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What Is Vemurafenib?

A healthcare provider may prescribe vemurafenib (Zelboraf™) to help in the treatment of a certain type of skin cancer. But what is vemurafenib and how does it work?
 
Vemurafenib is approved to treat melanoma that has spread to other areas of the body or that cannot be treated with surgery. It is also only used in people who have an abnormal gene called the "BRAF" gene (a gene involved in cell growth). An abnormal BRAF gene causes an abnormal growth of cells. Vemurafenib works to slow down the growth of cancer cells by blocking the action of the abnormal BRAF gene.
 
This medicine comes as tablets that are taken twice daily, with about 12 hours between doses. Side effects may include fatigue, a rash, and sun sensitivity.
 
(For more details on this prescription drug, click Vemurafenib. This Web selection explores vemurafenib in detail, including what to expect, generic availability, and safety precautions.)
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