Tabrecta is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s FDA-approved to treat a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer in adults. The cancer must be both:

  • Metastatic, which refers to cancer that has spread to many other areas of the body outside where it started. In this case, the cancer has spread outside the lungs.
  • Caused by certain changes to a gene called mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) receptor.

For more information about who can take Tabrecta, see the “Tabrecta uses” section below.

Drug details

Tabrecta contains the active drug capmatinib and belongs to a group of drugs called MET inhibitors. Tabrecta targets specific proteins on the MET gene in cancer cells to prevent these cells from growing. For more information, see the “How Tabrecta works” section below.

Tabrecta comes as an oral tablet. It’s available in two strengths: 150 milligrams (mg) and 200 mg.

FDA approval

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tabrecta in 2020. The approval was to treat a specific type of lung cancer caused by certain genetic changes to the MET gene.

Tabrecta received accelerated approval from the FDA. The drug was approved for use based on information from early clinical trials.

The FDA usually approves drugs only after in-depth clinical trials are complete. But for some drugs, such as Tabrecta, the FDA can give early approval before more thorough trials are finished. Usually, accelerated approval is reserved for drugs that treat conditions without many treatment options, such as cancer.

After more trials of Tabrecta have been completed, the FDA will decide whether to give Tabrecta full approval.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Tabrecta, see the “Tabrecta uses” section below.

Tabrecta contains the active drug capmatinib. Tabrecta is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Tabrecta can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Tabrecta. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Tabrecta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Tabrecta, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Tabrecta can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Tabrecta. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Tabrecta’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Tabrecta aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

Here are some details on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Lung conditions

Certain lung conditions are rare but serious side effects of Tabrecta. To find out how often these side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Lung conditions from Tabrecta can be life threatening if they aren’t treated. These conditions are typically caused by inflammation (swelling and damage) of the tissues in your lungs.

Specific examples of serious lung conditions that may occur with Tabrecta include:

Symptoms of these lung conditions include shortness of breath, cough, and fever.

Talk with your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of lung conditions while taking Tabrecta. They’ll typically have you stop taking the medication if you develop ILD or pneumonitis.

Edema

Edema (swelling) is the most common side effect of Tabrecta. The edema usually occurs in your feet or hands. To find out how often this side effect was reported in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Along with swelling, edema may cause other symptoms such as pain and tightness in the affected area.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any symptoms of edema while taking Tabrecta. They may have you stop taking the drug for a time until your symptoms ease. Or your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage of Tabrecta for you. If you have severe edema, your doctor may switch you to a treatment other than Tabrecta.

Fatigue

Fatigue, which refers to low energy, is a common side effect of Tabrecta. To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Fatigue may cause symptoms such as:

If you have symptoms of fatigue while taking Tabrecta, talk with your doctor. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they may have you stop taking the drug until your symptoms ease. Your doctor may also prescribe a lower dosage of Tabrecta, or they may switch you to a different treatment.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Tabrecta.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Tabrecta, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

As with all medications, the cost of Tabrecta can vary. To find current prices for Tabrecta in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Tabrecta. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

It’s important to note that you might have to get Tabrecta at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or may require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively.

Before approving coverage for Tabrecta, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Tabrecta, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Tabrecta, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, the manufacturer of Tabrecta, offers several options to help lower the cost of their drug. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 800-282-7630 or visit the manufacturer’s website.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Tabrecta may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Tabrecta, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Tabrecta is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Tabrecta dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on certain factors, such as side effects you may experience.

Typically, your doctor will start you on the recommended dosage for treating your condition. Then they’ll monitor your condition over time to decide if you need to keep taking the drug. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe Tabrecta for the shortest amount of time necessary to treat your condition while keeping your risk of side effects low. (For more information about possible side effects, see the “Tabrecta side effects” section above.)

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Tabrecta comes as an oral tablet. It’s available in two strengths: 150 milligrams (mg) and 200 mg.

Dosage for non-small cell lung cancer

Tabrecta is approved to treat a specific type of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer* in adults. “Metastatic“ describes cancer that has spread to many other areas of the body outside the lungs.

The recommended dosage of Tabrecta for this use is 400 mg twice per day.

* The cancer must be caused by specific genetic changes to the MET gene. For more information about who can take Tabrecta, see the “Tabrecta uses” section below.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Tabrecta, skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose at the usual time.

You should not take an extra dose of Tabrecta to make up for your missed dose. This can raise your risk of side effects from the drug. (For more information, see the “Tabrecta side effects” section above.)

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Tabrecta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Tabrecta is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Tabrecta to treat certain conditions.

Tabrecta for non-small cell lung cancer

Tabrecta is FDA-approved to treat a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)* in adults. Tabrecta is used for metastatic NSCLC. This means the cancer has spread to many other areas of the body outside the lungs.

For this purpose, the NSCLC must have abnormal changes in a gene called mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) receptor. Specifically, the NSCLC must be missing a part of the MET gene called METex14. This missing part can cause the gene to become overactive, which then encourages lung cancer cells to multiply rapidly in the body.

