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Generic Name: nivolumab (nye VOL ue mab)
Brand Names: Opdivo
Opdivo (nivolumab) is used to treat melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and urothelial carcinoma. Includes Opdivo side effects, interactions and indications.
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Drug Information:
Opdivo (nivolumab) is a cancer medicine that is used alone or in combination with other medicines that works with your immune system to interfere with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Opdivo may be used to treat: advanced skin cancer (melanoma); lung cancer; kidney cancer; classical Hodgkin lymphoma; squamous cell cancer of the head and neck; bladder cancer; liver cancer; or a type of colorectal cancer that laboratory testing proves to have certain specific DNA mutations. Opdivo is often given when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, or cannot be surgically removed, or has come back after prior treatment. Learn more

Opdivo Side Effects

Opdivo Side Effects

Note: This document contains side effect information about nivolumab. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Opdivo.

For the Consumer

Applies to nivolumab: intravenous solution

Along with its needed effects, nivolumab (the active ingredient contained in Opdivo) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking nivolumab:

More common

  • Back pain
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • chest tightness
  • chills
  • constipation
  • cough
  • depressed mood
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin and hair
  • feeling cold
  • feeling of warmth
  • fever
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • hoarseness or husky voice
  • itching
  • joint or muscle pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps and stiffness
  • nausea
  • red, irritated eyes
  • redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
  • slowed heartbeat
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weight gain

Less common

  • Chest pain
  • dark urine
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • light-colored stools
  • nervousness
  • pain
  • sensitivity to heat
  • stomach cramps
  • sweating
  • tenderness
  • thickening of bronchial secretions
  • trouble sleeping
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • yellow eyes and skin


  • Bloating
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • blurred vision or other change in vision
  • darkening of the skin
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • fruity breath odor
  • increased hunger, thirst, and urination
  • indigestion
  • mental depression
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • redness of the eye
  • sensitivity of the eyes to light
  • skin rash
  • swelling of the face, feet, or lower legs
  • tearing

Some side effects of nivolumab may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Stuffy or runny nose

Incidence not known

  • Increase in blood flow to the whites of the eyes
  • seeing flashes or sparks of light
  • seeing floating spots before the eyes or a veil or curtain appearing across a part of vision

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to nivolumab: intravenous solution


Very common (10% or more): Rash (21%), pruritus (19%), vitiligo (11%), erythema (10%)

Frequency not reported: Exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, vitiligo, psoriasis, immune-mediated rash


Very common (10% or more): Elevated AST (28%), elevated alkaline phosphatase (22%), elevated ALT (16%)

Common (1% to 10%): Elevated total bilirubin, immune-mediated hepatitis

Frequency not reported: Increased amylase, increased lipase


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea or colitis (21%)

Common (1% to 10%): Immune-mediated colitis, nausea, vomiting

Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated pancreatitis


Very common (10% or more): Cough (17%), upper respiratory tract infection (17%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pneumonitis, immune-mediated pneumonitis, dyspnea


Very common (10% or more): Increased serum creatinine (13%)

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Immune-mediated nephritis, immune-mediated renal dysfunction


Very common (10% or more): Peripheral edema (10%)

Frequency not reported: Ventricular arrhythmia


The most commonly reported adverse reaction in clinical trials was rash; a composite term including the following rashes maculopapular, erythematous, pruritic, follicular, macular, papular, pustular, vesicular, and dermatitis acneiform.


Common (1% to 10%): Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism

Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated hypopituitarism, immune-mediated hypophysitis

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Dizziness, peripheral and sensory neuropathy, immune-mediated demyelination, immune-mediated facial and abducens nerve paresis, immune-mediated myasthenic syndrome, immune-mediated encephalitis


Frequency not reported: Infusion-related reactions


Frequency not reported: Iridocyclitis


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (28%)

Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated adrenal insufficiency, immune-mediated diabetic ketoacidosis


Frequency not reported: Immune-mediated uveitis, immune-mediated autoimmune neuropathy, immune-mediated Guillain-Barre Syndrome


Very common (10% or more): Musculoskeletal pain (32%), back pain (21%), arthralgia (20%)

Frequency not reported: Pain in extremity


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (49%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Opdivo