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Yervoy

Generic Name: ipilimumab (IP i LIM ue mab)
Brand Names: Yervoy

Medically reviewed on July 12, 2018

What is Yervoy?

See also: Xeloda

Yervoy (ipilimumab) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Yervoy is used to treat melanoma (skin cancer) that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body. It is also used to prevent melanoma from coming back after surgery, including lymph node removal.

Yervoy is also used to treat kidney cancer, and a certain type of colorectal cancer, when given in combination with another medicine called nivolumab (Opdivo).

Important Information

Before you receive Yervoy, tell your doctor if you have liver damage, an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or sarcoidosis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or if you have received an organ transplant.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Yervoy. Serious and sometimes fatal reactions may occur during treatment with Yervoy or months after stopping. Contact your doctor at once if you have symptoms such as:

  • diarrhea, increased bowel movements, black or bloody stools, stomach tenderness;

  • right-sided upper stomach pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), easy bruising or bleeding;

  • unusual muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;

  • unusual headaches, feeling cold or tired, weight gain, dizzy spells, mood changes, irritability, confusion;

  • mouth sores, skin rash with or without itching, blistering or peeling, skin sores with bleeding; or

  • eye pain or vision problems.

    Before taking this medicine

    You should not receive Yervoy if you are allergic to ipilimumab.

    Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

    Yervoy may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 3 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

    In animal studies, Yervoy caused miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, stillbirth, and infant death. However, it is not known whether these effects would occur in humans. Ask your doctor about your risk.

    You should not breast-feed while you are receiving ipilimumab and for at least 3 months after your last dose.

    Yervoy is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.

    How is Yervoy given?

    Yervoy is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

    This medicine must be given slowly, and the infusion can take up to 90 minutes to complete.

    Yervoy is usually given once every 3 weeks for up to 4 doses. Additional doses may be given once every 2 to 12 weeks. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

    You may be given other medications to treat or prevent certain side effects.

    You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medicine is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

    Yervoy dosing information

    Usual Adult Dose for Melanoma - Metastatic:

    3 mg/kg IV over 90 minutes every 3 weeks for a maximum of 4 doses

    Comment:
    -In the event of toxicity, doses may be delayed, but all treatment must be administered within 16 weeks of the first dose.

    Use: For the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma

    Usual Adult Dose for Malignant Melanoma of Skin:

    10 mg/kg IV over 90 minutes every 3 weeks for 4 doses, followed by 10 mg/kg every 12 weeks for up to 3 years or until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity

    Comments:
    -In the event of toxicity, doses should be omitted, not delayed.

    Use: Adjuvant treatment of patients with cutaneous melanoma with pathologic involvement of regional lymph nodes of more than 1 mm who have undergone complete resection, including total lymphadenectomy

    Usual Adult Dose for Renal Cell Carcinoma:

    Nivolumab 3 mg/kg IV over 30 minutes, followed by ipilimumab 1 mg/kg IV over 30 minutes on the same day, every 3 weeks for 4 doses; after completing 4 doses of the combination, administer nivolumab as a single agent, either 240 mg IV over 30 minutes every 2 weeks OR 480 mg IV over 30 minutes every 4 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity

    Comments:
    -Review the full prescribing information for nivolumab prior to initiation.

    Use: For intermediate or poor risk, previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in combination with nivolumab

    Usual Pediatric Dose for Melanoma - Metastatic:

    12 years and older:
    3 mg/kg IV over 90 minutes every 3 weeks for a maximum of 4 doses

    Comment:
    -In the event of toxicity, doses may be delayed, but all treatment must be administered within 16 weeks of the first dose.

    Use: For the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in pediatric patients 12 years and older

    What other drugs will affect Yervoy?

    Other drugs may interact with ipilimumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

    See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

    What happens if I miss a dose?

    Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Yervoy injection.

    What happens if I overdose?

    Since Yervoy is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

    What should I avoid while receiving Yervoy?

    Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

    Yervoy side effects

    Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Yervoy: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

    Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver if you feel dizzy, itchy, warm, tingly, feverish, chilled, or light-headed.

    Serious and sometimes fatal reactions may occur during treatment with Yervoy or months after stopping. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as:

    • diarrhea, black or bloody stools, stomach pain or tenderness;

    • dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

    • neck stiffness, headache, feeling cold or tired;

    • mood changes, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations;

    • a seizure;

    • memory problems, trouble with daily activities;

    • muscle weakness, numbness or tingling;

    • chest pain, cough, feeling short of breath;

    • mouth sores, skin rash, blistering or peeling of the skin; or

    • eye pain or vision problems.

    Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

    Common Yervoy side effects may include:

    • fever, cough;

    • nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss;

    • rash or itching;

    • headache, tiredness; or

    • pain in your muscles, joints, or bones.

    This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

    See also: Side effects (in more detail)

    What other drugs will affect Yervoy?

    Other drugs may interact with ipilimumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

    Further information

    Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Yervoy only for the indication prescribed.

    Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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