Opdivo

1 What is Opdivo?

Brand: Opdivo

Generic: Nivolumab

Opdivo injection is a monoclonal antibody used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat melanoma and metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

This drug is also indicated for the treatment of kidney cancer in patients who have received other drugs.

This drug changes the immune system and helps control the growth of cancer cells. This drug is to be given only by or under the supervision of your healthcare professional.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Opdivo, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications.

Studies in children regarding the correlation of age to the effects of nivolumab injection have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established.

Studies in the elderly have not demonstrated any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of nivolumab injection. Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate.

Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding.

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription drugs. Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your doctor if you have any other medical problems such as:

  • Crohn disease
  • Immune system problems
  • Kidney or Liver diseases
  • Lung or Breathing problems
  • Stomach or Bowel problems
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Thyroid problems
  • Ulcerative colitis

3 Proper Usage

To use Opdivo properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. Cancer drugs are very robust and can have many side effects. Discuss with your healthcare professional about potential the risks and benefits of this drug before taking it.

A trained healthcare professional will give you this drug. This drug is administered intravenously through a needle placed in one of your veins. It must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for 60 minutes and the infusion will be given every 2 weeks.

This drug needs to be given on a fixed schedule. Call your health care professional or pharmacist for instructions if you miss a dose or forget to use your drug.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Opdivo, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug. Unwanted effects can be screened using blood tests.

This drug has teratogenic potential and it is recommended to use effective forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for at least 5 months after the last dose of this drug.

Inform your healthcare professional immediately if you think you have become pregnant while using this drug. Inform your healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms of a lung problem such as a cough, chest tightness, or any type of breathing problem with this drug.

Inform your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of colitis such as:

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms of a liver problem such as:

  • Pain or tenderness in the upper stomach
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • A loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Yellow eyes or skin

This drug may cause adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid gland problems.

Inform your healthcare professional immediately if you have changes in:

  • Mood or Behavior
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin or hair
  • Feeling cold
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight changes
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the face, feet, or lower legs
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Unusual weight gain

Check with your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of encephalitis such as a headache, confusion, seizures, stiff neck, vomiting while using this drug.

Seek immediate medical attention if you start to have symptoms of infusion reaction such as skin rash, dizziness, trouble breathing, chest tightness, swelling in your face or hands, fever or chills while you are receiving this drug.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Opdivo. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • Back pain
  • Blistering, Peeling, or Loosening of the skin
  • Chest tightness
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Depressed
  • Mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Feeling cold
  • Fever
  • Flushing
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness or husky voice
  • Itching
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Muscle cramps and stiffness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Red, Irritated eyes
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Sore throat
  • Sores, Ulcers, or White spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Chest pain
  • Dark urine
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Light-colored stools
  • Nervousness
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Tenderness
  • Thickening of bronchial secretions
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Bloating
  • Bloody or Cloudy urine
  • Blurred vision or other change in vision
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Eye pain
  • Fainting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mental depression
  • Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • Redness of the eye
  • Sensitivity of the eye to light
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling of the face, feet, or lower legs
  • Tearing

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the drug, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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