Trametinib | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

trametinib, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Mekinist
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for trametinib

Oral tablet
1

Trametinib is used to treat melanoma (skin cancer). You may take it alone or with a medication called dabrafenib.

2

This drug comes in the form of a tablet you take by mouth.

3

Trametinib is available as the brand-name drug Mekinist. It’s not available as a generic drug.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Cancer

Your doctor may have you take this drug with another drug used for melanoma, called dabrafenib. The combination can increase your risk for other skin and non-skin cancers. Your doctor will check your skin on several occasions: before starting treatment, every two months during treatment, and for six months after you stop taking this drug. Tell your doctor right away if you have any skin changes. These can include a new wart, a sore or reddish bump that bleeds or does not heal, or a change in size or color of a mole.

Blood clots

This drug can cause blood clots in your arms or legs. These blood clots can travel to your lungs and be fatal (cause death). Call 911 or got to the emergency room right away if you have any signs of blood clots. Symptoms can include chest pain, sudden shortness of breath or trouble breathing, and pain in your legs with or without swelling. They can also include swelling in your arms or legs or a cool and pale arm or leg.

Heart problems

This drug can cause heart problems, including heart failure. Your doctor will check your heart function before and during your treatment with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of a heart problem. Symptoms can include feeling like your heart is pounding or racing, shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles and feet, and lightheadedness.

Eye problems

This drug may cause severe eye problems. These can include blurry vision, changes in your vision, or vision loss. If you have eye issues, your doctor may stop your treatment with this drug.

What is trametinib?

Trametinib is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.

Trametinib is available as a brand-name drug called Mekinist. It’s not available as a generic drug.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy with dabrafenib. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Trametinib is used to treat melanoma (skin cancer) in people with an abnormal BRAF gene. It’s used when the cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of your body) or can’t be removed by surgery. You may take this drug alone or with a medication called dabrafenib.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

See Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by blocking the growth of cancer cells. This eventually causes these cancer cells to die, which treats your cancer.

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SECTION 2 of 5

trametinib Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

rash

  • diarrhea

  • swelling of your arms and legs

More common side effects

The more common side effects of trametinib with dabrafenib can include:

  • fever

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • rash

  • chills

  • diarrhea

  • high blood pressure

  • swelling in your feet, ankles, or legs

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Increased bleeding. Symptoms can include:

    • headaches, dizziness, or weakness
    • coughing up blood or blood clots
    • vomit that contains blood or looks like coffee grounds
    • red or black stools that look like tar
    • nosebleeds
    • bleeding from your gums
    • red or pink urine
  • Blood clots. Symptoms can include:

    • chest pain
    • sudden shortness of breath or breathing trouble
    • swelling in your arms or legs
    • a cool and pale arm or leg
    • pain in your legs with or without swelling
  • Heart problems. Symptoms can include:

    • feeling like your heart is pounding or racing
    • shortness of breath
    • swelling in your ankles and feet
    • lightheadedness
  • Eye problems. Symptoms can include:

    • blurry vision
    • vision loss
    • seeing colored dots
    • seeing halos (blurred outline around objects)
    • eye pain, swelling, or redness
  • Lung or breathing problems. Symptoms can include:

    • shortness of breath
    • cough
  • Fever. Symptoms can include:

    • chills
    • dehydration, which can cause:
      • extreme thirst
      • dry mouth
      • dry skin
      • decreased urination
    • low blood pressure
    • dizziness
  • Skin reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • a rash that bothers you or doesn’t go away
    • acne
    • skin redness
    • redness, swelling, peeling, or tenderness of your hands or feet
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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trametinib May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

This drug can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you take. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Side effects from other drugs: Taking trametinib with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Dabrafenib
    • Increased side effects can include fever, heart problems, increased bleeding, and new types of cancer.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
diabetes warning
People with diabetes

This drug can increase your blood sugar level. You should test your blood sugar levels closely during treatment. Tell your doctor if your blood sugar levels increase or if you have signs of high blood sugar. These can include feeling thirstier than normal, urinating more often than normal, and making more urine than normal. Your doctor may change your diabetes medication.

heart problem warning
People with heart problems

This drug can harm your heart and make your heart problem worse. Ask your doctor if this drug is safe for you.

blood pressure warning
People with high blood pressure

This drug may make your high blood pressure worse. Your doctor will check your blood pressure during treatment. Call your doctor right away if your blood pressure increases or if you have severe headache, lightheadedness, or dizziness.

