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Vemurafenib (By mouth)

Vemurafenib (vem-ue-RAF-e-nib)

Treats melanoma.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to vemurafenib, or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed. Doses should be taken 12 hours apart.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • If you vomit after you take the medicine, do not take an extra dose. Wait and take your next dose at the normal time.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: If it is more than 4 hours before your next dose, take the tablet as soon as you can. If it is less than 4 hours until your next regular dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how vemurafenib works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Dextromethorphan, ipilimumab, midazolam, nefazodone
    • Medicine to treat HIV/AIDS (such as atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
    • Medicine to treat an infection (such as clarithromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, telithromycin, voriconazole)
    • Medicine to treat tuberculosis (such as rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine)
    • Medicine to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin)
    • Blood thinner (such as warfarin)

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant. Use effective birth control during treatment and for 2 months after your treatment ends.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, heart failure, or heart rhythm problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • New melanoma or squamous cell cancer
    • Serious skin reactions
    • QT prolongation (heart rhythm problem)
    • Liver problems
  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments. An ECG (electrocardiogram) may be needed to check your heart.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Eye pain, vision changes
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat, fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Severe sunburn
  • Skin changes, including moles or new sores

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 3/28/2016
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