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Drugs reference index «atazanavir»

atazanavir (Oral route)

Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Reyataz

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Capsule

Therapeutic Class: Antiviral

Pharmacologic Class: Protease Inhibitor

Uses For atazanavir

Atazanavir is used with other medicines, in the treatment of the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Atazanavir will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS; however, it helps keep HIV from reproducing and appears to slow down the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay the development of problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease. Atazanavir will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people. People who receive atazanavir may continue to have other problems usually related to AIDS or HIV disease.

atazanavir is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using atazanavir

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 atazanavir, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to atazanavir 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 atazanavir in children 3 months to less than 6 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 3 months of age.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of atazanavir in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution in patients receiving atazanavir.


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersBAnimal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

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 atazanavir with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Cisapride
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Dronedarone
  • Ergoloid Mesylates
  • Ergonovine
  • Ergotamine
  • Irinotecan
  • Lovastatin
  • Methylergonovine
  • Methysergide
  • Midazolam
  • Pimozide
  • Ranolazine
  • Rifampin
  • Sildenafil
  • Silodosin
  • Simvastatin
  • St John's Wort
  • Tolvaptan
  • Triazolam

Using atazanavir with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Amiodarone
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amlodipine
  • Atorvastatin
  • Cimetidine
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clomipramine
  • Colchicine
  • Dasatinib
  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Diltiazem
  • Disopyramide
  • Esomeprazole
  • Etravirine
  • Everolimus
  • Famotidine
  • Felodipine
  • Fluticasone
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Garlic
  • Iloperidone
  • Imipramine
  • Indinavir
  • Ixabepilone
  • Lansoprazole
  • Lapatinib
  • Lidocaine
  • Lofepramine
  • Minocycline
  • Nevirapine
  • Nicardipine
  • Nifedipine
  • Nilotinib
  • Nizatidine
  • Omeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Pazopanib
  • Quinidine
  • Rabeprazole
  • Ranitidine
  • Rifabutin
  • Romidepsin
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Salmeterol
  • Sunitinib
  • Tadalafil
  • Tamsulosin
  • Temsirolimus
  • Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate
  • Tipranavir
  • Trimipramine
  • Venlafaxine
  • Verapamil

Using atazanavir 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.

  • Didanosine
  • Efavirenz
  • Fentanyl
  • Lopinavir
  • Maraviroc
  • Methadone
  • Posaconazole
  • Saquinavir
  • Trazodone

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 atazanavir. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) or
  • Hyperglycemia—Atazanavir may increase or decrease the amount of sugar in your blood.
  • Heart conduction problems—May change the way your heart beats and increase your chance of getting side effects.
  • Hemophilia—Use of atazanavir may increase your chance of having serious bleeding problems.
  • Hepatitis B or
  • Hepatitis C—Use of atazanavir may make these problems worse.
  • Kidney disease, severe or
  • Liver disease, severe—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Liver disease, mild to moderate—Use with caution. May increase your chance of getting side effects.

Proper Use of atazanavir

Take atazanavir exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not change the dose or stop using atazanavir without checking with your doctor first. When your supply of atazanavir is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of atazanavir.

atazanavir may be taken in combination with other medicines that are used to treat HIV infection. Check with your doctor for information and dose amounts.

It is important that atazanavir be taken with food.

Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open it.

If you are also using didanosine (Videx®), take the atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after taking didanosine.

atazanavir comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow this carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.


The dose of atazanavir 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 atazanavir. 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 (capsules):
    • For HIV infection (patient already had HIV treatment):
      • Adults—300 milligrams (mg) with 100 mg of ritonavir (Norvir®) once a day.
      • Children (6 to less than 18 years of age)—200 to 300 milligrams (mg) with 100 mg of ritonavir (Norvir®) once a day. Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children (less than 6 years of age)—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For HIV infection (patient never had HIV treatment):
      • Adults—300 milligrams (mg) with 100 mg of ritonavir (Norvir®) once a day or 400 mg without ritonavir once a day.
      • Children (6 to less than 18 years of age)—150 to 300 milligrams (mg) with 80 to 100 mg of ritonavir (Norvir®) once a day. Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
      • Children (less than 6 years of age)—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of atazanavir, 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.

Do not throw any unused medicine in the trash. Flush it down the toilet or take it to a community take-back program when available.

Precautions While Using atazanavir

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

Do not use atazanavir if you are also using cisapride (Propulsid®), indinavir (Crixivan®), irinotecan (Camptosar®), lovastatin (Altocor®, Mevacor®), oral midazolam (Versed®), pimozide (Orap®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), simvastatin (Zocor®), triazolam (Halcion®), or ergot medicines (e.g., dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, D.H.E. 45®, Ergomar®, Ergostat®, Ergotrate®, Methergine®, Migranal®, or Wigraine®).

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines, and herbal (e.g., St. John’s wort) or vitamin supplements.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

atazanavir may increase your risk of having kidney stones. Check with your doctor right away and stop using atazanavir if you have blood in your urine, nausea and vomiting, pain in the groin or genitals, or sharp back pain just below the ribs.

atazanavir may increase blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor if you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests.

Birth control pills may not work as well while you are using atazanavir. To keep from getting pregnant, use an additional form of birth control along with your pills. Other forms of birth control include condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies.

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.

Serious skin reactions can occur with atazanavir. Check with your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms while taking atazanavir: blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; chills; cough; diarrhea; itching; joint or muscle pain; red skin lesions, often with a purple center; skin rash; sore throat; sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

atazanavir 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. atazanavir 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.

atazanavir may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.

Tell the doctor in charge that you are taking atazanavir before you have any medical tests. The results of some tests may be affected by atazanavir.

atazanavir 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:

Incidence not known
  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  • abdominal or stomach fullness
  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • bloating
  • blood in the urine
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • constipation
  • dark colored urine
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • fever
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • gaseous abdominal pain
  • general feeling of discomfort
  • headache
  • hives
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • indigestion
  • irregular heartbeat
  • itching
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle pain or cramping
  • nausea
  • pain in the groin or genitals
  • pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • recurrent fever
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • sharp back pain just below the ribs
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • sleepiness
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • stomachache
  • sweating
  • swelling
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble with breathing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • vomiting of blood
  • wheezing
  • 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:

More common
  • Back pain
  • cough, increased
  • discouragement
  • extra body fat
  • feeling sad or empty
  • irritability
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
Less common
  • Burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations
  • difficulty with moving
  • muscle stiffness
  • pain
  • pain in the joints
  • sleeplessness
  • unable to sleep
  • unsteadiness or awkwardness
  • weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
Incidence not known
  • Hair loss or thinning of hair
  • rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin

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.

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  • Atazanavir MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Reyataz Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Reyataz Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)
  • Reyataz Consumer Overview

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