Nivolumab (brand name- Opdivo) is an FDA-approved treatment used alone or in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy) to treat certain types of melanoma (a type of skin cancer), and any affected tissue and lymph nodes, lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer; NSCLC), Kidney, head and neck cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It is also used to treat urothelial cancer (cancer of the lining of the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract), colorectal cancer (cancer that begins in the large intestine), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC; a type of liver cancer), esophageal squamous cell cancer (cancer of the tube that connects your throat to your stomach) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (a type of cancer that affects the inside lining of the lungs and chest cavity) in adults that cannot be removed by surgery.
Nivolumab is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It works by helping your immune system slow or stop cancer cell growth.
Let us walk you through key things you need to know about nivolumab
How should I take Nivolumab (Opdivo)?
Nivolumab is injected into a vein over 30 minutes by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or medical facility. Nivolumab may cause serious or life-threatening reactions during an infusion. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment.
Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of Nivolumab (Opdivo)?
Common side effects
- joint, back, jaw, or bone pain
- muscle pain or weakness
- dry, cracked, scaly skin
- redness, swelling, or pain on the palms of your hand or soles of your feet
- mouth sores
- dry eyes or mouth
- tiredness or weakness
- feeling cold
- deepening of voice or hoarseness
- changes in weight (gain or loss)
- changes in mood or behavior (decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness)
- new or worsening cough
- hair loss
- itching, rash, hives, or blisters on your skin
- yellowing of skin or eyes
- swelling of face, arms, legs, feet, or ankles
- loss of appetite
Serious side effects
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood
- chest pain
- stomach area pain or tenderness
- stools that are black, tarry, sticky, or contain blood
- neck stiffness
- pain, burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet
- headaches, including those that are unusual or will not go away
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- dizziness or fainting
- dark-colored urine
- bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
- pain on the right side of the stomach area
- increased thirst
- decreased or increased urination
- blood in urine
- changes in vision
- breath that smells fruity
Nivolumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What Special Precautions Should I Follow?
Before receiving a nivolumab (Opdivo)
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or ever had any other disease, symptom, or treatment
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you.
while you are on nivolumab (opdivo)
- If you become pregnant while receiving nivolumab injection, call your doctor immediately. Nivolumab injection may harm the fetus.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You should not breastfeed while receiving nivolumab injection and for five months after your final dose.
I forgot a Dose. What should I do?
If you miss an appointment to receive nivolumab injection, call your doctor as soon as possible.
What Dietary Instructions Should I Follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Last Revised – 06/19/2023, FDA-updated-02/27/2021, SG
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