Brand Name(s): Yervoy
Drug Class: Monoclonal antibodies
Treats: Melanoma or skin cancer
Ipilimumab is used to treat and stop the spread or growth of a type of skin cancer called melanoma. Ipilimumab falls under CTLA-4 antagonist drug class.
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Ipilimumab is used in the treatment of melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is typically caused by damage from ultraviolet light. Ipilimumab is a CTLA-4 antagonist that helps to destroy the cancer cells.
Ipilimumab targets the cancer cells and prevents them from growing and spreading to other areas of the body. Typically, melanoma is curable if it is caught early enough. The drug is administered intravenously.
Below you will find the different uses for Ipilimumab:
Ipilimumab is given by intravenous infusion or a drip into a vein.
- The infusion lasts for about 90 minutes.
- This is repeated every three weeks.
- Four doses are given in the early days of treatment.
Ipilimumab Side Effects
Side effects of ipilimumab happen because the drug hits the immune system, which may lead to inflammation in some body parts. They start to surface during treatment, or months later. They vary as each patient has a different reaction to the drug. Some may vanish while others remain and need treatment.
There are mild, severe and life-threatening side effects. Either way, patients should inform the doctor immediately when the following symptoms or if they feel any unusual changes in their health and body. They should not attempt to treat the symptoms with another medicine by themselves.
- Colitis causing abdominal pain, mild diarrhea, fever and vomiting
- Hepatitis leading to fatigue, nausea and liver failure
- Inflammation of the skin resulting in erythema, mouth sores and blisters
- Numbness, weakness, headache, blurred or double vision
- Weight gain, mood changes, dizziness and fainting
Ipilimumab can interact with other medicines and could lead to harmful results. It is of utmost importance that patients inform their doctor what medications they are taking, including herbal drugs, complementary therapies, and other non-prescribed medications.
Patients who admitted to hospitals for reasons other than cancer should inform the medical staff that they are undergoing cancer treatment and are taking ipilimumab. The doctor will advise patients not to father a child, become pregnant or breastfeed ipilimumab can affect the development of the baby.