Specialty Drug


IPILIMUMAB is a monoclonal antibody. It is used to treat melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Compare CTLA-4 antagonists.

What is Ipilimumab?

Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Yervoy

Therapeutic ClassificationsAntineoplastic Agent

Pharmacologic ClassificationsMonoclonal Antibody



Blackbox WarningTOP

Intravenous route (Solution)

Ipilimumab can result in severe and fatal immune-mediated adverse reactions. Reactions may involve any organ system and manifest during treatment or weeks to months after discontinuation. The most common severe reactions are enterocolitis, hepatitis, dermatitis (including toxic epidermal necrolysis), neuropathy, and endocrinopathy. Assess patients for signs and symptoms of severe reactions and evaluate clinical chemistries (eg, liver function tests, adrenocorticotropic hormone levels, thyroid function tests) at baseline and before each dose. Permanently discontinue ipilimumab and initiate systemic high-dose corticosteroid therapy for severe immune-mediated reactions .


Ipilimumab injection is used to treat melanoma (a type of skin cancer) that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. It is a monoclonal antibody that changes the immune system to help control the growth of cancer cells in the skin.

Ipilimumab injection is also used to help prevent melanoma from coming back after surgical removal.

This medicine is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Proper UseTOP

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. It must be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least 90 minutes.

This medicine is usually given every 3 weeks for a total of 4 doses. Your doctor may adjust how often you receive this medicine or how long the infusion may take.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Be sure to ask your doctor about anything you do not understand.

Missed DoseTOP

This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

Before UsingTOP

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of ipilimumab injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ipilimumab injection in the elderly.

Breast FeedingTOP

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug InteractionsTOP

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other InteractionsTOP

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical ProblemsTOP

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Adrenal gland problem or
  • Allergic skin reactions (eg, dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis), severe or
  • Colitis (inflammation of the intestine) or
  • Eye or vision problems (eg, episcleritis, iritis, uveitis) or
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome or
  • Hemolytic anemia or
  • Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) or
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or
  • Hypopituitarism (low levels of pituitary hormone) or
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or
  • Intestinal or bowel perforation (a hole in the bowel) or
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the brain) or
  • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
  • Nephritis (inflammation of the kidney) or
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) or
  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve problem in arms and legs) or
  • Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.


It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment and for 3 months after your last dose of this medicine. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Colitis (inflammation of the colon) may occur with this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have stomach pain or tenderness, watery or bloody diarrhea, or a fever after receiving the medicine.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, a loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are receiving this medicine.

Check with your doctor right away if you are having unusual weakness of the arms or legs, or a burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a serious nerve problem that can lead to paralysis.

Serious problems with the adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid glands (hormone glands) may occur while you are receiving this medicine. Tell your doctor if you start having continuing or unusual headaches, changes in mood or behavior (eg, being irritable or forgetful), lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, unusual sluggishness, or an increase in weight.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty with reading, eye pain, or any other change in vision occurs while you are receiving this medicine. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

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