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Generic name: cabotegravir [ KA-boe-TEG-ra-vir ]
Brand names: Apretude, Vocabria
Dosage forms: intramuscular suspension, extended release (600 mg/3 mL), oral tablet (30 mg)
Drug class: Integrase strand transfer inhibitor

Medically reviewed by on May 23, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is cabotegravir?

Cabotegravir is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body. HIV is the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Cabotegravir tablet is used together with another antiviral called rilpivirine for treatment of HIV in people 12 years and older weighing at least 77 pounds (35 kg) to replace their current HIV medicines.

Cabotegravir is also used in HIV negative patients to lower the chance of getting HIV infection in people 12 years and older weighing at least 77 pounds (35 kg). You must be HIV negative to start and keep using cabotegravir to lower the chance of getting HIV infection.

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine are given as a daily "lead-in dose" to help determine that you can safely use a combination form of these medicines given as an injection.

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine may also be given short-term in place of the injectable combination if you plan to miss an injection by more than 7 days.

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine is for use in adults who have already used other antiviral HIV medications that have controlled their viral load. These medicines are not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

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

Cabotegravir side effects

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

Stop using cabotegravir and get medical help at once if you have a skin rash with any of the following symptoms:

Cabotegravir may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of cabotegravir may include:

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.


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.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use cabotegravir if you are allergic to it.

Many drugs can interact and cause dangerous effects. Some drugs should not be used together with cabotegravir. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether cabotegravir will harm an unborn baby. However, HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. Your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of cabotegravir on the baby.

Women with HIV or AIDS should not breastfeed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.

Cabotegravir is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old or weighing less than 77 pounds (35 kilograms).

How should I use cabotegravir?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine tablet is usually given once per day starting at least 28 days before you switch to the injectable combination.

Cabotegravir injection is injected into the muscle of your buttock once every month for the first 2 months, then once every 2 months.

Take cabotegravir and rilpivirine tablet with a meal. If you take the medicines at separate times, cabotegravir may be taken with or without food.

On the last day you take cabotegravir and rilpivirine tablets, you will receive your first injectable dose of these medicines.

If you miss or plan to miss an injection by more than 7 days, call your healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options.

You must remain under the care of a doctor while using cabotegravir and rilpivirine in tablet or injection form. Stay on schedule to get the most benefit. Missing doses can increase your risk of HIV that is resistant to medication.

If you stop using cabotegravir and rilpivirine, you will need to start using other HIV medicines to prevent your condition from becoming resistant. Call your healthcare provider right away to discuss your treatment options.

You will need frequent medical tests. Cabotegravir and rilpivirine can have long lasting effects on your body (up to 12 months after your last dose). You may still need medical tests for a short time after you stop using cabotegravir.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can. Do not take two doses at one time.

Try not to miss any doses, and be sure you have enough tablets for required doses.

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of Cabotegravir injection.

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 using cabotegravir?

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine is a complete treatment. Do not use other HIV medications unless your doctor tells you to.

Using cabotegravir may 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 other drugs will affect cabotegravir?

Some antacids can make cabotegravir much less effective when taken at the same time. If you take an antacid, take it at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after you take cabotegravir.

Other drugs may affect cabotegravir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.