* For this use, Tabrecta received accelerated approval from the FDA. To learn more, see “FDA approval” in the “What is Tabrecta?” section above.

Testing for gene changes

Before starting Tabrecta treatment, your doctor will order a blood test or a biopsy. (The term “biopsy” refers to removing a small sample of the tumor to test.) Your doctor will use these tests to check the genetic makeup of your NSCLC. If your NSCLC has a change in the METex14 gene, your doctor may recommend treatment with Tabrecta.

Tabrecta targets lung cancer cells that have these changes in the MET gene. The drug works by keeping the cancer cells from growing.

Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer

Early on, NSCLC may not cause symptoms. But when they do occur, the symptoms may include:

  • long-lasting cough
  • fatigue
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • weight loss

You can learn more about lung cancer by visiting our cancer hub.

Effectiveness for non-small cell lung cancer

Tabrecta has been found effective for treating metastatic NSCLC with MET genes that are missing METex14. Guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend Tabrecta as a preferred treatment for this type of metastatic NSCLC.

For information about how the drug performed in clinical trials, see Tabrecta’s prescribing information.

Tabrecta and children

Tabrecta is not approved for use in children. Clinical trials of the drug included only adults. So it isn’t known if Tabrecta is safe or effective for use in children.

There aren’t any known interactions between Tabrecta and alcohol. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about an amount that may be safe for you while taking Tabrecta.

Tabrecta can interact with several other medications.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Tabrecta and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Tabrecta. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Tabrecta.

Before taking Tabrecta, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Drugs that may interact with Tabrecta include:

  • Certain antifungals. Antifungals are used to treat infections caused by fungi. Taking Tabrecta with these medications can raise your risk of side effects from Tabrecta. Examples of these medications include itraconazole (Sporanox, Tolsura).
  • Certain antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Taking Tabrecta with these drugs can make Tabrecta less effective. An example of these drugs is rifampin (Rifadin).
  • Certain non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are a type of antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV. Taking Tabrecta with these medications can make Tabrecta less effective. An example of an NNRTI is efavirenz (Sustiva).
  • Certain proton pump inhibitors. Drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to treat conditions such as acid reflux and heartburn. Taking Tabrecta with PPIs can make Tabrecta less effective. An example of a PPI is rabeprazole (Aciphex).
  • Certain cardiac glycosides. These medications are used to treat certain heart conditions, including heart failure. Taking Tabrecta with these drugs can raise your risk of side effects from cardiac glycosides. An example of a cardiac glycoside is digoxin (Lanoxin).
  • Certain statins. Statins are used to treat high cholesterol. Taking Tabrecta with statins can increase your risk of side effects from statins. An example of a statin is rosuvastatin (Crestor).
  • Certain medications that interact with enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP1A2. Certain medications can cause enzymes called CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 to not break down Tabrecta correctly in your body. This may increase your risk of side effects from Tabrecta. Examples of these medications include antibiotics such as clarithromycin and zolpidem (Ambien and Ambien CR).

If you take any of the drugs above or have questions about drug interactions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Tabrecta. They can tell you if the drugs are safe to take together.

Tabrecta and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Tabrecta. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using these products while taking Tabrecta.

Tabrecta and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Tabrecta. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Tabrecta, talk with your doctor.

You should take Tabrecta according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

Tabrecta comes as an oral tablet that you swallow. For more information about how to take Tabrecta, visit the drug manufacturer’s website.

When to take

You’ll likely take Tabrecta twice per day. In most cases, you’ll take each dose about 12 hours apart. Try to take your doses at the same time each day. This helps make sure you have a consistent level of the drug in your body. Keeping the level steady helps Tabrecta work effectively.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Taking Tabrecta with food

You can take Tabrecta with or without food.

Can Tabrecta be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, you shouldn’t crush, split, or chew Tabrecta. You’ll swallow the tablets whole.

If you have trouble swallowing pills, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Tabrecta to treat a specific type of lung cancer. This cancer must be caused by abnormal changes in a gene called mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) receptor. Whether or not a person can use Tabrecta for the treatment of lung cancer depends on other factors. For more information about who can take Tabrecta, see the “Tabrecta uses” section above.

What happens in lung cancer

Cells in the lungs usually stop multiplying and die when the body no longer needs them. But with lung cancer, cells continue to grow, divide, and spread even when these cells aren’t needed.

What the MET gene does

The MET gene is typically found in organs throughout the body, such as the lungs. But sometimes a mutation (change) in the MET gene occurs. This can cause the gene to become overactive, which encourages cells to multiply rapidly in the body. These quickly growing cells can lead to certain cancers, including lung cancer.

What Tabrecta does

Tabrecta targets lung cancer cells that have these changes in the MET gene. The drug keeps the abnormal MET gene from working, which prevents the cancer cells from growing.

For more information about how Tabrecta works, visit the drug manufacturer’s website.

How long does it take to work?

Tabrecta starts working right away to slow cancer growth. It may take a few weeks for your tumors to stop growing or become smaller.

