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Ipilimumab - Severe Side Effects?

Paul Edwards

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Ipilimumab (brand name Yervoy) is an immunotherapy drug which has been approved for the treatment of melanoma.

There are currently clinical trials being conducted to see whether Ipilimumab is effective in treating prostate cancer.


The South Australian Medicines Evaluation Panel has provided data to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee about patients treated with Ipilimumab in South Australian public hospitals.


Between 1 August 2013 to 8 December 2014, 56 patients were treated with Ipilimumab.  8 of these patients suffered severe refractory colitis as a side effect of their treatment with Ipilimumab and were admitted to hospital.  The average stay in hospital for treatment of the side effects was 21 days.


The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee commented that it didn't expect as many serious adverse events when it approved Ipilimumab on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.



This emerging data may make it harder for Ipilimumab to be approved for the treatment of prostate cancer.


Immunotherapy: Treatment to stimulate or restore the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease.


Melanoma: a type of skin cancer.


Severe Refractory Colitis: Severe Bowel Inflammation which is resistant to treatment.



Reference: http://www.pbs.gov.au/info/industry/listing/elements/pbac-meetings/psd/2015-07/ipilimumab-psd-july-2015

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