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Ritonavir

Ritonavir

Why is this medication prescribed?

Ritonavir is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Ritonavir is in a class of medications called protease inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although ritonavir does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to other people.

How should this medicine be used?

Ritonavir comes as a capsule, a tablet, and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take ritonavir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of ritonavir and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 2 to 3 days. Follow these directions carefully.

Swallow ritonavir tablets whole. Do not split, chew, or crush them.

If you are taking the oral solution, use a dose measuring spoon, syringe, or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid needed for each dose. Do not use a regular household spoon. You may take the solution by itself, or you may improve the taste by mixing it with 8 ounces of chocolate milk or Ensure or Advera brand dietary supplements. If you mix the medication with one of these liquids, you must drink the mixture no longer than 1 hour after you mix it.

If your doctor tells you to stop taking ritonavir capsules and start taking the tablets instead, you may experience more side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea shortly after you switch. These symptoms may improve as your body adjusts to the tablets.

Continue to take ritonavir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking ritonavir without talking to your doctor. If you miss doses, take less than the prescribed dose, or stop taking ritonavir, your condition may become more difficult to treat.

What is the dosage for ritonavir?

The recommended dose for adults is 600 mg twice daily. To reduce the occurrence of side effects, ritonavir should be started at 300 mg twice daily and increased every 2-3 days by 100 mg twice daily.

The recommended dose for children older than 1 month is 350 to 400 mg/m2 two times a day and should not exceed 600 mg two times daily. Treatment should be started at 250 mg/m2 and increased every 2-3 days by 50 mg/m2 two times daily.

Ritonavir should be administered with meals. The taste of the oral solution can be improved by mixing it with chocolate milk, Ensure or Advera for up to one hour before administration.

Which drugs or supplements interact with ritonavir?

Ritonavir interacts with many drugs. Some of the important interactions are mentioned below. Viewers should consult their healthcare provider before combining any drugs with ritonavir.

Ritonavir should not be used together with amiodarone (Cordarone), quinidine (Quinaglute, Cardioquin), triazolam (Halcion), midazolam (Versed), pimozide (Orap), ergot derivatives (for example, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine), alfuzosin (Uroxatral), propafenone (Rythmol) and flecainide (Tambocor) because ritonavir increases the blood levels of these drugs and may lead to serious side effects. Ritonavir should not be combined with voriconazole (Vfend) because it reduces blood levels of voriconazole.

How should I keep ritonavir stored?

Capsules that will not be used within 30 days should be stored in a refrigerator between 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46F). Capsules that will be used within 30 days do not have to be refrigerated if stored at less than 25 C (77 F) Oral solution should be stored at room temperature, 20 C to 25 C (68 F to77 F).

 

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