This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
Brand Names: US
Brand Names: Canada
What is this drug used for?
- It is used to treat a type of skin cancer (melanoma).
- It is used to treat a type of growth called histiocytic neoplasm.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?
- If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with this drug, like certain drugs that are used for HIV, infections, or seizures. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- This drug may be used with vemurafenib. Talk with the doctor about the risks and side effects that may happen with vemurafenib.
- Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.
- This drug may add to the chance of getting some types of cancer. Talk with the doctor.
- You will need to have a skin exam before you start this drug and every 2 months while you take it. You will also need to do monthly skin checks as told by your doctor.
- Have your blood work checked and eye exams as you have been told by your doctor.
- You may get sunburned more easily. Sometimes this has been severe. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of 30 or more when you are outside. Wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
- High blood pressure has happened with this drug. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- This drug may cause heart failure. You will need to have your heart function checked while taking this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of heart problems like a cough or shortness of breath that is new or worse, swelling of the ankles or legs, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, weight gain of more than 5 pounds in 24 hours, dizziness, or passing out.
- A certain muscle problem (rhabdomyolysis) has happened with this drug. Rarely, this has led to organ problems and death. Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness.
- Rarely, severe eye problems (including retinal detachment) have happened with this drug. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you start to see halos or bright colors around lights, flashing lights, floaters, a curtain-like shadow coming across your eye, or have sudden eyesight loss.
- This drug may affect fertility. Fertility problems may lead to not being able to get pregnant or father a child. If you plan to get pregnant or father a child, talk with your doctor before taking this drug.
- This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- If you may become pregnant, you must use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask your doctor how long to use birth control. If you get pregnant, call your doctor right away.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, tiredness, decreased appetite, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes; confusion; muscle pain, cramps, or spasms; weakness; shakiness; change in balance; an abnormal heartbeat; seizures; loss of appetite; or severe upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Feeling dizzy, tired, or weak.
- Stomach pain.
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or severe eye irritation.
- Skin irritation.
- A skin lump or growth.
- Bumps, thick, dry, or wrinkled skin.
- Red, painful, or itchy skin that is hot to touch.
- Have your skin checked. Tell your doctor if you have any skin changes like a new wart, skin sore or reddish bump that bleeds or does not heal, or a change in the color or size of a mole.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up.
- Dry mouth.
- Pimples (acne).
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
How is this drug best taken?
Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food.
- If you throw up after taking a dose, do not repeat the dose. Take your next dose at your normal time.
- Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
- Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
General drug facts
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
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