Tabrecta (capmatinib) is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treat a certain type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults.

The cancer must be metastatic and missing a part of a gene called MET. With metastatic NSCLC, the cancer has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. MET stands for mesenchymal-epithelial transition.

Here are some fast facts about Tabrecta:

  • Active ingredient: capmatinib
  • Drug class: kinase inhibitor
  • Drug form: oral tablet
  • FDA approval year: 2020

Tabrecta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment.

Like other drugs, Tabrecta can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of Tabrecta, including details about its uses, see this article.

Tabrecta can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Tabrecta in clinical trials:

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

Mild side effects can occur with Tabrecta. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Tabrecta’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Tabrecta include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Tabrecta and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

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

Tabrecta may cause serious side effects. In clinical trials, serious side effects occurred in about half of the people who took this medication.

The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Tabrecta’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects* that have been reported with Tabrecta include:

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

If you develop serious side effects while taking Tabrecta, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Tabrecta may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Why should I be careful of the sun while taking Tabrecta?

You should be careful of the sun during Tabrecta treatment because of photosensitivity. This means your skin may be more sensitive to sunlight than usual while you take the drug.

Photosensitivity was not seen in people who took Tabrecta in clinical trials. However, the condition was observed in animal trials of the drug. Animal trials don’t always predict what will happen in humans. To be safe, it’s best to use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit your time in direct sunlight while you take Tabrecta.

If you have questions about photosensitivity and Tabrecta, talk with your doctor.

What are possible long-term side effects of Tabrecta?

Possible long-term side effects of Tabrecta include lung and liver problems. Examples of the lung problems are pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue) and interstitial lung disease (scarring of the lungs).

Tabrecta treatment may also cause the levels of liver enzymes (proteins) to be higher than usual. These increased levels can be a sign that your liver is stressed or damaged.

For more information about these side effects, see “Side effect specifics” below. You can also talk with your doctor.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Tabrecta may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Tabrecta.

Swelling of the hands or lower legs

Tabrecta frequently causes peripheral edema (swelling in your limbs due to fluid buildup). In fact, it was the most common side effect seen in people taking the drug in clinical trials. The swelling typically occurs in your hands, lower legs, and feet.

Peripheral edema can be uncomfortable and may become severe. Your skin, in the swollen areas, may look shiny or puffy and feel heavy, tight, or painful. Your shoes and clothing may not fit comfortably.

What you can do

Here are several steps you can take to help manage peripheral edema:

  • Put your feet up. When you sit or lie down, use pillows to elevate your feet above the level of your heart. In this position, gravity can help move the fluid out of your lower legs.
  • Watch your salt intake. Consuming sodium (salt) can make your edema worse. You can find the sodium content on food labels. Consider limiting high-sodium foods such as pizza, soy sauce, chips, pretzels, and store-bought frozen dinners.
  • Wear compression gear. Your doctor may recommend that you wear compression stockings, gloves, or sleeves. These items can help reduce swelling. It’s best if a trained professional measures and fits you for them. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend someone.
  • Exercise. Moving around (to the best of your ability) for short periods of time may help ease swelling. However, long hours on your feet can make swelling worse.

Your doctor may also prescribe a diuretic medication (water pill) to manage edema. Diuretics help move excess fluid out of your body.

If these suggestions don’t help, talk with your doctor. For severe swelling, they may recommend pausing your Tabrecta treatment until your symptoms ease. Then your doctor may have you restart the drug at a lower dose.

Nausea and vomiting

It’s common to have nausea and vomiting while taking Tabrecta. Nausea was one of the most common side effects in the drug’s clinical trials. Vomiting occurred less frequently than nausea.

Nausea and vomiting are usually mild or manageable. However, in some cases symptoms were so severe that some people had to stop Tabrecta treatment.

What you can do

Nausea and vomiting are usually temporary side effects that become less bothersome as your body gets used to the medication.

If you feel nauseous with Tabrecta, you can try taking it with food. (The drug may be taken with or without food.)

Vomiting may lead to dehydration if you lose too much fluid. Try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or electrolyte drinks while you’re taking Tabrecta. (Electrolytes are chemicals that help keep your body hydrated.)

