Generic Name: Opdivo Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Opdivo® (nivolumab) used for?

Opdivo® is a cancer medicine that works with your immune system to interfere with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Opdivo® is used to treat certain types of cancer, including melanoma (skin cancer), non-small cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and urothelial carcinoma. Opdivo® can be given alone or in combination with other cancer medicines. It is often used after other medicines have been tried without success.

Opdivo® is sometimes used if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. For some types of cancer, this medicine is given when the cancer cannot be treated with surgery. For Hodgkin lymphoma, Opdivo® is used if the condition has relapsed or progressed after stem cell transplant and treatment with brentixumab vedotin (Adcetris).

In people with non-small cell lung cancer, Opdivo® may increase the chance of a longer survival time.

How should I take Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Opdivo® is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Before you start treatment, your doctor will perform tests to make sure nivolumab is the best treatment for your type of cancer.

Opdivo® is usually given once every 2 to 3 weeks. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

Opdivo® must be given slowly. The IV infusion can take at least 1 hour to complete.

You may be given medication to treat or prevent certain side effects of Opdivo®.

Opdivo® can cause certain side effects by changing the way your immune system works. These side effects can cause symptoms in many different parts of your body. Some side effects may need to be treated with other medicine, and your cancer treatments may be delayed or stopped altogether.

You will need frequent medical tests to help your doctor determine if it is safe for you to keep receiving Opdivo®. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.

How do I store Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Opdivo® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Opdivo® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Opdivo® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Opdivo® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Opdivo® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not use Opdivo® if you are allergic to nivolumab.

To make sure Opdivo®is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Lung disease or breathing problems
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • A thyroid disorder
  • An autoimmune disorder such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
  • If you have received an organ transplant.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There isn’t enough information about the safety of using Opdivo® during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Opdivo®.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Opdivo®: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, light-headed, short of breath, itchy, tingly, chilled, or feverish.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Severe or ongoing diarrhea, severe stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools
  • New or worsening skin rash, itching, or blistering
  • Sores or ulcers in your mouth, nose, rectum, or genitals
  • Severe muscle weakness, ongoing pain in your muscles or joints
  • Lung problems – new or worsening cough, sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, feeling short of breath
  • Symptoms of brain swelling – confusion, headache, memory problems, hallucinations, neck stiffness, drowsiness, seizure (convulsions)
  • Kidney problems – little or no urinating; blood in your urine; swelling in your feet or ankles
  • Liver problems – severe nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, drowsiness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Signs of a hormonal disorder – frequent or unusual headaches, vision problems, feeling light-headed or very tired, rapid heartbeats, mood or behavior changes, hoarse or deepened voice, increased hunger or thirst, increased urination, constipation, hair loss, sweating, feeling cold, weight gain, or weight loss

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation
  • Feeling weak, tired, or short of breath
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat
  • Fever, body aches
  • Cough, runny or stuffy nose
  • Skin rash, itching
  • Headache

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Opdivo® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Opdivo® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Opdivo® (nivolumab)?

Opdivo® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Lung disease or breathing problems
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • A thyroid disorder
  • An autoimmune disorder such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Opdivo® (nivolumab).

What is the dose of Opdivo® (nivolumab) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Melanoma – Metastatic:

Dose: 3 mg/kg IV infusion over 60 minutes every 2 weeks.

Duration of therapy: Continue therapy until disease progresses or unacceptable toxicity occurs.

Usual Adult Dose for Lung Cancer:

Dose: 3 mg/kg IV infusion over 60 minutes every 2 weeks.

Duration of therapy: Continue therapy until disease progresses or unacceptable toxicity occurs.

What is the dose of Opdivo® (nivolumab) for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Opdivo® (nivolumab) available?

Opdivo® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Injection: nivolumab 10mg in 1mL

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Opdivo®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 8, 2017 | Last Modified: August 14, 2017

You might also like