Invirase

Generic Name: Saquinavir

  • What is Invirase?

    Invirase is a medicine used in combination with ritonavir and other anti-HIV medications to treat HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection (AIDS). Invirase is a type of medication called a protease inhibitor. Invirase is available as capsules and tablets.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Invirase?

    You must take Invirase with ritonavir and other HIV medications. Always stay on continuous HIV therapy to control your HIV infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. Though Invirase can slow the progress of HIV, it is not a cure. Also, Invirase does not lower your chance of passing HIV to others through sexual contact with any body fluids, such as semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. You may continue to develop infections and other complications associated with HIV.

    Invirase can cause changes in your heart rhythm and the electrical activity of your heart, which can lead to serious heart problems. You have a higher chance of getting these problems if you have a history of abnormal heart rhythm or are taking other medicines that can affect your heart rhythm while you are taking Invirase. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or sensation of abnormal heartbeats.

    Invirase can worsen or cause new diabetes, or increase your blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you notice an increase in thirst or urinate more often than normal while you are taking Invirase. Also, Invirase can worsen liver problems if you already have liver problems, including hepatitis B or C, cirrhosis, or a history of alcoholism. Invirase can also increase bleeding in people with hemophilia (a bleeding disorder).

    Invirase can raise your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Your doctor will check your cholesterol and triglycerides levels before you start Invirase and regularly during treatment.

    Invirase can cause changes or accumulation of body fat in your upper back and neck ("buffalo hump"), breast, and around the middle of your body. Loss of fat from your legs, arms, and face can also occur.

    Changes in your immune system can occur when you start taking Invirase. Your immune system can get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Call your doctor immediately if you start having new symptoms after starting Invirase.

  • Who should not take Invirase?

    Do not take Invirase if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients, or if you have a severe liver problem.

    Do not take Invirase if you have or are at risk of having a certain heart block (unless you have a pacemaker), if you have an abnormal heartbeat called congenital long QT syndrome, or if you have low blood potassium or magnesium levels.

    Do not take Invirase if you are currently taking alfuzosin, amiodarone, bepridil, cisapride, dihydroergotamine, dofetilide, ergonovine, ergotamine, flecainide, lidocaine, lovastatin, methylergonovine, pimozide, propafenone, quinidine, rifampin, sildenafil, simvastatin, trazodone, or triazolam.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Invirase?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Invirase. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have any heart problems; diabetes; liver problems, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C; hemophilia; or are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults or adolescents ≥16 years: The recommended dose is 1000 milligrams (mg), (five 200-mg capsules or two 500-mg tablets), twice a day in combination with ritonavir.

  • How should I take Invirase?

    Take Invirase exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and at the same time each day. You can take Invirase with meals or up to 2 hours after a meal.

  • What should I avoid while taking Invirase?

    Do not breastfeed while you are taking Invirase.

    Do not share needles or personal items that can have blood or bodily fluids on them (such as toothbrushes or razor blades).

    Do not have unprotected sex.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Invirase?

    If Invirase is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is important to check with your doctor before combining Invirase with any other medication.

  • What are the possible side effects of Invirase?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, lung infection, nausea, tiredness, vomiting

  • Can I receive Invirase if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Invirase during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. It is recommended that you do not breastfeed your baby if you are infected with HIV. This is because your baby could become infected with HIV through your breast milk. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Invirase?

    If you miss a dose of Invirase, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Invirase?

    Store at room temperature.