Pembrolizumab - intravenous

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Pembrolizumab is used to treat cancer of the skin, lung, bladder, and lymph tissue.
How do I use this medicine?
Pembrolizumab injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein). It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.

Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.

The dose of Pembrolizumab will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on the type and severity of your condition, effectiveness of the therapy, and your tolerability to this medicine.

This medicine must be administered regularly for it to be effective. Continue Pembrolizumab therapy even when you feel better. Do not stop your treatment unless instructed by the doctor.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Pembrolizumab.

If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • autoimmune disease (a condition where the body attacks its own cells)
  • had an organ or bone marrow transplant that used donor stem cells (allogeneic)
  • inflammation of your lungs
  • liver disease
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Pembrolizumab. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist. Avoid pregnancy for at least 4 months after you stop taking this medicine.

Avoid breastfeeding during treatment and for 4 months after your final dose of this medicine.

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
  • Screening and assessment of tumour status may be needed to check the appropriateness of Pembrolizumab therapy.
  • You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. glucose level, complete blood count, and liver, kidney and thyroid function). Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
  • Regular monitoring of signs and symptoms of toxicity may also be needed while you are being treated with this medicine.
What side effects could I experience?
This medicine may cause tiredness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
  • signs and symptoms of skin problems e.g. rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes (with or without fever)
  • signs and symptoms of high blood sugar level e.g. confusion, increased thirst, increased hunger, frequent urination, breath that smells like fruit
  • signs and symptoms of bowel problems e.g. black, tarry, or sticky stools, blood or mucus in stools, severe stomach pain or tenderness, severe diarrhea or frequent bowel movement
  • signs and symptoms of liver problems e.g. yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, light-coloured stools, dark-coloured urine, lack of appetite
  • signs and symptoms of infusion reactions e.g. shortness of breathing, itching or rash, dizziness, fever
  • signs and symptoms of kidney problems e.g. changes in the amount or colour of your urine, burning or painful urination, pain in the pelvic or lower stomach area
  • signs and symptoms of lung problems e.g. difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough
  • signs and symptoms of hormone gland problems e.g. mood or behavioural changes, weight changes, constipation, deeper voice, dizziness, passing out, cold sensation, hair loss, persistent or unusual headache
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I use this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking medicines for pain or inflammation e.g. prednisone.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.

As this is a cancer medicine, any unused or expired medicine must be returned to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on pembrolizumab - intravenous and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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