What to expect when taking keytruda

KEYTRUDA is a prescription medicine used to treat a kind of lung cancer called advanced non–small cell lung cancer. The information below can help give you a better idea of how treatment with KEYTRUDA works.

  • How Will You Receive KEYTRUDA?

    How will I receive KEYTRUDA?

    KEYTRUDA is an infusion therapy. That means your doctor will give you KEYTRUDA into your vein through an intravenous (IV) line. Treatments usually take place in your doctor’s office or at an infusion clinic.
  • How Long Does Treatment Take?

    How long does treatment take?

    Treatment with KEYTRUDA is usually given over 30 minutes every 3 weeks.
  • How Long Will I Stay on Treatment?

    How long will I stay on treatment?

    KEYTRUDA may be given for as long as it is working and side effects are tolerable, or for up to 24 months. Every patient is different. For that reason, your doctor will decide how many treatments you need, based on your experience with KEYTRUDA.
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  • What should I tell my doctor before I start treatment with KEYTRUDA for advanced non–small cell lung cancer?

     

    Before you receive KEYTRUDA, tell your doctor if you:

    • have immune system problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus
    • have had an organ transplant
    • have lung or breathing problems
    • have liver problems
    • have any other medical problems
    • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
      • KEYTRUDA can harm your unborn baby.
      • Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during treatment and for at least 4 months after the final dose of KEYTRUDA.
      • Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment with KEYTRUDA.
    • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
      • It is not known if KEYTRUDA passes into your breast milk.
      • Do not breastfeed during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after your final dose of KEYTRUDA.
    • are taking other medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • Do I need to be monitored while on treatment?

     
    • Yes, your doctor will check you for problems during treatment with KEYTRUDA.
    • If you experience any symptom or side effect, it's important to get medical treatment right away; this may help keep problems from becoming more serious.
    • Your doctor will do blood tests to check you for side effects.
    • Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
    • It is important to stay in contact with your doctor regularly while on treatment.
  • What if I can’t make an upcoming appointment?

     
    • If you miss any scheduled appointments, call your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
  • Is there anything else I should know about treatment?

     
    • Your doctor will keep track of how you are responding to treatment through scans and x-rays.
    • Your doctor may treat you with corticosteroid or hormone replacement medicines. Your doctor may also need to delay or completely stop treatment with KEYTRUDA if you have severe side effects.
      • If you stopped receiving treatment but are no longer experiencing those serious side effects, you may be able to restart treatment. Talk to your doctor to discuss your options.
  • Does KEYTRUDA treat anything else besides advanced non–small cell lung cancer?

     

Tips that may help during treatment

Receiving treatment may affect how you feel. Sometimes you may be more tired than usual. Other times, you may not feel like eating very much. While everyone's experience is unique, you may find some of the tips below helpful. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list of tips. Want more ideas? Ask your health care team.

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  • Feel something? Say something

     

    If you have any changes in the way you feel, it's important to discuss those changes with your health care team.

    • Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
    • Getting medical treatment right away may help keep these problems from becoming more serious.
  • Pay attention to diarrhea and nausea

     

    If you have diarrhea or nausea, tell your health care team, as it could be a sign of something serious. In addition, there are a few things you can do after you've talked to your health care team.

    • For mild diarrhea: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, dairy, fat, fiber, orange juice, prune juice, and spicy foods. Drink lots of water and other clear liquids. Eat small, frequent meals. Always ask your health care team for more tips on what to do about diarrhea.
    • For nausea: Instead of 3 large meals a day, eat 6 to 8 snacks. Eat dry foods such as crackers or dry cereal. Avoid hot, spicy foods and stay away from foods that are overly sweet or greasy. Drink or sip clear liquids frequently. Ask your health care team about other ways you may be able to handle nausea.
  • Eat healthy foods

     

    Nutrition is important for everyone. But if you are receiving treatment, there are even more reasons to eat a healthy diet. When you eat well, it may give you more strength. Your health care team may have more suggestions for how to eat healthier.

    • Eat at least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily.
    • Limit high-fat foods, especially those from animal sources.
    • Keep a variety of protein-rich snacks on hand, such as low-fat yogurt or hearty soup.
    • Avoid salty foods.
  • Cope with feeling tired (fatigue)

     

    Most people who are receiving treatment feel tired. To help you feel less tired, try these tips. Ask your health care team for more ideas.

    • Eat healthy foods. This may help keep you strong and maintain your weight.
    • Take it easy and rest if you need to.
    • Plan for what needs to get done and what can wait. This may help you focus on completing the tasks most important to you.
    • Ask for help when you need it. Talk to your health care team, friends, and family.
  • Try to stay active

     

    You may not always feel up to physical activity during treatment. However, research has found that exercise may help improve the physical and emotional well-being of people with cancer. Talk to your doctor to find an exercise plan that's right for you.

