Information About IBRANCE for Targeted Treatment of Breast Cancer

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • IBRANCE is a prescription drug that can keep breast cancer cells from growing, slowing disease progression. Get answers to your questions about this treatment.

IBRANCE is an oral medication used to treat some types of breast cancer. It is a brand-name drug with a typical dosage of 125 mg.

How Does IBRANCE Work?

IBRANCE contains palbociclib as the active ingredient. This endocrine therapy slows or stops the action of protein molecules that encourage cancer cell growth. Doctors often prescribe IBRANCE along with hormone therapy for breast cancer patients who don't have the HER-2 gene. Patients usually take this drug once a day for 21 days, then take a 7-day break before beginning another 28-day cycle. 

Is IBRANCE Chemotherapy?

IBRANCE is different from standard chemotherapy. It is a targeted therapy called a CDK 4/6 inhibitor. Because this type of drug stops the growth of healthy cells while fighting off cancer cells, many people experience similar side effects as experienced with chemotherapy.

IBRANCE Side Effects

If your doctor puts you on IBRANCE for breast cancer treatment, you may experience dry skin, fatigue, weakness, sores or irritation in the mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hair thinning or loss, and nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare team can prescribe other medications to help with the side effects you might experience while on this cancer drug.

Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you develop nonhealing wounds, sores in the mouth, pain during urination, excessive or discolored mucus, uncontrolled cough, sinus or ear pain, sore throat, chills or fever. Wash your hands often to prevent infection while taking IBRANCE. You should use birth control to avoid getting pregnant when taking this medication as it can cause fetal harm. 

Does Medicare Cover IBRANCE?

Most Medicare prescription drug plans cover IBRANCE as long as your healthcare provider says it is medically necessary. This includes both Medicare Part D and Advantage plans. However, you may need to meet a deductible before the plan starts paying for your medication. The maximum annual prescription drug deductible for Medicare is $545 in 2024. Without coverage, IBRANCE may cost between $3,409 and $13,635.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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