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Precautions and Warnings With Vemurafenib

Specific Vemurafenib Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
 
  • Vemurafenib may cause a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. It may also cause new melanoma lesions. Older adults, people who have a history of skin cancer, and people with frequent sun exposure may be at a higher risk for squamous cell carcinoma while taking vemurafenib. Your healthcare provider will check your skin before beginning treatment, every two months during treatment, and for up to six months after treatment ends.

Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any skin changes, such as:

    • Sores or lumps that bleed or develop a crust or scab
    • Flat, red spots that are rough, dry, or scaly
    • A new wart
    • Change in the size, shape, or color of a mole.
 
  • There have been reports of severe allergic reactions, including serious skin rashes, in people taking vemurafenib. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
 
    • A rash or redness on your skin
    • Blisters or sores on your skin or in your mouth
    • Peeling of your skin
    • Fainting
    • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
    • Throat tightness or hoarseness
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
 
  • This medication may cause a change in the electrical activity of your heart known as QT prolongation, which could lead to life-threatening heart rhythm problems. Your healthcare provider will check the level of potassium, magnesium, and calcium in your blood, as well as your heart rhythm (with an electrocardiogram, or ECG) before you start treatment and routinely during treatment, especially with each dosage change.

While undergoing vemurafenib treatment, let your healthcare provider know if you have any of the following symptoms:

    • An irregular or fast heartbeat
    • Lightheadedness
    • Dizziness
    • Fainting.
 
  • Vemurafenib has been reported to cause abnormal liver function tests, which could be a sign of liver disease. Your healthcare provider will check your liver function, using blood tests, before you start treatment and at least monthly during treatment to monitor you for potential liver problems.
 
  • Vemurafenib can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can make you more likely to sunburn. You should avoid excessive sun exposure while taking this medicine. When you do go outside, wear protective clothing (such as a hat and a long-sleeve shirt) and sunscreen to protect your skin.
 
  • There have been reports of eye problems in people treated with vemurafenib. Contact your healthcare provider if you have blurry vision, eye pain or redness, or sensitivity to the light during treatment.
 
  • You will need routine blood tests and other monitoring while taking this medicine, to check for potentially serious vemurafenib side effects. Be sure to keep all of your healthcare provider and laboratory appointments.
 
 
  • Vemurafenib is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it may harm an unborn child. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy (see Zelboraf and Pregnancy).
 
  • It is not known whether vemurafenib passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Zelboraf and Breastfeeding).
 
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