What is the most important information I should know about saquinavir?
You should not take saquinavir if you have certain serious heart problems, severe liver disease, low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, or if you have taken rilpivirine in the past 2 weeks.
Saquinavir must be taken together with another medicine called ritonavir.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.
Saquinavir can cause serious heart rhythm problems. Call your doctor at once if you have fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness.
What is saquinavir?
Saquinavir is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.
Saquinavir is used together with ritonavir to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Neither saquinavir nor ritonavir will cure HIV or AIDS.
Saquinavir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking saquinavir?
You should not take saquinavir if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a serious heart condition called "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker);
- long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);
- severe liver disease;
- low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood;
- if you also take medicine that contains cobicistat; or
- if you have taken rilpivirine in the past 2 weeks.
Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take saquinavir and ritonavir with certain other medicines. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use:
- other HIV medicines --atazanavir, rilpivirine;
- oral midazolam, or triazolam;
- sildenafil (Revatio, for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension);
- antidepressant or anti-psychotic medicine --chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, lurasidone, mesoridazine, pimozide, thioridazine, trazodone, ziprasidone;
- cancer medicine --dasatinib, sunitinib;
- certain anti-infective medicines --clarithromycin, dapsone, erythromycin, halofantrine, pentamidine, rifampin;
- cholesterol medication --lovastatin, simvastatin;
- ergot medicine --dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergonovine, methylergonovine; or
- heart rhythm medicine --amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, lidocaine, propafenone, or quinidine.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart disease;
- liver disease (including hepatitis B or C);
- hemophilia (a bleeding disorder);
- cirrhosis, alcoholism;
- diabetes; or
- hereditary galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
To prevent HIV in a newborn baby, use all medications to control your infection during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on an antiviral pregnancy registry.
Saquinavir can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about other birth control options such as an injection, implant, skin patch, vaginal ring, condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or contraceptive sponge.
Women with HIV should not breastfeed. The virus can pass to your baby in your breast milk.
Not approved for use by anyone younger than 16 years old.
How should I take saquinavir?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Saquinavir must be taken together with ritonavir and it should not be used alone.
Take your medicine with food or within 2 hours after eating a full meal. Take the medicine at the same times each day.
You will need frequent medical tests.
Use all HIV medications as directed. Do not change your dose or stop using a medicine without your doctor's advice. Remain under the care of a doctor.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Skipping doses may increase the risk of your virus becoming resistant to antiviral medicine.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking saquinavir?
Using this medicine will not prevent your disease from spreading. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Ask your doctor how to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe.
What are the possible side effects of saquinavir?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- heart rhythm problems --fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);
- high blood sugar --increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; or
- liver problems --upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Saquinavir affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:
- signs of a new infection --fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;
- trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
- swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;
- tired feeling; 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.
What other drugs will affect saquinavir?
Many drugs can affect saquinavir, and some drugs should not be used at the same time. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about saquinavir.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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