Generic Name: ritonavir (rit OH na vir)
Brand Names: Norvir

What is Norvir?

Norvir (ritonavir) is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Norvir is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Norvir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take Norvir with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), flecainide (Tambocor), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine (Quin-G), voriconazole (Vfend), cisapride (Propulsid), pimozide (Orap), midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion), St. John's wort, lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync), sildenafil (Revatio, to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Cafergot, Ergotrate, D.H.E. 45, Migranal, Methergine.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

There are many other medicines that can interact with Norvir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

Taking Norvir will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Norvir if you are allergic to ritonavir.

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take Norvir with:

  • alfuzosin (Uroxatral);

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);

  • cisapride (Propulsid);

  • flecainide (Tambocor);

  • lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor) or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync);

  • midazolam (Versed) or triazolam (Halcion);

  • pimozide (Orap);

  • propafenone (Rythmol);

  • quinidine (Quin-G);

  • sildenafil (Revatio) when used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH);

  • St. John's wort;

  • voriconazole (Vfend); or

  • ergot medicine such as ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Migergot), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergonovine (Ergotrate), or methylergonovine (Methergine).

To make sure you can safely take Norvir, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease (especially hepatitis B or C);
  • diabetes;

  • heart disease or heart rhythm disorder;

  • a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides.

FDA pregnancy category B. Norvir is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby, but HIV can be passed to your baby if you are not properly treated during pregnancy. Take all of your HIV medicines as directed to control your infection. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk. Norvir can make birth control pills or patches less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non-hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking Norvir.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

How should I take Norvir?

Take Norvir exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Norvir tablets must be taken with meals. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. Swallow it whole.

Norvir capsules or liquid should be taken with food if possible. Shake the liquid well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Liquid Norvir can be mixed with chocolate milk or a nutrition drink such as Ensure. Drink the mixture within 1 hour after mixing.

Use Norvir regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

Your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Store Norvir capsules in the refrigerator or at room temperature, away from heat or moisture. If you store the capsules at room temperature you must use them within 30 days. Protect from light. Store Norvir tablets at room temperature away from heat or moisture. Store ritonavir liquid at room temperature with the cap tightly closed. Do not refrigerate.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of Norvir oral liquid could be fatal to a child.

What should I avoid?

If you also take didanosine (Videx), take it at least 2.5 hours before or after you take Norvir.

Norvir capsules and oral liquid contain alcohol. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while using this medicine, and do not take disulfiram (Antabuse) or you could have an alcohol reaction. Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Norvir side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Norvir: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking Norvir and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • slow or uneven heart rate, feeling like you might pass out;

  • increased urination or extreme thirst;

  • easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleed or bleeding gums);

  • signs of a new infection, such as fever or chills, cough, or flu symptoms;

  • rapid heart rate, increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);

  • diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;

  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);

  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, trouble speaking or swallowing, joint or muscle pain, feeling short of breath;

  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes;

  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement;

  • severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control;

  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • nausea, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious Norvir side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting;

  • numbness or tingling, especially around your mouth;

  • headache, mood changes; 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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Norvir?

Many drugs can interact with Norvir. Below is just a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • ADHD medication;

  • atorvastatin (Lipitor, Caduet) or rosuvastatin (Crestor);

  • atovaquone (Malarone, Mepron) or quinine (Qualaquin);

  • salmeterol (Advair, Serevent), theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Uniphyl);

  • steroids (oral, nasal, inhalation, or injectable)

  • an antibiotic or antifungal medication;

  • an antidepressant;

  • any other HIV/AIDS medications;

  • heart or blood pressure medication;

  • insulin or diabetes medication you take by mouth;

  • medications to treat leukemia;

  • medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection;

  • medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder;

  • erectile dysfunction medication (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra);

  • narcotic pain medication such as fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Lazanda, Onsolis);

  • a sedative (such as BuSpar, Tranxene, Prosom, Dalmane); or

  • seizure medication.

This list is not complete and many other medicines can interact with Norvir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Norvir.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Norvir only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 15.01. Revision Date: 2012-04-13, 5:12:35 PM.

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