Welcome to CRC 101!
The Basics
Biomarker Testing And Me
All About Scans And Imaging
Chemotherapy And Targeted Therapies
Radiation
Need Help Navigating?
Print Me Out!
Questions? Feedback?

Braftovi: Side effects

Encorafenib (Braftovi) is a targeted therapy, which is used in combination with cetuximab to treat patients with BRAF mutations. This drug combo is often referred to as the “Beacon doublet” or “doublet therapy.” Generally, the side effects from Braftovi are mild — although patients will probably experience side effects from cetuximab. 

Here are some side effects you may experience:

Whew, sounds like a lot, right? Remember that you likely won’t experience all of these side effects — because everyone’s bodies are different. 

If you ever feel like you can’t manage your side effects and symptoms, don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor about pre-meds or complimentary meds to manage them. You can also ask for a referral to the palliative care specialist or team at your cancer center. It’s important to note that palliative care is not the same as hospice care. Palliative care helps patients manage symptoms, and it can be extremely helpful for many people.

Remember that it’s important to check in with your healthcare team before starting any supplements, complementary therapies or fasting regimens. These treatments might not be appropriate for everyone — and some may even interfere with chemotherapy.

Let’s get into some side effects you might experience…

Nausea or vomiting

This is an extremely common treatment side effect. Nausea usually lasts for a few days to a week after infusion.

Here are some tips: 
  • Take pre-meds. Your oncologist will likely prescribe anti-nausea medications like dexamethasone, Compazine, Zofran, Ativan, and Akynzeo. Even if you don’t feel sick, take your medications as prescribed. It’s much easier to prevent nausea than it is to treat it once it has started
  • Stay well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and receiving fluids post-infusion can help with nausea
  • Eat a small amount of bland food, like rice or bread
  • Choose foods that sound appealing to you. If you’re craving Cheetos, follow your gut. Avoid foods with strong smells
  • Try ginger tea, candies or gummies
  • Try acupuncture or acupressure
  • Look into deep breathing or muscle relaxation techniques

Fatigue

Feeling tired is one of the most common side effects for people going through treatment. It’s important to remember that your body is going through a lot.

Here are some tips:
  • Listen to your body. Take naps and rest when you need to
  • Try some light exercises. Going for a walk can help raise your energy levels
  • Notice patterns in your treatment cycle. Do your best to plan activities that require a lot of energy on the days you normally feel best
  • Ask friends and family to help with things like cooking, childcare, shopping and housework. Gift certificates for cleaning services or food delivery can be great gifts to ask for

Bone and joint pain

Braftovi can cause soreness or stiffness in your bones and joints. Talk to your oncologist if you experience these symptoms.

Here are some tips:
  • Stretching and gentle exercise may help reduce joint pain. Weight management can also help reduce stress on the joints
  • Try hot or cold compresses, heating pads, or ice packs
  • Accupuncture may help
  • Massage therapists with experience working with cancer patients can do gentle massages to ease joint pain
  • A physical therapist can help restore function in the joint, and teach you how to relieve pain using exercises at home

Skin changes

You might experience extremely dry skin, resulting in painful cuts on your hands and feet. Apply a good moisturizer throughout the day, particularly after washing your hands or washing dishes. Many patients on this drug combo also experience skin rashes — although that side effect is caused by cetuximab, rather than Braftovi.

For more information on cetuximab side effects, click here

Vision changes

Some patients on Braftovi experience changes in their vision. This can include loss of vision, blurred vision, eye pain, redness or swelling. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your team as soon as possible. It’s important that they assess the severity of your symptoms.

When should I contact my care team?

It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notes about your side effects, so you can discuss them with your oncologist at your next appointment. This can help you advocate for changes to your pre-meds and home meds as necessary. Be sure to discuss possible side effects with your oncologist, so you know what’s normal and what might be concerning. Before your first treatment, you should have been given a 24-hour phone number to call in case of severe symptoms.

Some of these symptoms include:

  • Persistent high fever
  • Chest pain or chest discomfort
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding that won’t stop
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual or intense pain
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as severe itching, swollen tongue, or difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting

Want to learn more about side effects and how to manage them?

Join one of our COLONTOWN Facebook groups:

  • Join Tom & Con’s BRAF+ Clinic to discuss all things related to BRAF mutations and treatment options
  • Corner Cupboard is a place to discuss treatment side effects and management
  • If you’re suffering from late or long-lasting side effects related to treatment, check out The Late Show
  • Palliative Pathways can teach you how your palliative care team can help you
  • In the Healthy Gut Cafe and Fitness Center, you can learn about how diet and exercise can help improve quality of life during treatment
  • Join Live Wire to learn about icing strategies and ways to cope with neuropathy
  • Cognitive Way is here to help people struggling with chemo brain

Want to join? Fill out the registration form here.