Kaletra

Generic Name: Ritonavir

  • What is Kaletra?

    Kaletra is a combination of two medicines, lopinavir and ritonavir, used to treat HIV infection (AIDS).

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

    Kaletra may cause serious side effects, including changes in your heart rhythm and the electrical activity of your heart. Your risk for these problems may be higher if you already have a history of abnormal heart rhythm, other types of heart disease, or if you take other medicines that can affect your heart rhythm.

    Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms while taking Kaletra: dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, or sensation of abnormal heartbeat.

  • Who should not take Kaletra?

    Do not take Kaletra if you are allergic to the medication or any of its ingredients, including ritonavir or lopinavir.

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

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Kaletra. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have any heart problems (including a condition called congenital long QT syndrome), liver problems (including hepatitis B or C), diabetes, hemophilia (a bleeding disorder), low potassium in your blood, 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: Kaletra is available as a tablet and an oral solution. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you.

    Children 14 days-18 years: Your child's doctor will determine the proper dose based on your child's weight.

  • How should I take Kaletra?

    Take Kaletra every day exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It is very important to set up a dosing schedule and follow it every day. Do not change your treatment or stop treatment without first talking with your doctor.

    Swallow Kaletra tablets whole. Do not chew, break, or crush Kaletra tablets. You can take Kaletra tablets with or without food.

    If you are taking both didanosine and Kaletra, didanosine can be taken at the same time as Kaletra tablets, without food. Take didanosine either 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking Kaletra oral solution.

    Take Kaletra oral solution with food to help it work better.

    If Kaletra is being used for your child, tell your doctor if your child's weight changes. Kaletra should not be given once a day in children. When giving Kaletra to your child, give Kaletra exactly as prescribed.

    Talk with your doctor if you take or plan to take metronidazole or disulfiram. You can have severe nausea and vomiting if you take these medicines with Kaletra.

    When your Kaletra supply starts to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacy. It is important not to run out of Kaletra. The amount of HIV virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may become resistant to Kaletra and become harder to treat.

  • What should I avoid while taking Kaletra?

    Avoid doing things that can spread HIV infection, since Kaletra does not stop you from passing HIV to others. Do not share needles, other injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, such as toothbrushes and razor blades. Always use a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.

    Avoid taking any new medications without first talking to your doctor.

    Do not stop taking Kaletra unless your doctor tells you to do so. If the medicine is stopped for even a short time, the amount of HIV in your blood may increase, or the virus may develop resistance to Kaletra and become harder to treat.

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

    If Kaletra is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Kaletra with the following: alfuzosin, ergot-containing medicines, lovastatin, midazolam oral syrup, pimozide, simvastatin, sildenafil, triazolam, rifampin, St. John's wort, amprenavir, atorvastatin, bosentan, carbamazepine, colchicine, dasatinib, efavirenz, estrogen-containing birth control patches or pills, fentanyl, fluticasone propionate, methadone, nelfinavir, nevirapine, nilotinib, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifabutin, rosuvastatin, salmeterol, sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil.

  • What are the possible side effects of Kaletra?

    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: diarrhea, nausea, stomach area (abdominal) pain, feeling weak, vomiting, headache, upset stomach

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

    The effects of Kaletra during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV, as there is a chance that the virus can be transmitted to your baby. 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 Kaletra?

    If you forget to take Kaletra, take the missed dose right away. If it is almost time for your next dose, do not take the missed dose. Instead, follow your regular dosing schedule by taking your next dose at its regular time. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Kaletra?

    Store Kaletra tablets at room temperature in a tightly closed container.

    Store Kaletra oral solution in a refrigerator. Kaletra oral solution that is kept refrigerated may be used until the expiration date printed on the label. Kaletra oral solution that is stored at room temperature should be used within 2 months.

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I'm Kristen Dore, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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