Nivolumab is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. It is used to treat certain types of cancer, including melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer. It is also used to treat other types of cancer in combination with other medications.
Common side effects of nivolumab include fatigue, diarrhea, rash, and nausea. More serious side effects, such as immune-related side effects, may also occur. It is important to tell your healthcare provider about any side effects that you experience while taking nivolumab.
Nivolumab is usually only used for the treatment of cancer after other therapies have failed or are not appropriate. It is not a cure for cancer, but it can help to slow the growth and spread of cancer cells.
It is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of nivolumab with your healthcare provider to determine if it is appropriate for you.
How is it given?
Nivolumab is given by intravenous injection (into a vein) and is usually administered every two or four weeks. It may be used alone or in combination with other medications, depending on the specific cancer being treated and the individual patient’s response to the medication.
The nivolumab injection is typically given in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic. A healthcare provider will insert a needle into a vein in your arm or hand and slowly inject the medication. The injection usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for taking nivolumab and to attend all scheduled appointments for treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about the medication or the administration process, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
What are the common side effects of nivolumab?
Like all medications, nivolumab can cause side effects. The most common side effects of nivolumab include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Joint pain
- Swelling in the arms, legs, or face
- Mood changes
- Decreased appetite
Some of the common side effects can be managed by common medications. It is advised to consult your doctor if your symptoms get worse. Some of the common lifestyle changes can also help you to get relief from a few side effects.
Some people may also experience immune-related side effects with nivolumab. These side effects occur when the immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal cells in the body. Immune-related side effects can occur in any part of the body and can be serious or life-threatening.
It is also important to note that this is not a complete list of all possible side effects of nivolumab. If you have any questions or concerns about the potential side effects of this medication, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
If you experience any serious or life-threatening side effects, seek medical attention immediately.
What are the common precautions to take care of?
There are few precautions one must take while taking chemotherapy drugs. There are certain precautions that you should be aware of while taking nivolumab. Here are some things to consider:
- Nivolumab can lower your immune system’s ability to fight infections, so it is important to take precautions to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands often and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have any pre-existing infections before starting treatment with nivolumab.
- Nivolumab may interact with other medications, so it is important to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
- Some medications can weaken the effectiveness of nivolumab or increase the risk of side effects. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you avoid certain medications while taking nivolumab.
- Nivolumab may cause side effects that can affect your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. It is important to discuss your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery with your healthcare provider.
- Nivolumab may cause fetal harm when used during pregnancy. It is important to use effective birth control while taking this medication and to tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- It is important to attend all scheduled appointments for treatment with nivolumab. Do not discontinue taking the drug until the doctor advises you.
- If you experience any serious or life-threatening side effects while taking nivolumab, seek medical attention immediately.
It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for taking nivolumab and to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the medication with them.