Nivolumab, whose trade name is Opdivo, is a drug that is used to treat advanced stages of metastatic or unresectable melanoma cancer. The human devised drug is meant to block anti-bodies in the patient, allowing for better treatment and care. Here is a comprehensive list detailing all Opdivo side effects.
Nivolumab is usually administered to a patient intravenously every two-weeks for a period of 60-minutes. The dose administered depends on the progression of your disease, your doctor’s recommendation, and your overall health.
Increased doses of Nivolumab do not help in speeding up the treatment process and in-fact cause toxicity in the patient in most cases.
Although there are a number of side-effects listed with the use of Opdivo, almost all of these are treatable and reversible. Also, there is no correlation what-so-ever, between the adversity of side-effects and efficiency of the medication.
While many patients do not experience any side-effects, what you could look out for is:
Most common effects
Patients treated with Nivolumab often complain of tiredness and lack of energy. This also stems from decreased appetite, frequent musculoskeletal pain, as well as a persistent cough. If you cannot bear the pain, speak to your doctor who will try and provide you with a solution. These symptoms are seen in more than 30% of the patients treated with Nivolumab.
Along with cough and pain, you may also experience other symptoms, like diarrhea, constipation, weakness, vomiting, rash, fever and abnormalities in the blood like anemia, increase serum AST, increased alkaline phosphatase and increased serum ALT. If you experience any of the above-mentioned side-effects that are noticeable, inform your doctor about the same. These symptoms occur among 10% to 29% of the patients.
Very rare effects of being treated with Nivolumab include immune-mediated: pneumonitis, colitis, nephritis and renal dysfunction, hepatitis, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism; on account of the drug persistently blocking anti-bodies in the blood, leaving you susceptible to diseases.
If you should ever experience a high fever (above 100.4 degrees) you should contact your doctor immediately. You should do the same in case you experience itchy and painful rashes, blisters, constriction of your chest, uneasiness of breath or swelling around the face.