You won’t notice Tabrecta working in your body. But your doctor will order tests during your treatment to check if the drug is working for you.

Tabrecta is not safe to use during pregnancy. It’s known that the drug can cause harm to a fetus because of the way Tabrecta works in the body. Animal trials have also shown harm to offspring born to animals that were given the drug during pregnancy. Keep in mind that animal trials don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you’re able to become pregnant, your doctor will likely give you a pregnancy test before you begin Tabrecta treatment. They’ll want to confirm that you’re not pregnant.

If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor before starting Tabrecta. Be sure to tell them right away if you become pregnant while taking the drug.

Tabrecta is not safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Tabrecta.

For more information about taking Tabrecta during pregnancy, see the “Tabrecta and pregnancy” section above.

If you or your sexual partner can become pregnant, you should use an effective form of birth control during Tabrecta treatment. And you should continue to use birth control for at least 1 week after your last dose of the drug. An example of effective birth control for females* is the birth control pill. An example for males* is condoms.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while taking Tabrecta. It’s not known if the drug can pass into breast milk. Because of the potential for side effects in children who are breastfed, your doctor will likely recommend that you do not take Tabrecta while breastfeeding. They may also advise you to wait until at least 1 week after your last dose to breastfeed.

If you’re breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor. They can review healthy ways to feed your child while you take Tabrecta.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tabrecta.

What types of tests do I need to have before starting Tabrecta treatment?

You’ll need several different tests prior to starting Tabrecta treatment.

Before you begin taking Tabrecta, your doctor will order a blood test or a biopsy. (“Biopsy” refers to removing a small sample of the tumor to test.) Your doctor will use these tests to check the genomic sequencing (genetic makeup) of your lung cancer. If the cancer shows changes in a gene called mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) receptor, your doctor may recommend treatment with Tabrecta.*

If you’re able to become pregnant, your doctor will likely order a pregnancy test for you before you begin Tabrecta treatment. This is because Tabrecta is not safe to use while pregnant.†

Tabrecta can also cause abnormal results of liver function tests, which may be a sign of liver problems. Your doctor will likely check your liver function before and during your treatment to monitor you for this condition.

If you have questions about tests you’ll need before taking Tabrecta, talk with your doctor.

* Tabrecta is approved to treat a specific type of lung cancer. Whether you can take Tabrecta for the treatment of lung cancer depends on other factors. For more information, see the “Tabrecta uses” section above.
† To learn more, see the “Tabrecta and pregnancy” section above.

Will Tabrecta cure my lung cancer?

No, Tabrecta doesn’t cure lung cancer. There currently isn’t a cure for lung cancer.

Tabrecta is approved to treat a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults. Whether or not a person can take Tabrecta for NSCLC depends on other factors. For more information, see the “Tabrecta uses” section above.

If you have questions about how Tabrecta works to treat lung cancer, talk with your doctor. You can also see the “How Tabrecta works” section above.

Is Tabrecta a chemotherapy drug?

No, Tabrecta isn’t a chemotherapy drug.

Chemotherapy drugs work by killing cells that grow rapidly. Cancer cells tend to grow more quickly than healthy cells. So chemotherapy drugs are effective for treating cancer. However, these drugs can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells. As a result, chemotherapy usually harms healthy cells. This leads to side effects from the chemotherapy drug.

Tabrecta is a targeted therapy for cancer. Targeted therapies focus more on cancer cells. They usually have less of an effect on healthy cells than chemotherapy.

Tabrecta belongs to a group of drugs called MET inhibitors. The drug targets specific proteins on the MET gene in cancer cells to prevent these cells from growing. For more information, see the “How Tabrecta works” section above.

Before taking Tabrecta, talk with your doctor about your health history. Tabrecta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Lung problems. Before starting Tabrecta treatment, tell your doctor if you have lung problems other than lung cancer. This includes breathing problems and more severe lung conditions, such as interstitial lung disease. Tabrecta can cause serious lung conditions as a side effect. If you already have lung problems, your doctor can advise you if it’s safe for you to take Tabrecta.
  • Liver problems. Tabrecta may cause abnormal results of liver function tests, which can be a sign of liver problems. If you have liver problems such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, talk with your doctor before starting Tabrecta treatment. They can tell you it’s safe for you to take the medication.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Tabrecta or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Tabrecta. Ask them about other medications that might be better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It is not safe to take Tabrecta during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Tabrecta and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It may not be safe to breastfeed while taking Tabrecta. For more information, see the “Tabrecta and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Tabrecta, see the “Tabrecta side effects” section above.

Do not use more Tabrecta than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.

What to do in case you take too much Tabrecta

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Tabrecta from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Be sure to safely dispose of any Tabrecta tablets you haven’t used within 6 weeks of opening the bottle.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

You should store Tabrecta tablets at a room temperature of 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C) in a tightly sealed container away from light. However, you can keep the tablets between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for a short time, such as when traveling. You should not store this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Tabrecta and have unused or leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today 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 another 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.