This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life.
Ritonavir belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors. It increases ("boosts") the levels of other protease inhibitors, which helps these medications work better.
Ritonavir is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
How to use Ritonavir Capsule
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking ritonavir and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with a meal as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 2 times daily. Take ritonavir at the same time(s) as your other HIV protease inhibitor. Swallow the tablet form of this medication whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablets.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). For children, the dosage may also be based on their body size.
For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.
The tablet and capsule forms of this medication may deliver different amounts of medication. Do not switch between the tablet and capsule forms without your doctor's permission and directions.
It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat, or worsen side effects.
Ritonavir Side Effects
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, dizziness, tiredness, weakness, changes in taste, or tingling/numbness of mouth area may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away, headaches that are severe or don't go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, loss of appetite, yellowing eyes/skin, mental/mood changes (such as depression, anxiety), increased urination (especially at night), increased thirst.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: symptoms of a heart attack (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating), easy bruising/bleeding, fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat.
Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (such as increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor, as well as the possible use of exercise to reduce this side effect.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Before taking ritonavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: diabetes, heart problems (coronary artery disease, heart attack), hemophilia, high cholesterol/triglycerides, liver problems (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C), pancreatitis.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
If you have diabetes, this product may increase your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Treatment can lower the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Ritonavir interacts with many medications. Some products that may interact with this drug include: cobicistat, disulfiram, orlistat.
Ritonavir can slow down or speed up the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include alfuzosin, antiarrhythmics (such as amiodarone, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine), azole antifungals (such as voriconazole), certain benzodiazepines (midazolam, triazolam), certain "blood thinners" (such as rivaroxaban, warfarin), cisapride, eletriptan, drugs to treat erectile dysfunction-ED or pulmonary hypertension (such as avanafil, sildenafil), ergot alkaloids (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine), lurasidone, certain opioid pain medications (such as fentanyl, meperidine), pimozide, ranolazine, salmeterol, simeprevir, "statin" cholesterol drugs (such as simvastatin, lovastatin), among others.
Other medications can affect the removal of ritonavir from your body, which may affect how ritonavir works. Examples include apalutamide, boceprevir, rifampin, St. John's wort, among others.
This medication may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring. This could cause pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about additional or alternative reliable forms of birth control, and always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity to decrease the risk of spreading HIV to others. Tell your doctor if you have any new spotting or breakthrough bleeding, because these may be signs that your hormonal birth control is not working well.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
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