It’s important to talk with your doctor if your nausea and vomiting become severe or don’t go away. They may prescribe drugs called antiemetic medications to help relieve these side effects. These drugs may include Zofran (ondansetron). Your doctor may also pause your Tabrecta treatment or recommend a lower dose until your symptoms ease.

Lung problems

Tabrecta may cause serious lung problems, but this is less common. Lung conditions reported in the drug’s clinical trials included pneumonitis and interstitial lung disease (ILD).

These lung conditions consist of inflammation (swelling and damage) in the lungs. Symptoms can include trouble breathing, cough, and fever. Pneumonitis and ILD can be severe and, rarely, may lead to death.

What you can do

Tell your doctor right away if you have breathing problems while you take Tabrecta. They’ll likely pause your use of the medication. Your doctor will also treat your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms that you have pneumonitis or ILD, they’ll have you stop taking Tabrecta. You may also need treatment in a hospital.

Chest pain

Chest pain is a possible side effect of Tabrecta treatment. Some people had chest pain in clinical trials of the drug.

Chest pain from Tabrecta is typically mild and isn’t related to your heart. Instead, the pain comes from parts of your body such as your muscles or bones.

What you can do

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), may help ease the pain.

In general, chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, but it may not be when you’re taking Tabrecta. However, if you have chest pain that doesn’t go away or becomes severe, talk with your doctor immediately. If your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Elevated liver enzymes

Tabrecta treatment may cause abnormal results on liver function tests. These tests measure the levels of liver enzymes (proteins) in your blood. If the levels become higher than usual, this can be a sign that your liver is stressed or damaged.

Symptoms of liver problems may include:

  • abdominal pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • jaundice
  • dark urine
  • itchy skin

Elevated levels of liver enzymes were reported in people taking Tabrecta in clinical trials. A few people had to stop taking the drug due to severely elevated levels. However, there were no reports of serious or permanent liver problems.

What you can do

Your doctor will monitor your liver enzyme levels before and during your treatment with Tabrecta. If the levels rise, your doctor may pause your treatment. Or they may reduce your dosage.

Tell your doctor right away if you think you have symptoms of liver problems. Your doctor may stop your Tabrecta treatment permanently.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Tabrecta can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • flushing
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Tabrecta. But if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Tabrecta. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

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 what other medications may be better options for you.

Liver problems. Taking Tabrecta may cause elevated liver enzymes, which can be a sign of liver damage. Be sure to tell your doctor about any liver problems you’ve had in the past, such as hepatitis. If your doctor prescribes Tabrecta, they’ll likely monitor you closely with frequent liver function tests.

Breathing problems. Tabrecta treatment may cause shortness of breath and serious lung inflammation. Be sure to tell your doctor if you already have a lung problem besides non-small cell lung cancer, such as asthma. Tabrecta could worsen the problem.

Alcohol use with Tabrecta

Alcohol does not cause any interactions with Tabrecta.

However, drinking excessively may cause some of the same side effects as Tabrecta. These include nausea, vomiting, and liver problems. Therefore, consuming alcohol with the medication may worsen these side effects.

If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor about how much, if any, is safe for you to consume while taking Tabrecta.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Tabrecta

Here’s some information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Tabrecta.

Pregnancy. Tabrecta is not safe to take during pregnancy. Findings from animal trials showed that the drug may cause congenital anomalies (commonly known as birth defects).

If you can become pregnant, you’ll need to take a pregnancy test before starting Tabrecta treatment. You should use birth control while you take the drug and for 1 week after your last dose. Talk with your doctor about birth control methods that are right for you.

If you’re a male* and your sexual partner can become pregnant, you should use birth control during Tabrecta treatment. You should continue to use it for 1 week after your last dose. An example of birth control is condoms. If you have questions about using birth control while taking Tabrecta, talk with your doctor.

Breastfeeding. It isn’t known for sure if Tabrecta passes into breast milk. However, you should not breastfeed during treatment and for 1 week after your last dose. This is based on the drug’s potential for serious side effects in a breastfed child.

If you’re currently breastfeeding or have plans to breastfeed, tell your doctor before taking Tabrecta. They’ll likely recommend different ways to feed your child or medication other than Tabrecta.

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

Most of Tabrecta’s common side effects are mild, however, serious side effects are possible. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you develop side effects that are serious.

If you’d like to learn more about Tabrecta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some additional reading on your own. These articles might help:

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.