Mekinist (trametinib)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2023

Mekinist® (trametinib) is a treatment used in combination with Tafinlar® (dabrafenib) for metastatic (has spread to other parts of the body) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the BRAF V600E mutation.1

Mekinist is a kinase inhibitor and is also used to treat certain melanomas and thyroid cancers.1

What are the ingredients in Mekinist?

The active ingredient in Mekinist is trametinib.1

How does Mekinist work?

The BRAF V600E mutation is a specific change in the BRAF gene found in some types of cancer, including NSCLC, melanoma, and colorectal cancer. The BRAF gene normally makes a protein that is involved in cell growth. The mutation may increase the growth and spread of cancer cells.2

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Mekinist is an inhibitor of a protein that contributes to cancer growth along the same pathway as the BRAF V600E mutation. When used with dabrafenib, the 2 drugs block different proteins along the same pathway that leads to the growth of cancer cells. By blocking these proteins, the drugs inhibit the growth of the cancer.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Mekinist when taken with dabrafenib include:1

  • Fever, chills
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry skin
  • Decreased appetitie
  • Rash
  • Swelling of your face, arms, and legs
  • Bleeding
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

These are not all the possible side effects of Mekinist. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Mekinist. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Mekinist.

Other things to know

Mekinist should only be used in people with NSCLC who have the BRAF V600E mutation. Your doctor will perform a test to see if your NSCLC has this mutation.1

Mekinist can cause new or worsening high blood pressure. Your doctor should check your blood pressure during treatment with Mekinist. Contact your doctor if you have signs of high blood pressure, including severe headache, lightheadedness, blurry vision, or dizziness.1

Because of the increased risk of developing some kinds of skin cancer, you should have your skin checked by a doctor before, during, and after treatment with Mekinist. You should also check your skin regularly and contact your doctor if you see any skin changes, such as a new wart, a sore or reddish bump that bleeds or doesn’t heal, or a change in the size or color of a mole.1

Before starting treatment with Mekinist, talk to your doctor about all your health conditions, including:1

  • Bleeding problems
  • Heart (cardiovascular) problems
  • Stomach problems
  • Inflammation of the colon
  • Eye problems
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Liver or kidney problems

Mekinist can harm an unborn baby. If you or your partner can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Mekinist. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Mekinist and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Mekinist.1

Before beginning treatment for lung cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information for Mekinist.