    • Talk to your health care team to ensure your activity plan is safe.
    • Start slowly, with an activity such as walking, especially if you haven't been active for a while.
    • Try short periods of exercise. Rest often and drink lots of water.
    • Have fun by doing the things you enjoy.
    • Try something different. It may help keep you from getting bored.


Ask Your Health Care Team if KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Is Right for You

Ask your health care team if KEYTRUDA is right for you

Want more info about KEYTRUDA?

Sign up for regular updates 

Need help talking to
your doctor?

Download a doctor
discussion guide 

For more information or to sign up over the phone, call 85-KEYTRUDA (855‑398‑7832)(855-398-7832).


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KEYTRUDA is a prescription medicine used to treat a kind of lung cancer called non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). KEYTRUDA may be used as your first treatment option when your lung cancer has spread (advanced NSCLC) and tests positive for “PD-L1” and your tumor does not have an abnormal “EGFR” or “ALK” gene.

KEYTRUDA may also be used for advanced NSCLC if you have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum and it did not work or is no longer working and your lung cancer tests positive for "PD-L1" and, if your tumor has an abnormal “EGFR” or “ALK” gene, you have also received an “EGFR” or “ALK” inhibitor medicine that did not work or is no longer working.

PD-L1 = programmed death ligand 1;
EGFR = epidermal growth factor receptor;
ALK = anaplastic lymphoma kinase.


Ask Your Health Care Team if KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) Is Right for You

Ask your health care team if KEYTRUDA is right for you

Want more info about KEYTRUDA?

Sign up for regular updates 

Need help talking to
your doctor?

Download a doctor
discussion guide 

For more information or to sign up over the phone, call 85-KEYTRUDA (855‑398‑7832)(855-398-7832).

Important Safety Information About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)

KEYTRUDA is a medicine that may treat certain cancers by working with your immune system. KEYTRUDA can cause your immune system to attack normal organs and tissues in many areas of your body and can affect the way they work. These problems can sometimes become serious or life-threatening and can lead to death.

Call or see your doctor right away if you develop any symptoms of the following problems or these symptoms get worse:

Lung problems (pneumonitis). Symptoms of pneumonitis may include shortness of breath, chest pain, or new or worse cough.

Intestinal problems (colitis) that can lead to tears or holes in your intestine. Signs and symptoms of colitis may include diarrhea or more bowel movements than usual; stools that are black, tarry, sticky, or have blood or mucus; or severe stomach-area (abdomen) pain or tenderness.

Liver problems (hepatitis). Signs and symptoms of hepatitis may include yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, nausea or vomiting, pain on the right side of your stomach area (abdomen), dark urine, feeling less hungry than usual, or bleeding or bruising more easily than normal.

Hormone gland problems (especially the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands, and pancreas). Signs and symptoms that your hormone glands are not working properly may include rapid heartbeat, weight loss or weight gain, increased sweating, feeling more hungry or thirsty, urinating more often than usual, hair loss, feeling cold, constipation, your voice gets deeper, muscle aches, dizziness or fainting, or headaches that will not go away or unusual headache.

Kidney problems, including nephritis and kidney failure. Signs of kidney problems may include change in the amount or color of your urine.

Problems in other organs. Signs of these problems may include rash, changes in eyesight, severe or persistent muscle or joint pains, severe muscle weakness, low red blood cells (anemia), shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, feeling tired, or chest pain (myocarditis).

Infusion (IV) reactions that can sometimes be severe and life-threatening. Signs and symptoms of infusion reactions may include chills or shaking, shortness of breath or wheezing, itching or rash, flushing, dizziness, fever, or feeling like passing out.

Getting medical treatment right away may help keep these problems from becoming more serious. Your doctor will check you for these problems during treatment with KEYTRUDA. Your doctor may treat you with corticosteroid or hormone replacement medicines. Your doctor may also need to delay or completely stop treatment with KEYTRUDA if you have severe side effects.

Before you receive KEYTRUDA, tell your doctor if you have immune system problems such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus; have had an organ transplant; have lung or breathing problems; have liver problems; or have any other medical problems.

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor. KEYTRUDA can harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control during treatment and for at least 4 months after the final dose of KEYTRUDA. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment with KEYTRUDA.

If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, tell your doctor. It is not known if KEYTRUDA passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with KEYTRUDA and for 4 months after your final dose of KEYTRUDA.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Common side effects of KEYTRUDA include feeling tired, itching, diarrhea, decreased appetite, rash, fever, cough, shortness of breath, pain in muscles, bones or joints, constipation, and nausea.

These are not all the possible side effects of KEYTRUDA. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1‑800‑FDA‑1088.

Please read the accompanying Medication Guide for KEYTRUDA and discuss it with your doctor. The physician Prescribing Information also is available.


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