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Drugs reference index «raltegravir»

raltegravir (Oral route)


Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Isentress

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet

Therapeutic Class: Antiretroviral Agent

Uses For raltegravir

Raltegravir is used together with other medicines to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). raltegravir is usually given to patients who have already received HIV medicines in the past .

Raltegravir will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS. It helps keep the HIV virus from reproducing, and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay the development of problems that usually result from AIDS or HIV disease. Raltegravir will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive raltegravir may continue to have some of the problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease .

raltegravir is available only with your doctor's prescription .

Before Using raltegravir

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For raltegravir, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to raltegravir or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of raltegravir in children less than 16 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established .


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of raltegravir in the elderly .


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Using raltegravir with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Etravirine
  • Omeprazole
  • Rifampin

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of raltegravir. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Infections—When you start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have certain infections, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, be sure to tell your doctor .
  • Liver disease, severe—Use with caution. raltegravir has not been studied in patients with severe liver problems .

Proper Use of raltegravir

It is important to take raltegravir together with other medicines for HIV. Be sure to take all of the medicines your doctor ordered, and to take them at the right times .

Do not change or stop using raltegravir without checking with your doctor first. When your supply of raltegravir is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of raltegravir .

You may take raltegravir with or without food .


The dose of raltegravir will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of raltegravir. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For HIV infection:
      • Adults and adolescents 16 years of age and older—400 milligrams (mg) two times a day.
      • Children younger than 16 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of raltegravir, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using raltegravir

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure raltegravir is working properly and to check for unwanted effects .

You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk .

raltegravir will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand this and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV, by using a latex condom or other barrier method. raltegravir will also not keep you from giving HIV to other people if they are exposed to your blood. Do not re-use or share needles with anyone .

raltegravir Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Bloating
  • body aches
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • darkened urine
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • difficult or painful urination
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort
  • increased thirst
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
  • pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight gain
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • lack or loss of strength
  • nausea
  • redistribution or accumulation of body fat
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

The information contained in the Thomson Healthcare (Micromedex) products as delivered by Drugs.com is intended as an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services provided by medical professionals. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over the counter drugs (including any herbal medicines or supplements) or following any treatment or regimen. Only your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for you.

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  • Raltegravir Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Raltegravir MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Isentress Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Isentress Consumer Overview

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