Active Substance: lopinavir / ritonavir
Common Name: lopinavir / ritonavir
ATC Code: J05AR10
Marketing Authorisation Holder: AbbVie Ltd
Active Substance: lopinavir / ritonavir
Authorisation Date: 2001-03-20
Therapeutic Area: HIV Infections
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Antivirals for systemic use, protease inhibitors
Kaletra is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral medicinal products for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infected adults, adolescents and children aged from 14 days and older.
The choice of Kaletra to treat protease inhibitor experienced HIV-1 infected patients should be based on individual viral resistance testing and treatment history of patients.
What is Kaletra and what is it used for?
Kaletra is an HIV medicine used in combination with other medicines to treat adults and children from over 14 days of age who are infected with HIV‑1. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Kaletra contains two active substances, lopinavir and ritonavir.
How is Kaletra used?
Kaletra is available as tablets, capsules and oral liquid. The capsules and liquid must be taken with food, but the tablets can be taken with or without food.
The medicine is taken once or twice daily in adults, and the dose depends on the type of virus the patient is infected with. In children, the dose depends on body weight and height.
Kaletra can only be obtained with a prescription and should be prescribed by a doctor with experience treating HIV infection. For further information, see the package leaflet.
How does Kaletra work?
Both active substances in Kaletra are protease inhibitors: they block an enzyme called protease that is involved in the reproduction of HIV. When the enzyme is blocked, the virus does not reproduce normally slowing down its multiplication in the body. In Kaletra, lopinavir provides the activity against the virus while ritonavir mainly works as a ‘booster’ to slow down the rate at which lopinavir is broken down by the liver. Kaletra does not cure HIV infection or AIDS, but it may hold off damage to the immune system, and the development of infections and diseases associated with AIDS.
What benefits of Kaletra have been shown in studies?
Studies have shown that Kaletra is effective at reducing viral load (the amount of virus found in the blood) to very low levels (below 400 copies/ml).
In one study of adults who had not been treated for HIV before, 79% of the patients taking Kaletra (259 out of 326) had very low levels of the virus after 24 weeks, compared with 71% of the patients taking nelfinavir (233 out of 327).
A second adult study in patients who had previously taken a protease inhibitor, 73% of the patients taking Kaletra (43 out of 59) had very low levels of the virus after 16 weeks, compared with 54% of the patients taking the comparator medicines (32 out of 59).
Studies in children from 14 days of age showed between 71% and 85% of patients having very low levels of the virus after 48 weeks of treatment with Kaletra.
What are the risks associated with Kaletra?
The most common side effects with Kaletra in adults (seen in more than 1 patient in 10) are upper respiratory tract infection (colds), nausea (feeling sick) and diarrhoea. Side effects are similar in children. For the full list of all side effects reported with Kaletra, see the package leaflet.
Kaletra must not be used by patients with severe liver disease or by patients who are taking St John’s wort (a herbal preparation used to treat depression) or medicines that are broken down in the same way as Kaletra and are harmful at high levels in the blood. For the full list of restrictions, see the package leaflet.
Why is Kaletra approved?
Kaletra is effective at reducing HIV viral loads to below 400 copies/ml in the majority of adults and children from 14 days of age. The medicine is also well tolerated and its side effects are manageable. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) therefore concluded that the benefits of Kaletra outweigh its risks and recommended that it be given marketing authorisation in the EU.
What measures are being taken to ensure the safe and effective use of Kaletra?
Recommendations and precautions to be followed by healthcare professionals and patients for the safe and effective use of Kaletra have been included in the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet.
Other information about Kaletra
The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Kaletra on 20 March 2001.
For more information about treatment with Kaletra, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Source: European Medicines Agency
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.