Skip to Content
Living with HIV? Check out the patient's guide to HIV

Atazanavir

Generic Name: atazanavir and cobicistat (A-ta-ZAN-a-vir & koe-BIK-i-stat)
Brand Name: Evotaz

Atazanavir is used for:

Treating HIV infection along with other medicines.

Atazanavir is a combination of an HIV protease inhibitor and an inhibitor of medicine metabolism. The HIV protease inhibitor works by blocking the growth of HIV. The inhibitor of medicine metabolism works by boosting the action of other HIV medicines.

Do NOT use atazanavir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in atazanavir
  • you have severe kidney problems and are on dialysis
  • you have liver problems
  • you have kidney problems and you are also taking tenofovir
  • you are taking another medicine that has the same medicine in it
  • you are taking alfuzosin, apixaban, avanafil, boceprevir, cisapride, dronedarone, efavirenz, an ergot derivative (eg, ergotamine), etravirine, other HIV protease inhibitors (eg, indinavir, ritonavir), irinotecan, lovastatin, lurasidone, nevirapine, oral midazolam, paclitaxel, pimozide, ranolazine, repaglinide, rifampin, rivaroxaban, salmeterol, simeprevir, simvastatin, St. John's wort, telaprevir, or triazolam
  • you are taking sildenafil for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
  • you are taking tenofovir and are also taking or have recently taken a medicine that may harm your kidneys (eg, an aminoglycoside antibiotic [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug [NSAID] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin). Ask your doctor if you are not sure if any of your medicines might harm your kidneys
  • you are taking colchicine and you also have kidney or liver problems

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 14 Essential Health Screenings That All Men Should Consider

Before using atazanavir:

Some medical conditions may interact with atazanavir. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have hemophilia, diabetes or high blood sugar, heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat), or kidney problems
  • if you have a history of kidney stones, gallstones, or hepatitis B or C

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with atazanavir. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Many prescription and nonprescription medicines (eg, used for abortion, aches and pains, allergies, angina, asthma or other lung or breathing problems, birth control, blood thinning, blood vessel problems, cancer, Cushing syndrome, cystic fibrosis, depression or other mental or mood problems, diabetes or high blood sugar, enlarged prostate gland, erectile dysfunction, gout, heartburn or reflux disease, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, HIV, immune system suppression, infections, inflammation, intermittent claudication, irregular heartbeat or other heart problems, low blood sodium levels, migraines, myelofibrosis, nausea and vomiting, opioid addiction, overactive bladder, PAH, pain, prostate problems, pulmonary hypertension, seizures, sleeping problems, stomach or bowel problems, Tourette syndrome), multivitamin products, or herbal or dietary supplements (eg, St. John's wort) because they may interact with atazanavir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines might interact with atazanavir

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if atazanavir may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use atazanavir:

Use atazanavir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with atazanavir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take atazanavir by mouth with food.
  • If you also take an H2 antagonist (eg, cimetidine) or a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) (eg, omeprazole), talk with your doctor about how to take it with atazanavir.
  • If you also take didanosine, take atazanavir at least 2 hours before or 1 hour after the didanosine.
  • If you also take an antacid, take atazanavir at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after the antacid.
  • Take atazanavir on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
  • Taking atazanavir at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • Continue to use atazanavir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of atazanavir, take it as soon as possible. If it has been 12 hours or more since the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use atazanavir.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take atazanavir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Atazanavir interacts with many other medicines. The risk of atazanavir's side effects may be increased or atazanavir's effectiveness may be decreased. The risk of the other medicines' side effects may also be increased. This may include severe, life-threatening, or fatal side effects. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to take atazanavir with all of your other medicines (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins).
  • Atazanavir is not a cure for HIV infection. Patients may still get illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor.
  • When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking atazanavir, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
  • Atazanavir does not stop the spread of HIV to others through blood or sexual contact. Do not have any kind of sex without protection (eg, latex or polyurethane condoms) if you have HIV infection. Do not share needles, injection supplies, or items like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your health care provider about ways to prevent the spread of HIV to others.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, change your dose, or stop taking atazanavir without checking with your doctor.
  • Changes in body fat (eg, an increased amount of fat in the upper back, neck, breast, and trunk; loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face) may occur in some patients taking atazanavir. The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
  • Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using atazanavir. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms).
  • Atazanavir may improve immune system function. This may reveal hidden infections in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of an infection (eg, fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, shortness of breath) or any other unusual symptoms after you start atazanavir.
  • Severe skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) have happened. They can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Serious kidney problems (eg, kidney failure) have happened in people taking atazanavir with another HIV medicine (tenofovir). Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Atazanavir may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Diabetes patients - Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Hemophilia patients - Some people with hemophilia have developed increased bleeding while taking protease inhibitors, such as atazanavir. Report all bleeding episodes to your doctor.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use atazanavir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Atazanavir should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 3 months old; a type of brain damage caused by high blood bilirubin levels (kernicterus) may occur.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using atazanavir while you are pregnant. If you take atazanavir during pregnancy, tell your doctor if your baby's skin or eyes turn yellow. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or atazanavir to the baby.

Possible side effects of atazanavir:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blood in the urine; dizziness; fainting; fever; irregular heartbeat; light-headedness; muscle or joint aches; painful urination; severe or persistent nausea or vomiting; stomach or back pain; symptoms of kidney problems (eg, not able to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, a big weight gain); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, right-upper stomach pain, yellowing of skin or eyes); yellowing of skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of atazanavir:

Store atazanavir at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep atazanavir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about atazanavir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Atazanavir is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take atazanavir or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about atazanavir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to atazanavir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using atazanavir.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015
Database Edition 15.2.1.003
Copyright © 2015 Clinical Drug Information, LLC

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide