Skip to Content

Opdivo Side Effects

Generic Name: nivolumab

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug nivolumab. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Opdivo.

For the Consumer

Applies to nivolumab: intravenous solution

As well as its needed effects, nivolumab (the active ingredient contained in Opdivo) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking nivolumab, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

More common:
  • 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
Less common:
  • 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

Minor Side Effects

Some nivolumab side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Stuffy or runny nose

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nivolumab: intravenous solution


Very common (10% or more): Rash (21%), pruritus (19%), vitiligo (11%), erythema (10%)
Frequency not reported: Exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, vitiligo, psoriasis, immune-mediated rash[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Elevated AST (28%), elevated alkaline phosphatase (22%), elevated ALT (16%)
Common (1% to 10%): Elevated total bilirubin, immune-mediated hepatitis
Frequency not reported: Increased amylase, increased lipase[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea or colitis (21%)
Common (1% to 10%): Immune-mediated colitis, nausea, vomiting
Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated pancreatitis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Cough (17%), upper respiratory tract infection (17%)
Common (1% to 10%): Pneumonitis, immune-mediated pneumonitis, dyspnea[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Increased serum creatinine (13%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Immune-mediated nephritis, immune-mediated renal dysfunction[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Peripheral edema (10%)
Frequency not reported: Ventricular arrhythmia[Ref]


The most commonly reported adverse reaction in clinical trials was rash; a composite term including the following rashes maculopapular, erythematous, pruritic, follicular, macular, papular, pustular, vesicular, and dermatitis acneiform.[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism
Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated hypopituitarism, immune-mediated hypophysitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Dizziness, peripheral and sensory neuropathy, immune-mediated demyelination, immune-mediated facial and abducens nerve paresis, immune-mediated myasthenic syndrome, immune-mediated encephalitis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Infusion-related reactions[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Iridocyclitis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (28%)
Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated adrenal insufficiency, immune-mediated diabetic ketoacidosis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated uveitis, immune-mediated autoimmune neuropathy, immune-mediated Guillain-Barre Syndrome[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Musculoskeletal pain, back pain (21%), arthralgia (20%)
Frequency not reported: Pain in extremity[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (49%)
Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Opdivo (nivolumab)." Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

It is possible that some side effects of Opdivo may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.