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Yervoy is a medicine used to treat a kind of skin cancer called melanoma that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. Yervoy may also be used to help prevent melanoma from coming back after it and lymph nodes that contain cancer have been removed by surgery. Yervoy is administered intravenously (injected into the vein).
How does this medication work?
Yervoy is thought to work with the body's immune system to increase the activity of T cells (a type of white blood cell in the immune system that protects the body from infection). When T cells are more active, it can help the body to fight cancer.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
Treatment: In clinical studies, people who received Yervoy alone and people who received Yervoy plus another experimental drug showed an average overall survival of 10 months. People who received the experimental drug alone showed a median overall survival of 6 months.
Prevention: In clinical studies, half of the people receiving Yervoy were melanoma-free at 26 months compared to 17 months for those who did not receive treatment with Yervoy.
When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
How do I know it is working?
Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly and may ask you questions to assess how well your condition is controlled.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
Yervoy can cause serious and life-threatening side effects in many parts of your body. These problems may happen anytime during treatment with Yervoy or after you have completed treatment. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of these signs or symptoms or they get worse:
Intestinal problems that can cause tears or holes in the intestines, with symptoms such as diarrhea (loose stools) or more bowel movements than usual; blood in your stools or dark, tarry, sticky stools; or stomach pain or tenderness.
Liver problems that can lead to liver failure, with symptoms such as yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, dark urine (tea colored), nausea or vomiting, pain on the right side of your abdomen (stomach area), or bleeding or bruising more easily than normal.
Skin problems that can lead to severe skin reactions, with symptoms such as skin rash with or without itching, sores in your mouth, or skin blistering or peeling.
Nerve problems that can lead to paralysis, with symptoms such as unusual weakness of the legs, arms, or face, or numbness or tingling in hands or feet.
Hormone gland problems (especially the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands), with symptoms such as persistent or unusual headaches, unusual sluggishness, feeling cold all the time, weight gain, dizziness or fainting, or changes in mood or behavior (such as decreased sex drive, irritability, or forgetfulness).
More common side effects may include: tiredness, diarrhea, itching, rash, nausea, vomiting, headache, weight loss, fever, decreased appetite, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Less common side effects may include:
Eye problems with symptoms such as eye pain or redness, blurry vision, double vision, or other vision problems.
Harm to your unborn baby if used during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Your healthcare provider will not administer Yervoy to you if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Yervoy. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have immune system problems (such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, lupus, or sarcoidosis), have had an organ transplant, have liver problems, are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you, based on your body weight and the condition being treated.
Your healthcare provider will administer Yervoy to you.
Yervoy is given to you in your vein through an intravenous line over 90 minutes.
Your healthcare provider will decide how many treatments you will need.
Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.
No significant interactions have been reported with Yervoy at this time. However, always tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Yervoy can harm your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with Yervoy and for 3 months after the last dose. The effects of Yervoy during breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed during treatment with Yervoy and for 3 months after the last dose. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
A Pregnancy Safety Surveillance Study has been established to collect information about pregnancies in women who have received Yervoy. Talk with your healthcare provider about enrolling in this study.
Yervoy should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider for advice.
Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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