trametinib (Mekinist)

MEK inhibitors block the activity of a cell protein called MEK, a molecule that helps regulate cell growth. MEK is part of a signaling pathway that includes BRAF, another protein. A BRAF mutation signals cells, via MEK, to develop abnormally and divide out of control and grow into a melanoma tumour. MEK inhibitors act on melanomas that have the V600E or V600K mutations in the BRAF protein. These drugs interfere with abnormal BRAF signals to slow or stop the out-of-control cell growth.

Side Effects

Common side effects can include rash, nausea, diarrhea, swelling, and sensitivity to sunlight. Rare but serious side effects can include heart damage, excess bleeding, loss of vision, lung problems, and skin infections. MEK inhibitors are commonly combined with a BRAF inhibitor as a combination therapy. This seems to shrink tumors for longer periods of time than using either type of drug alone. Some side effects (such as the development of other skin cancers) are actually less common with the combination.

Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about your side effects so they can help you manage them.


Provincial Funding Summary

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Trametinib (Mekinist) for Metastatic Melanoma (pCODR 10030)
This information is current as of July 20, 2020

Note: Funding criteria as listed on the decision date. Please refer to the provincial drug programs for the most recent funding criteria and program eligibility.

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Please note: This information is not meant to act as a treatment decision aid, but rather to provide general information about which metastatic melanoma or skin cancer treatments are covered by provincial health care plans in Canada. It is current to the date indicated and may not be currently accurate due to the changing landscape of coverage in Canada. If you have private insurance coverage, you may have access to therapies not covered by the provincial plans in your province.  All information obtained about specific treatments should be further discussed with your physician.

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