Vemurafenib (Zelboraf) (The James)

Taking Your Treatment Home

What you need to know about your Anti-Cancer Medicine



Vemurafenib (Zelboraf)

This brochure has important information on how to use, handle, and store your medicine, what side effects to look for and how to manage them.

What it looks like: 240 mg, pink, oval-shaped tablet


How to handle and store:

  • There are special safe handling instructions for this medicine. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about the precautions you need to follow when you take this medicine at home.
  • Store in a closed container in a dry place such as a cabinet away from light, heat and moisture.
  • Do not store in your bathroom or refrigerator.
  • Keep this medicine away from children and do not share it with anyone.


Why am I taking this medicine?

  • This medicine works against tumors with a certain type of gene mutation called BRAF. Your tumor will be tested for this mutation before you start this medicine.


How to take:

  • Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water. You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Take this medicine 2 times each day, 12 hours apart.
  • Do not crush, break or chew the tablets.
  • Do not take more tablets than ordered by your doctor.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as your remember. If it is less than 6 hours before your next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not double up on doses.



  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to get rid of prescription medicines safely.



  1. Tell your doctor if you have liver, kidney or heart problems (such as QT syndrome).
  2. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal products.
  3. Do not take this medicine if you are receiving radiation therapy. Tell your doctor if you plan to start radiation treatment.
  4. Do not take St. John’s Wort
  5. Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. These can increase your risk of side effects.
  6. Do not get pregnant or breastfed while on this medicine. Talk with your doctor about what birth control to use.


Possible Side Effects

You can find more information on side effects in the Patient Education booklet, Treatment with Chemotherapy and Anti-Cancer Medicines.


Skin Problems

What this means: Skin problems can range from a rash to a different type of skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Your skin may become more sensitive to the sun and make you more likely to get a sunburn.

What to do:

  • Call you doctor if you have any new skin lesions. These lesions may need to be removed.
  • Protect your skin from sunlight. Wear clothes that protect your skin and use sunscreen (at least SPF 30 or greater).
  • Use fragrance-free, dye-free moisturizer on your skin.
  • Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you develop blisters, peeling skin, fever or swelling of your face, hands, or soles of your feet.



Heart Problems

What to do:

  • Tell your doctor if you have an abnormal heartbeat, chest pain or feel dizzy or faint.
  • Your doctor may check your heart while you take this medicine.


Joint and Muscle Pain

What to do:

  • You may take over the counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Call your doctor if you pain is not relieved by pain medicine.



What this means: Fatigue can be due to many factors, including low blood counts, sleep changes, stress, not eating well and pain.

What to do:

  • Be active, but plan times to rest.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat small meals or snacks often during the day.
  • Call your doctor if you are unable to do your daily activities.


Eye Problems (this is a rare side effect)

What to do:

  • Call your doctor if you have blurry vision, eye pain, sensitivity to light or see dark floating spots.



This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Tell your doctor if you have these or any other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine. Your James health care team will give you further help to manage side effects.



© 5/9/2019. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.

For more health information, call the Patient and Family Resource Center at 614-366-0602 or visit