Pembrolizumab - injection
Pembrolizumab - injection
Pembrolizumab is used to treat cancer. It works by changing the action of your own immune system, directing it to attack cancer cells. Pembrolizumab belongs to a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start receiving pembrolizumab and each time you get a treatment. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is given by a health care professional. It is injected slowly into a vein over 30 minutes. It is given as directed by your doctor, usually once every 3 weeks.
Symptoms of a severe infusion reaction that may occur during pembrolizumab treatment include fever, chills, shaking, flushing, trouble breathing, dizziness, or feeling faint. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms during your treatment.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.
Tiredness, swelling ankles/feet/hands, itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. Some of these effects may occur even after stopping treatment. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Pembrolizumab may cause hormone gland problems (such as thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, pancreas). Your body could make too much or too little hormone. Tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms such as:
This medication may rarely make your blood sugar rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
In the US -
Before using pembrolizumab, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
People who receive a donor stem cell transplant after treatment with pembrolizumab may have very serious (possibly fatal) complications. Ask your doctor for more details.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using pembrolizumab. Pembrolizumab may harm an unborn baby. Ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for 4 months after stopping treatment. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug and for 4 months after stopping treatment is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as liver/kidney/thyroid function, blood sugar, complete blood count) should be done before and during treatment with this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away to establish a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
Information last revised January 2019.
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