Generic Name: saquinavir (sa-KWIN-a-vir)
Brand Name: Invirase
Saquinavir is used for:
Treating HIV infection. Saquinavir must be taken along with ritonavir.
Saquinavir is a protease inhibitor. It works by blocking the growth of HIV.
Do NOT use saquinavir if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in saquinavir or to ritonavir
- you have severe liver problems, certain electrolyte problems (eg, low blood potassium or magnesium levels), or a certain type of irregular heartbeat (heart block) and you do not have a pacemaker, or if you are at risk of heart block
- you have a history of a certain type of irregular heartbeat (eg, congenital long QT syndrome, QT prolongation)
- you are taking alfuzosin, amiodarone, bepridil, cisapride, dihydroergotamine, dofetilide, ergonovine, ergotamine, flecainide, fusidic acid, a garlic supplement, lidocaine, lovastatin, methylergonovine, oral midazolam, pimozide, propafenone, quinidine, rifampin, salmeterol, simvastatin, tipranavir/ritonavir, trazodone, or triazolam
- you are taking sildenafil for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
- you take colchicine and also have kidney or liver problems
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using saquinavir:
Some medical conditions may interact with saquinavir. 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 heart problems (eg, slow or irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure [CHF]), high blood cholesterol or triglycerides, hepatitis or other liver problems, kidney problems, hemophilia, or blood electrolyte problems
- if you have diabetes or high blood sugar, or if a member of your family has diabetes
- if you have alcoholism or a history of alcohol abuse
- if you take any medicine that may increase the risk of a certain type of irregular heartbeat (prolonged QT interval). Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may increase the risk of this type of irregular heartbeat
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with saquinavir. 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, allergies, anxiety, asthma or other lung or breathing problems, birth control, blood thinning, blood vessel problems, cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression or other mental or mood problems, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, gout, heartburn or reflux, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, HIV, immune system suppression, infections, inflammation, irregular heartbeat or other heart problems, migraine headaches, narcotic dependence, nausea or vomiting, overactive bladder, PAH, pain, seizures, sleep, stomach or bowel problems), multivitamin products, and herbal or dietary supplements (eg, garlic, St. John's wort) because they may interact with saquinavir. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines might interact with saquinavir
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if saquinavir 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 saquinavir:
Use saquinavir as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Saquinavir comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get saquinavir refilled.
- Take saquinavir and ritonavir within 2 hours after a full meal.
- Ritonavir should be taken at the same time as saquinavir.
- Taking saquinavir at the same times each day will help you to remember to take it.
- Take saquinavir on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
- Talk with your doctor before you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you use saquinavir.
- Continue to take saquinavir even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of saquinavir, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next 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 saquinavir.
Important safety information:
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take saquinavir before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Saquinavir interacts with many other medicines. The risk of saquinavir's side effects may be increased or saquinavir'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 saquinavir with all of your other medicines (prescription or over-the-counter, natural products, vitamins).
- Saquinavir may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use saquinavir with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- 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 saquinavir. The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
- Saquinavir 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 saquinavir.
- Do not stop taking saquinavir or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
- When your medicine supply is low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can. Do not stop taking saquinavir, even for a short period of time. If you do, the virus may grow resistant to the medicine and become harder to treat.
- Saquinavir is not a cure for HIV infection. Patients may still get illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor.
- Saquinavir 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.
- Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using saquinavir. 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 saquinavir. Report all bleeding episodes to your doctor.
- Saquinavir may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, urinate more often than usual, 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.
- Severe skin reactions (eg, Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) have happened with saquinavir. They 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.
- Lab tests, including liver function, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels, blood glucose levels, and blood electrolyte levels, may be performed while you use saquinavir. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking saquinavir while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking saquinavir. Mothers infected with HIV should not breast-feed. There is a risk of passing the HIV infection or saquinavir to the baby.
Possible side effects of saquinavir:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; mild stomach pain; nausea; tiredness; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; burning, numbness, or tingling; chest pain; confusion; coughing up blood; decreased coordination; dizziness or light-headedness; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent cough or sore throat; flu-like symptoms; mental or mood changes (eg, depression); one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent headache; shortness of breath; slurred speech; stomach pain or tenderness; suicidal thoughts or attempts; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, loss of appetite, pale stools, right-sided stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
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 saquinavir:
Store saquinavir at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C) in a tightly closed bottle. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store saquinavir in the bathroom. Keep saquinavir out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about saquinavir, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Saquinavir 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 saquinavir 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 saquinavir. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to saquinavir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using saquinavir.
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.