Find out more about KEYTRUDA and how to access it


Before you start KEYTRUDA, your Oncologist/Specialist and Nurse will ask you about your general health, and any other medical problems.

During your treatment with KEYTRUDA, there will be regular appointments to monitor your health and any potential side effects.

Medical tests that you may need while on treatment with KEYTRUDA:

Taking Keytruda - Tests


Taking Keytruda - Tests


Taking Keytruda - Tests

Blood tests

These tests will help your Oncologist/Specialist keep track of how you are responding to treatment. Tell your Oncologist/Specialist if your side effects get worse or you develop new side effects.

It's important to get medical treatment right away; this may help keep side effects from becoming more serious.

How KEYTRUDA is given

KEYTRUDA is given by an injection via a vein in your arm (intravenous infusion) over 30 minutes. KEYTRUDA is usually given once every 3 weeks.

Your treatment will usually be given by your Oncologist/Specialist or Nurse in a hospital clinic. Your Oncologist/Specialist will decide how many treatments you need.

Taking Keytruda

Intravenous infusion

Taking Keytruda

Over 30 minutes

Taking Keytruda

Once every 3 weeks

KEYTRUDA side effects

How to access KEYTRUDA?

The immune system and cancer


KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) 50mg powder for infusion
KEYTRUDA is a Prescription Only Medicine Use: KEYTRUDA is used:
  • in the treatment of melanoma which cannot be removed by surgery alone or when it has spread to multiple sites in the body.
  • in the treatment of a kind of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
  • in the treatment of classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL)
  • in the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, including bladder cancer
  • in the treatment of a kind of head and neck cancer called head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)

Side effects: Immune-mediated side effects including inflammation of the lungs, colon, liver, kidneys, pituitary gland, brain, eye, muscles, nervous system, pancreas, and heart, thyroid disorders, type 1 diabetes mellitus. Severe skin reactions including Steven-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Severe infusion reactions including hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis. Transplant recipients: rejection of a transplanted organ, graft-versus-host-disease (in people with a bone marrow transplant using donor cells). Very common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, itching, rash, joint pain, back pain, feeling tired, cough, patches of discoloured skin, stomach pain, decreased levels of sodium in blood. Tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, shortness of breath, rash, itching, headache, hair loss, and, infections of the upper respiratory tract were reported when given in combination with chemotherapy. You may experience more than one side effect at the same time.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Talk to your doctor to see if KEYTRUDA is right for you. KEYTRUDA is a funded medicine for melanoma patients– restrictions apply. KEYTRUDA is an unfunded medicine for NSCLC, HNSCC, cHL and urothelial carcinoma patients. Ask your health professional the cost of the medicine and any other medical fees that may apply. Use only as directed and if symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional.

Based on data sheet prepared 17 July 2018. Marketed by: Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited, Newmarket, Auckland. . For additional product information, consult the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), available on request, phone 0800 500 673 or refer to the Medsafe website

This site is intended for New Zealand residents.

References to support this are available on request.

MSD recommends people always seek the medical advice of their healthcare professional.

Copyright © 2018 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2018 Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand) Limited. Level 3, 123 Carlton Gore Road, Newmarket, Auckland. All rights reserved.

ONCO-1273154-0000 First Issued November 2017 TAPS NA10076 essence MSD8360

Updated: October 2018