BRAF-inhibitor therapy warning
People who’ve received prior BRAF-inhibitor therapy

This drug is considered BRAF-inhibitor therapy. If you’ve received this type of treatment before, you should not take this drug. This drug will not work in people who’ve already had unsuccessful BRAF-inhibitor therapy.

pregnancy warning
Pregnant women

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t assigned a pregnancy category to this drug, but animal studies have found that this drug can harm the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug can harm your unborn baby. Women who may become pregnant should use effective contraception during treatment and for four months after taking their last dose of this drug. This drug may also cause fertility problems. This means that it could affect your ability to get pregnant in the future. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the pregnancy.

breast feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Don’t breastfeed during treatment and for four months after taking your last dose of this drug. You can talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your child during this time.

childrens warning
For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you:

  • become pregnant while taking this drug
  • have any new skin lesions, changes to existing skin lesions, or symptoms of new growths

Further skin problems may mean this drug isn’t working for you.

allergy warning
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take trametinib (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

The dosage information below is for the condition that this drug is most often prescribed to treat. This list may not contain all conditions that your doctor can prescribe this drug for. If you have questions about your prescription, talk with your doctor.

What are you taking this medication for?

Melanoma (skin cancer)

Brand: Mekinist

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The typical starting dosage is 2 mg taken once per day.
  • Take it at the same time each day.
  • Your doctor will tell you if you should take trametinib with or without dabrafenib.
  • Your doctor may change your dosage based on how you respond to the drug.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

This medication has not been studied enough to determine if it is safe and effective in seniors.

Warnings

If you have side effects, your doctor may reduce your dosage or stop your treatment with this drug (temporarily or permanently). If you’re taking this drug with dabrafenib, your doctor may not change your dosage of trametinib. Changing your dosage could increase your risk of side effects from dabrafenib. These effects include cancer and eye problems.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your cancer symptoms may get worse. Your cancer will likely progress over time. It may eventually be fatal (cause death).

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • trouble seeing
  • increased bleeding
  • fever
  • dizziness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember, unless it’s within 12 hours of your next scheduled dose.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may not be able to tell if this drug is working, especially if your cancer never caused symptoms. If you have symptoms, they should improve or go away. Your doctor will do imaging tests to see how the drug is working for you.

This drug is used for long-term treatment. You take this drug until your cancer progresses or until you can no longer tolerate the side effects.

Important considerations for taking this drug
not with food
Don’t take this drug with food. Take it at least one hour before eating or two hours after eating
timing considerations
Take this drug at the same time each day
should not crush
You should not cut, crush, or chew the tablet
storage considerations
Store this drug carefully
See Details
medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
travel considerations
Travel
See Details
self management considerations
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring considerations
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
prior authorization needed
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store it in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). Don’t freeze it.
  • Store this drug away from moisture and light.
  • Keep the medication in its original bottle. Don’t put the tablets in a pill box.
  • Leave the desiccant packet that comes with the drug in the bottle. It keeps your medication dry and protects it from moisture.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to check your skin for issues. Tell your doctor about new warts, skin sores, red bumps that bleed or don’t heal, and changes in the size or color of a mole.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may monitor certain health issues during your treatment. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Heart problems. This drug may cause heart problems. Your doctor may check your heart function with an echocardiogram during treatment. If your heart isn’t working well, your doctor may temporarily or permanently stop your treatment with this drug.
  • Eye problems. You and your doctor should watch for any changes to your vision. This drug can cause eye problems. It can also make eye issues you have worse. If you develop eye problems, your doctor may temporarily or permanently stop your treatment with this drug.
  • Skin changes. Your doctor will do tests to check how your cancer is progressing. They will also check your skin for any signs of new cancer. Tell your doctor about new warts, skin sores, changes in the size or color of a mole, and red bumps that bleed or don’t heal.
  • Blood sugar levels. This drug may increase your blood sugar level. Your doctor will test your blood sugar level during treatment with this drug. If it’s moderately high, your doctor may start you on diabetes medications or change your dosage if you already take diabetes drugs. If your blood sugar is very high, your doctor may decrease your dosage or stop your treatment with the drug.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does trametinib Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for trametinib on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 19, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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