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Dabrafenib (Generic Name)

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

Dabrafenib is a drug used to treat patients with malignant melanoma. This drug is given by mouth (orally).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Thickening of the skin
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Development of skin lesions that may or may not be cancer
  • This drug may cause an increased risk of developing a second cancer.
  • Hand-foot syndrome
  • May involve redness and/or blistering on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet
  • Increase in serum glucose

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Hair loss
  • You may notice your hair getting thin.  Some patients will lose their hair.  Your hair often grows back when treatment is done.
  • Changes in vision
  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight.
  • Decrease in heart function
  • This drug can weaken the heart and lower heart function.
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots in the legs and/or lungs
  • A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm and/or cause pain.  A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing and/or chest pain.
  • Increase in liver function tests.

Treating Side Effects

  • Your blood will be checked for electrolyte, glucose and liver function changes as needed.
  • Your heart function will be checked as needed. 
  • Your vision will be checked as needed.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may.  Keep the area around the rash clean and dry.  Ask your doctor for medicine if the rash bothers you. 

Important Information

  • Take this drug by mouth without food, at least one hour before eating, or two hours after eating. 
  • Take this drug with water and swallow the tablet whole.  Do not break, crush or chew the tablets. 
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose of dabrafenib, take it as soon as you remember.  If you remember when it is close to your next dose (within 12 hours), just take your next dose at the normal time.  Do not take an extra dose and do not take more than one dose at a time.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are known interactions with dabrafenib and grapefruit. Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this drug.
  • This drug may also interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's advice. 
  • Drugs that treat heartburn and stomach upset such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Protonix®, Nexium®, Prilosec®, Pepcid®, Tagamet® and Zantac® may lower the effect of your cancer treatment if taken with dabrafenib.  Call your doctor to find out what drug you may take with dabrafenib to help with heartburn and/or stomach upset.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • New skin lesions
  • Pain or redness of your hands and feet.
  • Changes in vision
  • Bleeding
  • Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath
  • Pain and/or redness or swelling of the leg

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms occur:

  • Rash

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used by you and your partner during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after your treatment is done. 
  • Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
  • Breast feeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment because the drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.


Revised August 2014