Generic Name: ritonavir (rit OH na vir)Brand names: Norvir, Norvir Soft Gelatin
Ritonavir is an antiviral medication in a group of HIV medicines called protease (PRO-tee-ayz) inhibitors. Ritonavir prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.
Ritonavir is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Ritonavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Ritonavir may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
There are many other medicines that can interact with ritonavir. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to ritonavir.Do not take ritonavir with any of the following medications, or life-threatening side effects could occur:
amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);
lovastatin (Mevacor) or simvastatin (Zocor);
midazolam (Versed) or triazolam (Halcion);
sildenafil (Revatio) when used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH);
St. John's wort;
voriconazole (Vfend); or
ergot medicines such as ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal Nasal Spray), ergonovine (Ergotrate), or methylergonovine (Methergine).
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take ritonavir:
heart disease or heart rhythm disorder;
a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or
high cholesterol or triglycerides.
Take ritonavir exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.Ritonavir works best if you take it with food.
Measure the liquid form (oral solution) of ritonavir with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Liquid ritonavir can be mixed with chocolate milk or a nutrition drink such as Ensure. Drink the mixture within 1 hour after mixing.
It is important to use ritonavir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of different drugs. To best treat your condition, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor. Be sure to read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each of your medications. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without advice from your doctor. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.
Your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.Store ritonavir capsules in the refrigerator or at room temperature, away from heat or moisture. If you store the capsules at room temperature you must use them within 30 days. Store ritonavir liquid at room temperature with the cap tightly closed. Do not refrigerate.
See also: Ritonavir dosage in more detail
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
If you also take didanosine, take it 2 hours before or after you take ritonavir.Ritonavir oral liquid contains alcohol. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while using this medicine, and do not take disulfiram (Antabuse) or you could have an alcohol reaction. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing needles, razors, or toothbrushes. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Talk with your doctor about safe methods of preventing HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
slow or uneven heart rate, feeling like you might pass out;
fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
increased urination or extreme thirst;
easy bruising or bleeding;
signs of a new infection, such as fever or chills, cough, or flu symptoms;
severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate; or
low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include:
mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;
numbness or tingling, especially around your mouth;
headache, mood changes; or
changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for HIV Infection:
As a pharmacokinetic booster for other protease inhibitors: 100 to 400 mg/day orally in 1 or 2 divided dosesFDA-approved dose:Initial dose: 300 mg orally twice a dayMaintenance dose: Increase by 100 mg twice daily every 2 to 3 days to the full dose of 600 mg orally twice a day
Usual Pediatric Dose for HIV Infection:
1 month to 12 years:Initial dose: 250 mg/m2 orally twice a dayMaintenance dose: Increase by 50 mg/m2 twice daily every 2 to 3 days to the full dose of 350 to 450 mg/m2 orally twice a day; if 450 mg/m2 twice daily is intolerable, the highest tolerated dose in combination with other antiretrovirals may be used although a different protease inhibitor should be consideredMaximum: 600 mg/dose13 years or older:Initial dose: 300 mg orally twice a dayMaintenance dose: Increase by 100 mg twice daily every 2 to 3 days to the full dose of 600 mg orally twice a day
atovaquone (Malarone, Mepron) or quinine (Qualaquin);
salmeterol (Advair, Serevent);
theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Uniphyl);
steroid medication (prednisone, Advair, Flonase, Flovent, DexPak, Dexasone, Cortastat, and others);
an antibiotic(such as Biaxin, Mycobutin, Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater);
an antifungal medication (such as Nizoral or Sporanox);
an antidepressant (Elavil, Vanatrip, Wellbutrin, Norpramin, nefazodone, Paxil, Zoloft, Desyrel, and others);
heart or blood pressure medication (Lopressor, Toprol, Blocadren, Norpace, Mexitil, digitalis, Lanoxin, Cartia, Cardizem, Plendil, Nifedical, Procardia, Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan, and others);
cholesterol-lowering medicine (such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor);
medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection;
any other HIV/AIDS medicines (especially Prezista, Rescriptor, Lexiva, Crixivan, Invirase, or Aptivus);
insulin or diabetes medication you take by mouth;
medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder;
erectile dysfunction medication (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra;
pain medication (such as Demerol, Darvon, Darvocet, Ultram, Ultracet);
a sedative (such as BuSpar, Tranxene, Prosom, Dalmane); or
seizure medications (such as Carbatrol, Tegretol, Lamictal, Klonopin, Depakote, Zarontin, Dilantin).