Atezolizumab is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer previously treated with chemotherapy. 

The dose is 1200 mg. Administration is intravenous and is repeated every 21 days.

Possible side effects of Atezolizumab

Like all medications, Atezolizumab can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Since it affects the immune system, it can cause inflammation in some parts of the body. Sometimes some of these inflammatory conditions may require the discontinuation of Atezolizumab.

The following side effects have been reported in clinical trials with Atezolizumab monotherapy:

Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • sense of tiredness and weakness, difficult breathing;
  • decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • skin erythema, pruritus;
  • fever;
  • joint pain;
  • hypothyroidism (a hypofunctional thyroid, which can cause fatigue or weight gain) or hyperthyroidism (hyperfunction of the thyroid, which can cause acceleration of heart rate, sweating and weight loss);
  • hypersensitivity of the immune system;
  • pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs, characterized by coughing and difficulty breathing) and nasal congestion;
  • abdominal pain, colitis (inflammation of the intestine), dysphagia (disorder of swallowing);
  • pain in the muscles, bones and joints;
  • reactions related to the infusion of the medicine (flu-like illness and chills).

Uncommon side effects (may affect more than 1 in 1,000 people and less than 1 in 100 people)

  • diabetes mellitus (chronic disease characterized by an increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood);
  • adrenal insufficiency (inability of the glands found above the kidneys to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol, an essential hormone for the body);
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (temporary inflammation of the nerves causing pain, weakness and paralysis of the extremities);
  • non-infectious meningitis (inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that line the central nervous system);
  • pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas);
  • hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

Rare side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10,000 and less than 1 in 1,000)

  • Hypophysitis (inflammation of the pituitary gland, gland located at the base of the brain);
  • non-infectious encephalitis (inflammation of the brain);
  • myasthenic syndrome (a condition in which muscles become weak and easily tired).

If you experience any of these side effects contact your doctor immediately. Do not try to treat these symptoms with other medicines.

Changes in exam results

Atezolizumab may cause changes in the results of medical tests, such as:

  • thrombocytopenia (reduction in the number of platelets, the cells that facilitate blood clotting);
  • hypokalemia (reduction of potassium in the blood) and hyponatremia (reduction of sodium in the blood);
  • hypotension (reduced blood pressure);
  • increased levels of liver enzymes: aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT);
  • increase in the enzyme that breaks down fats (lipase) and the enzyme that breaks down starch (amylase).