(en koe RAF e nib)
Trade Name: Braftovi®
Encorafenib is the generic name for the trade name drug Braftovi. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Braftovi when referring to the generic drug name encorafenib.
Drug Type: Encorafenib is a targeted therapy drug. This medication is classified as a BRAF kinase inhibitor (for more detail see "How Encorafenib Works" below).
What Encorafenib Is Used For
- Treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with BRAF V600E or V500K mutation (a defect in a BRAF gene), in combination with binimetinib (Mektovi®).
- Encorafenib should not be used to treat people with normal (wild-type) BRAF melanoma and the cancer must be (BRAF)-positive as indicated by an FDA-approved test.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Encorafenib Is Given
- Encorafenib is given in capsule form to be taken by mouth once daily in combination with binimetinib (Mektovi®) with or without food. The capsules are supplied in 50 mg and 75 mg strengths.
- Take encorafenib exactly as prescribed.
- Swallow encorafenib capsules whole. Do not crush or dissolve tablet.
- Do not change your dose or stop encorafenib unless your health care provider tells you to.
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
- If less than 12 hours until next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take more than 1 dose of encorafenib at one time. Call your health care provider right away if you take too much.
- The amount of encorafenib that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition you have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.
Important things to remember about the side effects of encorafenib:
- Most people will not experience all of the encorafenib side effects listed.
- Encorafenib side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
- Encorafenib side effects will improve after therapy is complete.
- Encroafenib side effects may be quite manageable. There are many options to minimize or prevent the side effects of encorafenib.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking encorafenib:
These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving encorafenib:
Not all side effects are listed above. Side effects that are very rare -- occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients -- are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to Contact Your Health Care Provider
Contact your healthcare provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- New wart, skin sore, or reddish bump that bleeds or does not heal
- Change in size or color of a mole
- Sudden change in eyesight or other vision changes
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain, swelling, or redness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Blood in the urine
- Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Bleeding from the gums
- Any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop
- Mood changes
- Muscle pain or weakness
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal or fast heart beat
- Decrease in appetite or very bad upset stomach
- Increase in thirst or hunger
- Fast breathing
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Any skin change, irritation, itching, or rash
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting encorafenib treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
- Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice during your treatment with encorafenib.
- Avoid hormonal contraceptives.
- Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking encorafenib.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category X (encorafenib may cause fetal harm when given to a pregnant women. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant while taking encorfenib, the medication must be stopped immediately and the woman given appropriate counseling).
- For both men and women: Use contraceptives, and do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking encorafenib. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended during treatment and at least 2 weeks after the last encorafenib dose.
- Do not breast feed while taking encorafenib and for 2 weeks after the last encorafenib dose.
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Us an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Follow regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professioanl.
- Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see managing side effects - diarrhea).
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- Remain active as you are able. Gentle exercise is encouraged such as a daily walk.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing While Taking Encorafenib
You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking encorafenib to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Skin evaluations prior to initiation, every 2 months during therapy, and for up to 6 months following discontinuation will be done to assess for new skin cancer. Periodic blood work will be obtained to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor.
How Encorafenib Works
Targeted therapy is the result of about 100 years of research dedicated to understanding the difference between cancer cells and normal cells. To date, cancer treated has focused primarily on killing rapidly dividing cells because on feature of cancer cells is that they divide rapidly. Unfortunately, some of our normal cells divide rapidly too, causing multiple side effects.
Targeted therapy is about identifying other features of cancer cells. Scientists look for specific differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells. This information is used to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, thus leading to fewer side effects. Each type of targeted works a little bit differently but all interfere with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and/or communicate with other cells.
There are different types of targeted therapies, defined in three broad categories. Some targeted therapies focus on the internal components and function of the cancer cell. The targeted therapies use small molecules that can get into the cell and disrupt the function of the cells, causing them to die. There are several types of targeted therapy that focus on the inner parts of the cells. Other targeted therapies target receptors that are on the outside of the cell. Therapies that target receptors are also known as monoclonal antibodies. Antiangiogenesis inhibitors target the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the cells, ultimately causing the cells to starve.
Encorafenib is a targeted therapy that targets and binds to the mutated BRAF protein (kinase) within the cancer cell. The BRAF gene plays an important role in both normal and cancer cells. This gene leads to the production of BRAF protein. This protein is normally part of the chain of molecules that relay a signal that tells cells how to grow and divide. A change in the BRAF gene (called a mutation) can alter the way that the BRAF protein works. Instead of waiting for its turn to signal a cell to divide or grow, the BRAF protein is out of control and signals all of the time, this out of control BRAF signaling may drive the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Encorafenib targets these changed BRAF proteins and may slow down the growth of cancer.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.