Generic Name: saquinavir (sa KWIN a veer)
Brand Name: Invirase
What is saquinavir?
Saquinavir is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.
Saquinavir is used together with ritonavir to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Neither saquinavir nor ritonavir will not cure HIV or AIDS.
Saquinavir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about saquinavir?
Saquinavir must be taken together with another medicine called ritonavir.
Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take saquinavir with certain other medicines. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with saquinavir.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking saquinavir?
You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to saquinavir or ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra), or if you have:
a serious heart condition called "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker);
personal or family history of long QT syndrome;
severe liver disease; or
low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood.
Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take saquinavir with:
oral midazolam, or triazolam;
sildenafil (Revatio, for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension);
anti-psychotic medication--chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, mesoridazine, pimozide, thioridazine, ziprasidone;
certain anti-infective medicines--clarithromycin, dapsone, erythromycin, halofantrine, pentamidine, rifampin;
cholesterol medication--lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor) or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin);
ergot medicine--dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergonovine, methylergonovine; or
heart rhythm medicine--amiodarone, dofetilide, flecainide, lidocaine, propafenone, or quinidine.
To make sure saquinavir is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease (including hepatitis B or C);
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia;
high cholesterol or triglycerides.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. 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.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of saquinavir on the baby.
Saquinavir can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using non hormonal birth control (condom, diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy.
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.
Saquinavir is not approved for use by anyone younger than 16 years old.
How should I take saquinavir?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Saquinavir must be taken together with ritonavir and it should not be used alone. You should not take saquinavir with cobicistat (Evotaz, Genvoya, Prezcobix, Stribild, Tybost).
Take your medicine with food or within 2 hours after eating a full meal.
To make swallowing easier, you may open the saquinavir capsule and sprinkle the medicine into 1 tablespoon of jam or sugar syrup (use sorbitol if you are diabetic). Stir the mixture for about a minute and allow it to reach room temperature. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use.
While using saquinavir, you may need frequent blood tests.
Use saquinavir 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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
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.
Try not to miss any of your doses. Skipping doses may increase the risk of your virus becoming resistant to antiviral medicine.
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 taking saquinavir?
Taking this medicine will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Do not have unprotected sex or share 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.
Saquinavir 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.
Saquinavir may increase your risk of certain infections or autoimmune disorders by changing the way your immune system works. Symptoms may occur weeks or months after you start treatment with saquinavir. Tell your doctor if you have:
signs of a new infection--fever, night sweats, swollen glands, mouth sores, diarrhea, stomach pain, weight loss;
chest pain (especially when you breathe), dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
cold sores, sores on your genital or anal area;
rapid heart rate, feeling anxious or irritable, weakness or prickly feeling, problems with balance or eye movement;
trouble speaking or swallowing, severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control; or
swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
any type of infection, skin infection, or open sores;
cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
high blood sugar--increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;
tired feeling; 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.
What other drugs will affect saquinavir?
Many drugs can interact with saquinavir, and some drugs should not be used together. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
any other antiviral medicines to treat hepatitis or HIV;
dexamethasone or fluticasone (Flonase, Advair);
fentanyl or methadone;
sildenafil (Viagra) and other erectile dysfunction medicines;
warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
an antibiotic or antifungal medicine;
an herbal supplement, especially garlic or St. John's wort;
heart or blood pressure medication;
medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection;
medicine to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension;
a sedative such as Valium, or other medicines to treat anxiety or mental illness; or
This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with saquinavir. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
More about Invirase (saquinavir)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
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- Drug class: protease inhibitors
Other brands: Fortovase
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about saquinavir.
- 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.
- 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 12.03.
Date modified: August 01, 2017
Last reviewed: May 13, 2016