Generic Name: vemurafenib (VEM ue RAF e nib)
Brand Name: Zelboraf
What is vemurafenib?
Vemurafenib is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Vemurafenib is used to treat metastatic melanoma (skin cancer).
Vemurafenib is used only if your tumor has a specific genetic marker, for which your doctor will test.
Vemurafenib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about vemurafenib?
Vemurafenib is used to treat melanoma, but this medicine can increase your risk of developing other types of skin cancer. Report any new or worsening skin lesions to your doctor right away.
Many drugs can interact with vemurafenib. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking vemurafenib?
You should not use vemurafenib if you are allergic to it.
To make sure vemurafenib is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease;
a heart rhythm disorder;
personal or family history of long QT syndrome;
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of calcium, potassium, or magnesium in your blood); or
if you take any other medicines, including antibiotics, antidepressants, heart rhythm medication, or medicine to treat mental illness.
Tell your doctor about all radiation treatments you are scheduled to receive, or have received in the past.
Using vemurafenib may increase your risk of developing other types of skin cancer. Report any new or worsening skin lesions to your doctor right away.
Vemurafenib can harm an unborn baby. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine, whether you are a man or a woman. Vemurafenib use by either parent may cause birth defects. Keep using birth control for at least 2 months after your last dose.
Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using vemurafenib.
It is not known whether vemurafenib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using vemurafenib.
How should I take vemurafenib?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take this medicine with a full glass of water. You may take vemurafenib with or without food.
Take the medicine every 12 hours, at the same time each day.
Do not crush, chew, or break a vemurafenib tablet. Swallow it whole.
While using vemurafenib, you may need frequent blood tests to check your liver or kidney function.
To make sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your skin condition will need to be checked often. Your heart function may also need to be tested with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) on a regular basis. You may also need eye exams. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
Your doctor may want to check your skin for several months after you stop using vemurafenib. Visit your doctor regularly.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 4 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Do not take an extra dose if you vomit shortly after taking vemurafenib. Wait until your next scheduled dose to take the medicine again.
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 vemurafenib?
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.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Vemurafenib can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Vemurafenib side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, red skin rash; feeling light-headed; fast heart rate; trouble swallowing, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using vemurafenib and call your doctor at once if you have:
skin changes--a new wart or lesion, a skin sore or red bump that bleeds or does not heal, or any change in the size or color of a mole;
headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
eye pain or swelling, severe eye redness, small white or yellow patches on the surface of your eye;
kidney problems--little or no urination, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath;
signs of inflammation in your body--swollen glands, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, new or worsening cough, trouble breathing;
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects may include:
mild rash or itching;
skin growths; or
blurred vision, increased sensitivity of your eyes to light.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect vemurafenib?
Many drugs can interact with vemurafenib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Zelboraf (vemurafenib)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about vemurafenib.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.11.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: July 05, 2016