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Imfinzi (durvalumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2023

Imfinzi® (durvalumab) is an immunotherapy drug used to treat certain cases of lung cancer.1

Imfinzi may be used alone in adults who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that:1

  • Has not spread outside the chest,
  • Cannot be removed by surgery, and
  • Has responded or stabilized with initial treatment with chemotherapy that contains platinum, given at the same time as radiation therapy

Imfinzi may be used along with tremelimumab-actl and chemotherapy that contains platinum in adults with NSCLC that:1

Imfinzi may be used with the chemotherapy medicines etoposide and carboplatin or cisplatin as a first treatment for adults with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) that has spread within the lungs or to other parts of the body (extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer, or ES-SCLC).1

How does Imfinzi work?

Imfinzi is an immunotherapy drug. This means it works with your immune system to find and attack lung cancer cells. Imfinzi does this by sticking to and blocking a protein called PD-L1, which plays a key role in disguising cancer cells from the immune system. By binding to and blocking PD-L1, Imfinzi helps your immune system find and attack the cancer cells.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Imfinzi include:1

  • Cough
  • Feeling tired
  • Inflammation in the lungs
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss

These are not all the possible side effects of Imfinzi. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Imfinzi. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Imfinzi.

Other things to know

Imfinzi can affect your immune system and cause it to attack normal organs and tissues. These problems may become severe or life-threatening. Before starting treatment with Imfinzi, tell your doctor if you have:1

  • Immune system problems like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or lupus
  • Received an organ transplant
  • Received or plan to receive a stem cell transplant that uses donor stem cells (allogeneic)
  • Received radiation treatment to your chest area
  • A condition that affects your nervous system, such as myasthenia gravis or Guillian-Barre syndrome

Imfinzi can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Imfinzi. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Imfinzi and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Imfinzi.1

Before beginning treatment for lung cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Imfinzi.

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