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

Generic Name: ritonavir (ri-TOE-na-vir)
Brand Name: Norvir

Use of Norvir along with certain other medicines (eg, certain antiarrhythmics, certain sleep medicines, ergot medicines) may cause severe and possibly life-threatening side effects. Inform your doctor and pharmacist of all prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you are taking before taking Norvir.


Norvir is used for:

Treating HIV in combination with other medicines.

Norvir is an HIV protease inhibitor. It works by blocking the growth of HIV.

Do NOT use Norvir if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Norvir
  • you are taking alfuzosin, amiodarone, avanafil, cisapride, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, flecainide, lovastatin, meperidine, methylergonovine, oral midazolam, pimozide, propafenone, quinidine, rivaroxaban, salmeterol, simeprevir, simvastatin, St. John's wort, or triazolam
  • you are taking sildenafil to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
  • you are taking colchicine and also have kidney or liver problems

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

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Before using Norvir:

Some medical conditions may interact with Norvir. 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 diabetes or high blood sugar, liver problems (eg, hepatitis B or C), abnormal liver function tests, hemophilia, high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, or a history of pancreatitis
  • if you have a history of heart problems (eg, heart failure, irregular heartbeat) or heart blood vessel problems
  • if you take another HIV protease inhibitor (eg, atazanavir, tipranavir)
  • if you take voriconazole. Certain doses of Norvir should not be taken with voriconazole

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Norvir. 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 infections, HIV, inflammation, allergic reactions, breathing problems, pain, birth control, blood circulation problems, blood thinning, cancer, diabetes, drug or other substance abuse or dependence, glaucoma or increased eye pressure, gout, high blood iron levels, irregular heartbeat or other heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, immune system suppression, nausea and vomiting, overactive bladder, PAH, seizures, sleep disorders, depression or other mood or mental problems), multivitamin products, and herbal or dietary supplements (eg, St. John's wort) because they may interact with Norvir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines might interact with Norvir.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Norvir 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 Norvir:

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

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Norvir. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take Norvir by mouth with meals.
  • Swallow Norvir whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
  • Continue to take Norvir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of Norvir, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. It is important not to miss doses of Norvir. Do not take 2 doses at once.

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

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Norvir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking Norvir without checking with your doctor.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
  • Norvir may improve immune system function. This may reveal hidden infections in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of infection (eg, fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, shortness of breath) after you start Norvir.
  • Norvir does not stop the spread of HIV to others through blood or sexual contact. Use barrier methods of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have HIV infection. Do not share needles, injection supplies, or items like toothbrushes or razors.
  • Norvir 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 Norvir, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
  • 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 Norvir. The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
  • Patients taking certain medicines for erectile dysfunction (eg, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil) may experience low blood pressure, prolonged erections, and vision changes while taking Norvir. Talk to your doctor before taking these medicines with Norvir.
  • A severe skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause serious 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 and sometimes fatal liver problems have happened with Norvir. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, right-sided stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Serious and sometimes fatal pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with Norvir. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of pancreatitis (eg, severe stomach or back pain, with or without nausea or vomiting).
  • Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using Norvir. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms).
  • Hemophilia patients - Some people with hemophilia have developed increased bleeding while taking protease inhibitors, such as Norvir. Report all bleeding episodes to your doctor.
  • Norvir 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 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.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use Norvir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • If your child is taking Norvir, the dose may need to be changed as your child's weight changes. Have your child's weight checked often. Talk with the doctor before changing your child's dose.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Norvir while you are pregnant. Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or Norvir to the baby.

Possible side effects of Norvir:

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:

Abnormal skin sensations, especially around the mouth, fingers, and toes; diarrhea; headache; loss of appetite; mild stomach pain; nausea; taste changes; tiredness; vomiting; weakness.

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 or throat; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); chest, jaw or arm pain; decreased urination; dizziness or light-headedness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; flushed face; loss of consciousness; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); muscle or joint pain; seizures; shortness of breath; sudden, severe nausea or vomiting; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual sweating; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes; wheezing.

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 Norvir:

Store Norvir in the original container at room temperature up to 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). If stored outside of the original container, throw away any part not used after 2 weeks. Storage at temperatures up to 122 degrees F (50 degrees C) is permitted for up to 7 days. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Norvir out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Norvir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Norvir 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 Norvir 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 Norvir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Norvir. 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 Norvir.

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.

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