Generic Name: Ipilimumab (ip i LIM u mab)
Brand Name: Yervoy
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 9, 2019.
- This medicine may cause very bad and sometimes deadly side effects. These side effects may happen anywhere in the body. Most of the time, they happen in the bowels, liver, skin, and nerves. They may also affect organs that change hormone levels in the body. Side effects that happen in the nerves can lead to not being able to move a part of the body (paralysis). Most of the time, these side effects have happened during the use of ipilimumab but sometimes have happened weeks to months after ipilimumab was stopped. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of bowel problems like black, tarry, or bloody stools; fever; mucus in the stools; throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; or very bad stomach pain, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Signs of hormone problems like change in how you act, dizziness or passing out, feeling cold all the time, feeling sluggish, lowered interest in sex, memory problems, mood changes, very bad headache, weight gain.
- Signs of a very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in the mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- Signs of nerve problems like a burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal; weakness; or not being able to move a part of the body (paralysis).
Uses of Ipilimumab:
- It is used to treat a type of skin cancer (melanoma).
- It is used to treat kidney cancer.
- It is used to treat colorectal cancer.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ipilimumab?
- If you have an allergy to ipilimumab or any other part of ipilimumab.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take ipilimumab or for 3 months after your last dose.
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take ipilimumab with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Ipilimumab?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take ipilimumab. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- This medicine may be used with another drug called nivolumab. Some side effects may happen more often when ipilimumab is used with nivolumab. Some side effects can be deadly. If you are also using nivolumab, talk with your doctor about the risks and side effects that may happen.
- Some people have had side effects during the infusion. Sometimes, these could be very bad or life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects during the infusion: back or neck pain, chills or shaking, dizziness, feeling like passing out, fever, flushing, itching, rash, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, or wheezing.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use of some vaccines with ipilimumab may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Eye problems have happened with ipilimumab. Some types of eye problems may need to be treated right away to lower the chance of long-lasting eyesight loss. Call your doctor right away if you have any changes in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking ipilimumab and for 3 months after the last dose.
- If you get pregnant while taking ipilimumab or within 3 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Ipilimumab) best taken?
Use ipilimumab as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of thyroid, pituitary, or adrenal gland problems. Some signs may be change in mood or the way you act, change in weight, constipation, deeper voice, dizziness, fainting, feeling cold, feeling very tired, hair loss, headache that lasts or is very bad, or lowered interest in sex.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of lung or breathing problems like shortness of breath or other trouble breathing, cough, or fever.
- Signs of meningitis like headache with fever, stiff neck, upset stomach, confusion, or if lights bother the eyes.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Change in bowel habits.
- A very bad heart problem (myocarditis) has happened with ipilimumab. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a big weight gain, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, chest pain or pressure, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling in the arms or legs, or very bad dizziness or passing out.
What are some other side effects of Ipilimumab?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Not hungry.
- Not able to sleep.
- Weight loss.
- Back pain.
- Bone or joint pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Ipilimumab?
- If you need to store ipilimumab at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time ipilimumab is refilled. If you have any questions about ipilimumab, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about ipilimumab
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
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- Drug class: anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies
Other brands: Yervoy