This is a summary of the European public assessment report (EPAR) for Tafinlar. It explains how the European Medicines Agency assessed the medicine to recommend its authorisation in the European Union (EU) and its conditions of use. It is not intended to provide practical advice on how to use Tafinlar.
For practical information about using Tafinlar, patients should read the package leaflet or contact their doctor or pharmacist.
- What is Tafinlar and what is it used for?
Tafinlar is an anticancer medicine that contains the active substance dabrafenib. It is used to treat adults with melanoma (a type of skin cancer) that has spread to other parts of the body or cannot be surgically removed. Tafinlar is only for patients whose melanoma tumour cells have been tested and shown to have a specific mutation (change) called ‘BRAF V600’ in their genes.
- How is Tafinlar used?
Treatment with Tafinlar must be started and supervised by a doctor experienced in the use of anticancer medicines. The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription.
Tafinlar is available as capsules (50 and 75 mg). It is given at a recommended dose of 150 mg twice a day, taken at least one hour before or two hours after a meal. Treatment should continue for as long as possible, until the disease worsens or the side effects become too severe. Treatment may need to be interrupted or stopped, or the dose reduced, if the patient experiences certain side effects. For further information, see the summary of product characteristics (also part of the EPAR).
- How does Tafinlar work?
The active substance in Tafinlar, dabrafenib, works by blocking BRAF, a protein involved in stimulating cell division. In melanoma tumours with the BRAF V600 mutation, an abnormal form of BRAF is present, which plays a role in the development of the cancer by allowing uncontrolled division of the tumour cells. By blocking the action of the abnormal BRAF, Tafinlar helps to slow down the growth and spread of the cancer. Tafinlar is only given to patients whose melanoma tumours are caused by the BRAF V600 mutation.
- What benefits of Tafinlar have been shown in studies?
Tafinlar has been studied in one main study involving 250 patients with melanoma that had spread to other parts of the body or could not be surgically removed, and whose melanoma had a BRAF V600 mutation. Tafinlar was compared with the anticancer medicine dacarbazine, and the main measure of effectiveness was how long patients lived until their disease got worse (progression-free survival). In this study Tafinlar was more effective than dacarbazine in controlling the disease: it took on average 6.9 months before the disease got worse in patients given Tafinlar, compared with 2.7 months in patients given dacarbazine.
- What are the risks associated with Tafinlar?
The most common side effects with Tafinlar (which may affect more than 1 in 10 people) are papilloma (warts), decreased appetite, headache, cough, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperkeratosis (thickening and toughening of the skin), alopecia (hair loss), rash, hand-foot syndrome (rash and numbness on the palms and soles), arthralgia and myalgia (pain in the joints and muscles), pain in extremities, fever, chills, tiredness and weakness. For the full list of all side effects reported with Tafinlar, see the package leaflet.
- Why is Tafinlar approved?
The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) decided that Tafinlar’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be approved for use in the EU. The Committee considered that Tafinlar had convincingly shown a clinically relevant benefit in patients whose melanoma had a BRAF V600 mutation and had spread or was not surgically removable. The side effects were considered acceptable and manageable with appropriate measures.
- What measures are being taken to ensure the safe and effective use of Tafinlar?
A risk-management plan has been developed to ensure that Tafinlar is used as safely as possible. Based on this plan, safety information has been included in the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet for Tafinlar, including the appropriate precautions to be followed by healthcare professionals and patients.
- Other information about Tafinlar
The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Tafinlar on 26 August 2013.
This EPAR was last updated on 18/09/2013 .
26/08/2013 Tafinlar -EMEA/H/C/002604
- Annex I - Summary of product characteristics
- Annex IIA - Manufacturing-authorisation holder responsible for batch release
- Annex IIB - Conditions of the marketing authorisation
- Annex IIIA - Labelling
- Annex IIIB - Package leaflet
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Antineoplastic agents, protein
Treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation.
Changes since initial authorisation of medicine
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Initial marketing-authorisation documents
This medicine is approved for use in the European Union