Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Nivolumab is a therapy that increases the immune response, and is used to treat certain types of cancer. It works with your body’s immune system to fight against cancer cells.

How should I take/use this medication?

Nivolumab is given via an injection into the vein, as an infusion (drip).

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You are taking steroids or have an auto-immune condition.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Mild itch, rashes that resolves within a few days
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Muscle ache, feeling tired

These side-effects are usually mild and may occur within a few weeks after the first dose.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

  • Allergic reactions may develop during the first few infusions. Symptoms may include feeling very cold, shivering, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, flushing or itch.
    • Alert your nurse if you experience any of the above during the infusion.
  • Severe skin rashes that are painful or peeling, or affect a large area of the body.
  • Symptoms of liver or gut problems such as having severe diarrhea, black sticky stools or stools with blood or mucus, dark-coloured urine, severe abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, easy bruising, severe nausea or vomiting or loss of appetite.
  • Symptoms of thyroid problems such as extreme tiredness, abnormal intolerance of cold or heat, feeling irritable, unusual weight gain or loss
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar such as always feeling hungry or thirsty, having to pass urine often
  • Symptoms of eye problems such as having blurred vision, double vision, eye pain or redness, or any other problems with vision
  • Severe pain in muscle or joints that affect walking or sleeping
  • Persistent shortness of breath or dry cough
  • Being unable to pass urine



If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on May 2022

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