Skin Cancer Home > Yervoy Warnings and Precautions

Before you receive Yervoy, make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have liver disease or a weakened immune system. Other important precautions to be aware of before receiving Yervoy include warnings of potential allergic reactions and drug interactions. This medicine can also cause other complications, such as nerve damage, liver inflammation, and eye problems.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving Yervoy™ (ipilimumab) if you have:
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
  • A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other cause
  • Had an organ transplant
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions With Yervoy

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving this medicine include the following:
  • Yervoy can cause autoimmune reactions in which the immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These reactions can lead to serious side effects involving the intestines, liver, skin, nerves, eyes, hormone glands, or other parts of the body. You should know that some of these side effects occurred weeks or months after treatment ended.
  • Yervoy can cause inflammation of the intestines, which can lead to perforation (a tear or hole in the intestines) and possibly death. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience any signs of this serious problem, such as:
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Stool that contains mucus or blood.
  • This medication may cause liver inflammation (hepatitis), which could lead to liver failure. Your healthcare provider will monitor your liver function with blood tests before each Yervoy dosage. Call your healthcare provider if you have signs of liver problems, such as:
    • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
    • Dark urine
    • Extreme tiredness
    • Pain in the upper-right area of the abdomen (stomach).
  • There have been reports of life-threatening skin reactions occurring in people receiving Yervoy. Some of these reactions have occurred up to 17 weeks after starting treatment. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any skin problems, such as:
    • Any kind of rash
    • Peeling or blistering skin
    • Sores in your mouth.
  • Yervoy has been reported to cause nerve damage, including serious neurological conditions that can lead to paralysis, muscle weakness, and even death. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs of nerve problems, such as:
    • Weakness on one or both sides of the body
    • Numbness, tingling, or pricking sensations in the hands or feet.
  • Yervoy can cause inflammation of certain glands in the body, including the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. If the glands become inflamed, they may not work properly, and could release too many or not enough hormones. Your healthcare provider will monitor your thyroid function with a simple blood test before each dose. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any signs of a hormone imbalance, such as:
    • Unusual headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Changes in your mood
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Changes in bowel habits
    • Feeling cold all the time.
  • There have been rare reports of eye problems in people receiving Yervoy, including inflammation of the uvea (the middle layer of the eye), eyelids, and conjunctiva (the membrane lining the eyelids). Let your healthcare provider know if you have any vision problems, such as:
    • Blurred vision
    • Eye pain
    • Eye redness.
  • It is unknown if Yervoy passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to receiving this drug (see Yervoy and Breastfeeding).
  • This product is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Yervoy and Pregnancy).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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