TabrectaTM (capmatinib) is a drug used to treat some adults with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. Capmatinib is for people whose cancer has a specific mutation in a gene called the mesenchymal epithelial transition (MET) gene. When this gene is abnormal, it can cause cancer cells to grow. Capmatinib is the first drug approved for this specific type of NSCLC. Your doctor will perform a genetic test to determine if your cancer falls into this category and if capmatinib might be beneficial for you.
Capmatinib targets abnormal MET genes
NSCLC cells that have an abnormal MET gene can grow and divide even when they are not supposed to. This is what causes the cancer to form and spread to other parts of the body. Capmatinib targets this gene and the signals it makes that tell cells to grow. By stopping this gene and its signals, cancer cell growth may be stopped or slowed down.
The most common side effects of capmatinib include:
- Limb swelling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased appetite
This is not a full list of all potential side effects. Your doctor can provide you with more information on capmatinib.
As with other drugs, there are less common but serious side effects that can occur with capmatinib. Capmatinib can cause pneumonitis or interstitial lung disease. When this happens, the lungs get inflamed. This complication can be life-threatening. If you develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing while taking capmatinib, call your doctor immediately.
Capmatinib may impact the way the liver works. Blood tests to monitor liver function should be regularly monitored while taking capmatinib. The drug may need to be stopped by your doctor if severe liver issues occur. Signs of a liver problem include pain in the upper right stomach-area, swelling in your stomach-area, itching, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. Urine that is dark or brown and changes in the color of your stool can also be signs of liver issues.
Capmatinib may interact with other drugs. This can include over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Before beginning treatment with capmatinib, patients should talk to their doctor about all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, and supplements they are taking. Capmatinib may also cause the skin to be more sensitive to the sun. Limiting direct sunlight exposure, wearing sunscreen, or wearing clothes that cover your skin can help reduce the risk of skin sensitivity.
Capmatinib may harm an unborn baby. If you or your partner could become pregnant, effective birth control should be used while taking the drug (patients should discuss appropriate birth control methods with their doctor). Women taking capmatinib will often be given a pregnancy test before starting the drug. They are also advised not to breastfeed while using capmatinib. It is unknown if capmatinib can pass through breast milk. Your doctor can help determine when it is safe to breastfeed or change birth control methods after you have stopped taking capmatinib.
Before starting capmatinib, tell your doctor about all your health conditions, including if you:
- Have other lung issues in addition to your lung cancer (including breathing problems)
- Have liver issues
- Are pregnant or may become pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
- Have a partner who could become pregnant
- Are taking any other medications, vitamins, or supplements
Patients should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. Patients should talk to their doctor if they have any questions, or if they have questions regarding their capmatinib regimen.
Read the prescribing information to learn more about capmatinib.1