vemurafenib (Zelboraf)

Vemurafenib (Zelboraf) is a first line treatment for patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable stage IIIC or IV melanoma or metastatic melanoma. About half of all melanoma skin cancers make too much BRAF due to a change in a gene. Vemurafenib slows down or stops the growth of cancer cells. The drug is administered as pills taken daily.

ZELBORAF targets proteins made from the mutated BRAF gene and slows down or stops the growth of cancer cells.

Side Effects

Common side effects can include skin thickening, rash, itching, sensitivity to the sun, headache, fever, joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, and nausea. Less common but serious side effects can include heart rhythm problems, liver problems, kidney failure, severe allergic reactions, severe skin or eye problems, and increased blood sugar levels.

Some people treated with this drug develop new squamous cell skin cancers. These cancers are usually less serious than melanoma and can be treated by removing them. Still, your doctor will want to check your skin often during treatment and for several months afterward. You should also let your doctor know right away if you notice any new growths or abnormal areas on your skin.

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

Provincial Funding Summary

Vemurafenib (Zelboraf) for Advanced Melanoma (pCODR 10006)
This information is current as of November 9, 2018.

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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