametinib) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Mekinist is used alone or in combination with another medicine called dabrafenib (Tafinlar) to treat certain types of cancer in people who have a "BRAF" gene mutation.

Mekinist is for use in treating:

  • melanoma (skin cancer) that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body, or to prevent melanoma from coming back after surgery;

  • non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body; or

  • advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer that has spread and for which there are no other treatment options.

Important Information

Using Mekinist with dabrafenib may increase your risk of developing a certain type of skin cancer. Ask your doctor about your specific risk. Tell your doctor if you notice any new skin symptoms.

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Mekinist if you are allergic to trametinib.

To make sure Mekinist is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure;

  • diabetes;

  • lung disease;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;

  • eye problems (especially a problem with your retina); or

  • bleeding problems, or a blood clot.

Using Mekinist with dabrafenib may increase your risk of developing a certain type of skin cancer. Ask your doctor about your specific risk. Tell your doctor if you notice any new skin symptoms such as redness, warts, sores that will not heal, or a mole that has changed in size or color.

Trametinib can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects if the mother or the father is using this medicine.

  • If you are a woman, do not use Mekinist if you are pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 4 months after your last dose.

  • If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant, even if you have had a vasectomy. Keep using birth control for at least 4 months after your last dose.

  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using Mekinist.

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because trametinib can harm an unborn baby.

You should not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 4 months after your last dose.

How should I take Mekinist?

Mekinist is used only if your cancer has a specific genetic marker (an abnormal "BRAF" gene). Your doctor will test you for this gene.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take Mekinist on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

Your doctor will need to check your skin every 2 months while you are using Mekinist, and for up to 6 months after your last dose.

Your blood pressure and heart function will need to be checked often. You may also need regular vision examinations.

Store in the refrigerator and protect from light. Keep the tablets in their original container, along with the packet or canister of moisture-absorbing preservative. Do not store Mekinist tablets in a pill box.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if your next dose is due in less than 12 hours. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Mekinist?

This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Mekinist side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Mekinist: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some side effects are more likely to occur if you take Mekinist and dabrafenib together. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • cough, feeling short of breath;

  • fever, chills, feeling light-headed;

  • little or no urination;

  • severe headache, blurred vision, and dizziness;

  • nausea, stomach pain, severe diarrhea;

  • increased thirst or urination;

  • eye pain or swelling, vision changes, seeing halos around lights, seeing color "dots" in your vision;

  • severe skin rash, skin pain or swelling, redness and peeling skin on your hands or feet;

  • signs of bleeding - weakness, dizziness, headache, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • signs of a blood clot - chest pain, sudden cough or trouble breathing, pain or swelling in an arm or leg, pale skin, cold feeling in an arm or leg; or

  • signs of a heart problem - shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), pounding heartbeats, swelling in your feet or ankles.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common Mekinist side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite;

  • fever, chills, tiredness;

  • headache;

  • bleeding;

  • increased blood pressure;

  • muscle or joint pain;

  • cough, shortness of breath;

  • swelling in your arms, face, and legs; or

  • rash, dry skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Mekinist?

Other drugs may interact trametinib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Mekinist only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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