Generic Name: nivolumab

Pronunciation: N/A

Abbreviation: N/A

Other Market Name: N/A

Drug Class: Immunotherapy Medications

Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Approval Status: Approved

Generic Version Available: No

Experimental Code: N/A

Drug Indication

Opdivo is a checkpoint inhibitor approved for advanced or metastatic melanoma, metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, advanced and intermediate or poor risk kidney cancer, relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma, recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer, metastatic bladder (urothelial) cancer, liver cancer and colorectal cancer with high microsatellite instability or mismatch repair deficiency genetic mutations.

General Info

Opdivo is a monoclonal antibody used in cancer immunotherapy. It is a checkpoint inhibitor that blocks the PD-1 receptor on T cells. PD-1 plays a role in regulating immune function. Some tumors can hijack PD-1 to turn off immune responses against them. Drugs that block the interaction between PD-1 and its binding partner, known as PD-L1, can release the brakes and restore T-cell activity against cancer.

Studies in the CheckMate clinical trials program showed that Opdivo slows progression of several types of cancer. CheckMate-142 showed that Opdivo alone or with Yervoy (ipilimumab) improved response rates in colorectal cancer patients with specific genetic mutations, known as high microsatellite instability or mismatch repair deficiency or (MSI-H/dMMR), that interfere with a cell’s ability to repair DNA damage. It was first approved in 2014.


Dosing Info: Opdivo is administered as an intravenous infusion. The usual dose for adults is 240 mg every two weeks or 480 mg every four weeks. In some cases it is used with Yervoy (ipilimumab), a different type of checkpoint inhibitor.

Side Effects

Common side effects include fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, shortness of breath and upper respiratory tract infections. Checkpoint inhibitors can cause an overactive immune response that harms healthy organs and tissues. Serious immune-mediated side effects can affect almost any organ including the lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, skin and hormone-producing endocrine glands.

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Last Reviewed: March 24, 2019