Other Name: Yervoy®
About This Drug
Ipilimumab is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Colitis. This is swelling (inflammation) in the colon. Symptoms are:
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Stomach cramping
- Sometimes blood in the bowel movements
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Rash and itching
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 5% or greater of patients treated with ipilimumab. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
This drug works with your immune system and can cause inflammation in any of your organs and tissues and can change how they work. This may put you at risk for developing serious medical problems which can very rarely be fatal.
Severe allergic skin reaction which can very rarely be fatal. You may develop blisters on your skin that are filled with fluid or a severe red rash all over your body that may be painful.
Severe colitis which can very rarely be fatal. This is swelling (inflammation) in the colon.
Changes in your liver function which can very rarely cause liver failure and be fatal. Your liver function will be checked as needed.
This drug may affect some of your hormone glands (especially the thyroid, adrenals, pituitary and pancreas). Your hormone levels will be checked as needed.
Inflammation of your nerves. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people. Very rarely, this can affect the nerves and muscles in your upper and lower body and cause paralysis. • Inflammation of your eye and/or other changes in eyesight. Important Information
This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.
Treating Side Effects
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
- Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- To help with weight loss, drink fluids that contribute calories (whole milk, juice, soft drinks, sweetened beverages, milkshakes, and nutritional supplements) instead of water.
- Include a source of protein at every meal and snack, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.
- If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
- To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
- If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
- Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
- If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your nurse or doctor on tips to help you sleep better.
- If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of ipilimumab with food or other medications.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
- Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and fatigue (low energy, feeling weak)
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- Pain in your abdomen that does not go away
- Blood in your stool
- Headache that does not go away
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Signs of possible liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
- A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Numbness, tingling, or pain your hands and feet
- If you think you may be pregnant
- Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
- Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should not breast feed during treatment and for 3 months after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
- Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.