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Side effects with Keytruda
5 Posts
Hi There,
I'm wondering if anyone on Krytruda may have  experienced GI side effects? I was diagnosed in June 2019 with melanoma stage 2B and had a successful surgery in Spetember 2019. I started a clinical trial for Keytruda on Nov 5 2019 and had my last treatment end of September 2020. I've definitely had a number of side effects but this recent bout of GI problems have not yet been assigned as a side effect. Has anyone else had this issue? I've been  on pregabalin and Naproxen for Peripheral neuropathy and Osteoarthritis since May and I am curious if this recent GI issue is related. 

10 Replies
Welcome SPORTER‍ 

Sorry to hear about the GI issues you are experiencing. It can be so frustrating not to be able to pinpoint a cause of side effects. 

I wanted to tag some other members with experience with Keytruda like Driftwood‍, sgt. pepper‍, and Melanoma‍. Can you folks share if GI issues were an issue? I also wanted to point you in the direction of some discussions about Neuropathy: https://.cancerconnection.ca/search?query=neuropathy.

Is your healthcare team aware of your concern?

sgt. pepper
176 Posts
My main side effects with Keytruda were rashes, fatigue, headaches and frozen shoulders.  No GI symptoms, mostly skin reactions and joint problems.  However, after 6 months, I developed meningitis following which treatment was ended.  I suspect it was the experimental drug from the clinical trial that caused this and not the Keytruda as the long list of possible side effects I was issued did not specify meningitis. As I have already mentioned, the treatment was successful and I had a total response with no recurrence in the past three years.  I can only hope this lasts forever and I never have to face a cancer diagnosis again.

Sgt. Pepper
31 Posts
Sorry you are dealing with some of the side effects of Keytruda but it may be worth it in the end .
Stage 4 melanoma I had limited options . 
Not sure what you mean by GI issues but I did have and still do after treatment constipation and bloating issues .
My major concern was swelling of joints during treatment had to stop a few times .
I also had a met in the brain which complicated things . 
Please feel free to keep us updated on your progress . 
I completed approx 32 treatments over 2 years. 
5 Posts
Thanks for the replies. Specifically, diarrhea that has lasted 6 days. I have tests in labs now waiting for results to rule out parasites or C diff but no one else is sick in the family. Covid negative result on day 3. I stopped Keytruda after 13 cycles because I was worried the arthritis and neuropathy could become long term if I continued. I have my one year post surgery check up tomorrow so hopefully everything is clear and I'm still cancer free. 

Since diarrhea is a side effect of Keytruda I was wondering if anyone else had issues.iThanks for sharing! 
85 Posts

Personally I don't have any experience of Keytruda. But, found from BC cancer website, diarrhea is one of the listed side effect. I experienced few days diarrhea when on another drug Herceptin. Was sent for stool test of what my onco called "super bugs" and the result was all negative.😄

5 Posts
Update: it turns out they are now suspecting ICI (immune checkpoint inhibitor - induced colitis). A They prescribed prednisone to calm things down, based on the CT SCAN results but will have an endo/colonoscopy on Monday for confirmation and I guess, check staging of colitis. I will start to taper the steroid tomorrow, reducing every 3 days and the hope is the colitis doesn't break through while tapering. 

Thanks for the replies. Its helpful to hear other stories and experiences. 

Sorry to hear about this new diagnosis, but I hope knowing what is wrong will mean you can get some relief. Knowledge is power. It sounds like things are moving quickly which is great. 

Are you feeling any better on the meds?

Take Care,

Thank you Melanoma‍ and sgt. pepper‍ for sharing your experiences and answering my tag 😊. Wishing you both well.
31 Posts
Thanks for the update hope they can control your side effects.

Every situation is different but from what I was told colitis is common and they warned me about it but never got it . 
I had severe joint swelling had to stop treatment a few times was put on prednisone , but I completed my treatment.
I also had a brain met that was hit with radiation ended up with severe brain swelling.
End result tumours in the body are currently stable but I ended up with a brain lesion and seizures, still continue to the  fight . 

5 Posts
Hi Lacey, yes, its true. Knowledge is power. I continued to feel quite unwell and diarrhea not controlled by oral steroid so got admitted to hospital on Wednesday afternoon and put on intervenous steroid and fluids. That evening felt much better from the treatment but sunk back to feeling low upon waking Thuesday and have had two rough days but at least it stopped the diarrhea. And because I was admitted they were able to complete the endo/colonoscopy this afternoon. Instead of waiting til Monday. New plan is to switch me over to a new steroid taken orally  that speficially treats crohns and colitis, based on the inflammation they could see with naked eye. Biopsies will be ready early next week and then we will reassess based on results. Very grateful to be feeling better this evening. Thanks so much for checking in. 
5 Posts
Melanoma,  sorry to hear about those ongoing issues. I hope they can get resolved with further treatment.  
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