Ipilimumab (By injection)

Introduction

Ipilimumab (ip-i-LIM-ue-mab)

Treats melanoma (skin cancer). Also helps prevent melanoma from coming back after surgical removal.

Brand Name(s)

Yervoy

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein. This medicine must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least 90 minutes.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after your last dose of this medicine.
  • Do not breastfeed during treatment and for 3 months after your last dose of this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you have liver disease or an autoimmune disease (such as Crohn disease, lupus, or sarcoidosis).
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Enterocolitis (inflammation inside the colon and intestines)
    • Hepatitis (inflammation in the liver)
    • Serious skin reactions
    • Nerve problems, which may lead to paralysis
    • Adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid gland problems
    • Other problems caused by the immune system, including eye inflammation
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Blurred vision, trouble seeing, eye pain, or other vision changes
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Pain in the abdomen, diarrhea that may contain blood, fever
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in your mouth or on your lips
  • Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Weakness, headaches, tiredness, weight changes, or feeling unusually cold or hot

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild diarrhea
  • Headache

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/12/2016

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