Ipilimumab - intravenous

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Ipilimumab is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain types of skin cancer.

This medicine may also be used together with other medicines to treat cancer of the kidneys, lungs, colon (large intestine), and liver.

Ipilimumab may be used to treat other types of cancer as decided by your doctor.
How do I use this medicine?
Ipilimumab injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein) as an infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.

Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.

The dose of Ipilimumab will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on the type and severity of your condition and your response to the medication.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Ipilimumab.

If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
When should I not use this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you have a severe active autoimmune disease (a condition where the body mistakenly attacks normal cells) as Ipilimumab may not be suitable for you.

Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for 3 months after stopping the treatment.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • persistent or history of recurring infections
  • history of autoimmune disease
  • well-controlled myasthenia gravis (muscle weakness disorder)
  • cancer that originates from other parts of the body and spreads to the brain
  • scarring or inflammation of the lungs
  • previously experienced a severe skin side effects due to prior cancer therapy
  • have had bone marrow transplant that used stem cells obtained from a donor (allogeneic)
  • elevated liver enzymes
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.

It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Ipilimumab. You must use proven birth control methods during treatment and for at least 3 months after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.

Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.

Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
  • Screening and assessment of tumour status may be needed to check the appropriateness of this medicine.
  • Pregnancy tests must be done before treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to use.
  • Routine tests (e.g. liver, kidney and thyroid function, electrolyte levels) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
  • Regular monitoring for signs and symptoms of severe side effects may also be needed. 
What side effects could I experience?
Ipilimumab may cause tiredness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Other side effects include any of the following: headache, dizziness, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, feeling confused, itching or dryness of skin, rash, hair loss, flushing, joint or muscle pain, and injection site reactions.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
  • rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
  • pass out bloody or black as tar stools and vomiting blood or ground coffee-like material
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
  • decrease in the amount of urine passed, blood in urine
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, loss of consciousness, muscle weakness or pain
  • sensitivity of the eyes to light, feeling cold, excessive sweating, weight gain or loss, increased hunger or thirst, unusual tiredness, behavioural or mood changes, decreased sex drive
  • irregular or abnormal heartbeat
  • eye pain or redness, blurry or double vision temporary loss of sight
  • new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.

Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.

White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.

Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).

Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I use this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
  • anti-inflammatory medicines
  • blood-thinning medicines
  • vemurafenib (other medicine for certain skin cancer)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Ipilimumab.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.

Protect from light.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on ipilimumab - intravenous and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2024 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by MIMS.com
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