Nivolumab,or, Opdivo

Nivolumab,or, Opdivo

Patient-friendly review of Opdivo or Nivolumab, approved by the FDA in 2014 to treat many diseases including Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), metastatic melanoma, adjuvant treatment of melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), bladder cancer, head and neck cancer, liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), etc.

Cancer cells have the ability to ‘ hide’ themselves from the immune system and tricking it to think that it’s part of the normal body cells. Opdivo works by helping the T-cells in the body to identify cancer cells by blocking the mechanisms that allow it from hiding away.

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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The recommended dosages for bladder cancer, adjuvant treatment of melanoma, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and liver cancer are 240 mg IV over 30 minutes every 2 weeks.

The combination of Opdivo and Ipilimumab is used for metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. 

 

Metastatic melanoma:

  • 240 mg IV over 30 minutes every 2 weeks or 480 mg every 4 weeks
  • On the same day, 1 mg/kg of Opdivo followed by Ipilimumab every 3 weeks for 4 doses and then 240 mg IV of Opdivo over 30 minutes every 2 weeks or 480 mg every 4 weeks

Renal cell carcinoma: 

  • 240 mg IV over 30 minutes every 2 weeks or 480 mg every 4 weeks
  • On the same day, 3 mg/kg of Opdivo followed by 1 mg/kg of Ipilimumab every 3 weeks for 4 doses and then 240 mg IV of Opdivo over 30 minutes every 2 weeks or 480 mg every 4 weeks

Common side effects that more than 20% of patients who use Opdivo get are fatigue, rash, diarrhea,   abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, itching of the skin, shortness of breath, incline in body temperature and musculoskeletal pain.

Common side effects of using Opdivo and Ipilimumab for melanoma and renal cell carcinoma are fatigue, rash, nausea, diarrhea and an increase in body ttemperature.

Precautions: Because of the way the medication works there is potential in causing T-cells in the immune system to attack healthy cells as well. 

  • Immune-mediated pneumonitis, Immune-mediated colitis, Immune-mediated hepatitis, Immune-mediated nephritis, Immune-mediated encephalitis etc. 
  • Damaging the embryo (embryo-fetal toxicity) if the medical drug is used during pregnancy.

The usage of Opdivo and Ipilimumab (Yervoy) can give adverse reactions such as pneumonitis, colitis, hepatitis, nephritis, encephalitis, hormonal gland problems and skin problems. 

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