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Opdivo (Generic Nivolumab Injection)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Opdivo is a brand name for the drug nivolumab, which belongs to a class of medications called immune checkpoint inhibitors. It is primarily prescribed for the treatment of certain types of cancer. Opdivo works by blocking a protein called programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) on certain immune cells, which helps the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.

Opdivo may be prescribed for the following types of cancer:

  • Melanoma: Opdivo is used as a treatment for advanced melanoma, including metastatic melanoma (melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body) or unresectable melanoma (melanoma that cannot be completely removed by surgery).
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): Opdivo can be prescribed as a first-line or second-line treatment for advanced NSCLC, either as a single agent or in combination with other medications.
  • Renal cell carcinoma (RCC): Opdivo is used in the treatment of advanced RCC, either alone or in combination with other therapies.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma: Opdivo is prescribed for classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has relapsed or progressed after previous treatments.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: Opdivo may be prescribed for the treatment of recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck that has progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy.
  • Urothelial carcinoma: Opdivo can be used as a treatment for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (bladder cancer) that has progressed during or after platinum-based chemotherapy.

It’s important to note that Opdivo should only be prescribed by a healthcare professional and its use should be based on the specific condition, stage of cancer, and individual patient factors.

How should this medicine be used?

Opdivo (nivolumab) is typically administered as an intravenous (IV) infusion. The specific dosing and administration schedule may vary depending on the type of cancer being treated and individual patient factors. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional. Here is a general overview of how Opdivo is typically used:

  • Administration: Opdivo is given as an infusion through a vein in your arm or hand. The infusion is usually administered over a period of 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • Treatment Schedule: The frequency and duration of Opdivo treatment can vary. Your healthcare professional will determine the appropriate treatment schedule based on your specific condition.
  • Follow-up Infusions: Opdivo treatment is often given at regular intervals. You may receive the infusions every two to four weeks or as recommended by your doctor. It’s important to attend all scheduled appointments and complete the recommended course of treatment unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: During treatment with Opdivo, your healthcare team will closely monitor your response to the medication. They may perform regular blood tests, imaging scans, or other diagnostic tests to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and monitor for any side effects.

It’s crucial to discuss the administration and scheduling of Opdivo treatment with your healthcare professional, as they will provide you with personalized instructions based on your specific cancer type, stage, and overall health. They will also closely monitor you throughout the treatment to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Other uses for this medicine

Other potential uses:

  • Opdivo is being studied and used in clinical trials for various other types of cancers, including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, and others. However, it is important to note that these uses are still being investigated, and their effectiveness and safety are not yet fully established.
  • In some cases, Opdivo may be prescribed “off-label” by physicians, meaning it is used for a condition or indication not officially approved by regulatory authorities. This can occur when there is evidence to support its potential benefit in specific situations.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions for Opdivo, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. However, here are some general precautions associated with the use of Opdivo:

  • Immune-related side effects: Opdivo can lead to immune-related adverse reactions, where the immune system attacks healthy organs and tissues. These reactions can affect various organs, including the lungs, liver, intestines, skin, and endocrine glands. It is essential to monitor for signs of these adverse reactions and seek medical attention if any symptoms develop.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: Inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions you have, especially autoimmune disorders, liver or kidney problems, or prior organ transplantation.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: The effects of Opdivo on pregnant women and nursing infants are not well-established. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with a healthcare professional if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Other medications and vaccines: Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements, you are taking, as Opdivo may interact with certain drugs. Additionally, discuss the use of vaccines with your doctor, as some vaccines may not be recommended while receiving Opdivo treatment.

These are just general precautions, and individual circumstances may vary. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance when considering or using Opdivo.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Opdivo (nivolumab) does not have any specific dietary instructions. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to support your overall well-being while undergoing treatment. A well-rounded diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is generally recommended. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice based on your specific needs and medical condition.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you happen to forget a dose of Opdivo, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider or the healthcare team responsible for your treatment as soon as possible. They will be able to provide guidance on how to proceed and whether any adjustments need to be made to your treatment schedule. It is generally not recommended to double the dose to make up for the missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Opdivo (generic name: nivolumab) is a medication used in cancer treatment that belongs to a class of drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. While Opdivo has been found to be effective in fighting certain types of cancer, it can also cause various side effects. Some of the common side effects associated with Opdivo include:

  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or weak is a common side effect of Opdivo treatment.
  • Skin reactions: Patients may experience rash, itching, or dryness of the skin. In some cases, more severe reactions like blistering or peeling of the skin may occur.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Opdivo can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • Liver problems: Some individuals may experience elevated liver enzymes, which can be detected through blood tests. In rare cases, severe liver damage can occur.
  • Lung problems: Opdivo may lead to inflammation of the lungs, resulting in symptoms such as cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain.
  • Endocrine disorders: The medication can affect hormone production and regulation, potentially causing problems with the thyroid, adrenal glands, or other endocrine organs.
  • Kidney problems: Opdivo may lead to inflammation of the kidneys, resulting in changes in urine output or appearance, as well as increased levels of creatinine in the blood.
  • Immune-related side effects: As an immune checkpoint inhibitor, Opdivo boosts the immune system’s activity, which can sometimes cause it to attack healthy cells and tissues. This can result in immune-related side effects, such as inflammation of various organs (colitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, etc.), skin reactions (dermatitis), or hormone imbalances (hypophysitis, thyroiditis).

It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and some individuals may have different or more severe reactions. Additionally, there may be other rare side effects not mentioned here. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to understand the potential risks and benefits of Opdivo treatment and to receive proper monitoring and management of any side effects that may arise.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Opdivo should be stored in its original packaging at a temperature between 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) in a refrigerator.
  • Avoid freezing Opdivo.
  • Do not shake the vials or containers of Opdivo.


  • Unused or expired Opdivo should be disposed of properly and in accordance with local regulations for hazardous waste.
  • It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, pharmacist, or local waste management authority for specific instructions on how to dispose of Opdivo.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an emergency or overdose situation, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Contact emergency services or seek immediate medical attention.
  • Inform the healthcare professionals about the medication involved, including the name (Opdivo), dosage, and the amount taken.
  • It may be helpful to have the medication packaging or container available for reference.

What other information should I know?

Here are a few additional points to be aware of:

  • Opdivo should only be used under the supervision and prescription of a qualified healthcare professional experienced in the use of anticancer medications.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions, including allergies, liver or kidney problems, autoimmune disorders, or previous immune-related adverse reactions.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking, as they may interact with Opdivo.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments for monitoring and follow-up with your healthcare provider.
  • Report any new or worsening symptoms, side effects, or concerns to your healthcare provider promptly.

Remember, this information is not exhaustive, and it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider or refer to the medication’s package insert for detailed and specific instructions regarding storage, disposal, emergencies, and any other concerns related to Opdivo.

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