What KEYTRUDA is used for
KEYTRUDA is used to treat:
a kind of skin cancer called melanoma in adults.
a kind of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer in adults.
a kind of head and neck cancer called head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in adults.
a kind of cancer called classical Hodgkin Lymphoma in adults.
a kind of cancer called primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma in adults and children.
a kind of cancer called urothelial carcinoma, including bladder cancer in adults.
Note: KEYTRUDA is approved for head and neck cancer on the basis of limited, early
clinical trial results. An ongoing trial is being conducted to establish safety, survival
and quality of life outcomes.
KEYTRUDA contains the active substance pembrolizumab.
Adults get KEYTRUDA when their cancer has spread or cannot be taken out by surgery.
KEYTRUDA works by helping your immune system fight your cancer.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why KEYTRUDA has been prescribed for
KEYTRUDA may be given in combination with chemotherapy medicines. It is important
that you also read the Consumer Medicine Information for these medicines. If you have
any questions about the specific chemotherapy medicines, please ask your doctor.
This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.
Like all medicines, KEYTRUDA can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Your doctor will discuss these with you and will explain the risks and benefits of
When you get KEYTRUDA, you can have some serious side effects.
These side effects can sometimes become life-threatening and can lead to death. These
side effects may happen anytime during treatment or even after your treatment has
ended. You may experience more than one side effect at the same time.
If you have any of the following symptoms, call or see your doctor right away.
Signs and symptoms of lung problems
shortness of breath
Signs and symptoms of problems with your intestines
diarrhoea or more bowel movements than usual
your stools are black, tarry, sticky or have blood or mucus
severe stomach pain or tenderness
Signs and symptoms of liver problems
nausea or vomiting
feeling less hungry
pain on the right side of your stomach
your skin looks yellow
the whites of your eyes look yellow
you bleed or bruise more easily than normal
Signs and symptoms of kidney problems
changes in the amount or colour of your urine
Signs and symptoms of hormone gland problems (especially the thyroid, pituitary, and
rapid heart beat
your voice gets deeper
dizziness or fainting
headaches that will not go away or unusual headache
Signs and symptoms of blood sugar problems
feeling more hungry or thirsty
needing to urinate more often
Signs and symptoms of skin problems
skin blistering, peeling or sores
ulcers in mouth or in lining of nose, throat, or genital area
Signs and symptoms of problems in other organs
muscle pain or weakness
changes in eyesight
stomach area pain with nausea and vomiting (pancreatitis)
confusion, fever, memory problems, or seizures (encephalitis)
swollen lymph nodes, rash or tender lumps on skin, cough, or eye pain (sarcoidosis)
shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, feeling tired, or chest pain (myocarditis)
inflammation of the heart muscle, which may present as shortness of breath, irregular
heartbeat, feeling tired, or chest pain (pericarditis)
inflammation of the covering of the heart and accumulation of fluid around the heart
inflammation of the nerves that may cause pain, weakness, and paralysis in the arms
and legs (peripheral neuropathy)
Signs and symptoms of infusion (IV) reactions
shortness of breath
itching or rash
There are possible side effects of treatment with KEYTRUDA in people who have received
Rejection of a transplanted organ.
People who have had an organ transplant may have an increased risk of organ transplant
rejection. Your doctor should tell you what signs and symptoms you should report and
monitor you, depending on the type of organ transplant that you have had.
Complications, including graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), in people with bone marrow
(stem cell) transplant that uses donor stem cells (allogeneic).
These complications can be severe and can lead to death. They may occur if you had
this kind of transplant in the past or if you get it in the future. Your doctor will
monitor you for the following signs and symptoms: skin rash, liver inflammation, abdominal
pain, and diarrhoea.
The following side effects have been reported in clinical trials:
Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
patches of skin which have lost colour
decreased sodium levels in the blood
infections of the upper respiratory tract
a decreased number of white blood cells (which are important in fighting infection)
in patients with primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
The following side effects have been reported in more than 1 in 5 people when KEYTRUDA
was given in combination with chemotherapy:
decrease in white blood cell count
The most common side effects when KEYTRUDA is given to children are:
Less common side effects can happen.
Also, your doctor may do blood tests to check for side effects.
KEYTRUDA may cause other side effects that are not listed. For more information, ask
If you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away, tell your doctor.
Ask your doctor to answer any questions you may have.