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What are the common side effects of keytruda?

See the DrugPatentWatch profile for keytruda

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is a medication used to treat various types of cancer, including melanoma, lung cancer, and head and neck cancer. While it has shown significant efficacy in treating these diseases, it can also cause side effects in some patients.

Common side effects of Keytruda include:

1. Fatigue: Feeling tired or weak is one of the most common side effects of Keytruda, affecting up to 44% of patients [1].
2. Diarrhea: Loose stools or frequent bowel movements are experienced by around 35% of patients [1].
3. Nausea and vomiting: These symptoms are reported by approximately 25% of patients [1].
4. Rash: A rash or skin reaction can occur in up to 20% of patients [1].
5. Itching: Pruritus, or itching, is experienced by around 15% of patients [1].
6. Swelling: Swelling of the face, arms, or legs can occur in up to 10% of patients [1].
7. Joint pain: Arthritis-like symptoms, including joint pain or swelling, are reported by around 5% of patients [1].
8. Muscle or bone pain: Muscle or bone pain can occur in up to 5% of patients [1].

In rare cases, Keytruda can cause more severe side effects, including:

1. Immune-mediated adverse reactions: Keytruda can cause an overactive immune response, leading to conditions such as pneumonitis, hepatitis, and colitis [2].
2. Endocrinopathies: Keytruda can cause endocrine disorders, including hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, and type 1 diabetes [2].
3. Nephritis: Keytruda can cause kidney inflammation, leading to kidney damage or failure [2].

It is essential for patients taking Keytruda to report any side effects to their healthcare provider immediately. In some cases, medication adjustments or treatment interruptions may be necessary to manage these side effects.


[1] Merck & Co., Inc. (2020). Keytruda (pembrolizumab) Prescribing Information.

[2] (n.d.). Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) Patent Expiration. Retrieved from <>

Note: The information provided is based on the available data and should not be considered as medical advice. Patients should consult their healthcare provider for personalized guidance on the use of Keytruda.

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