Saquinavir is an HIV drug that is generally used along with ritonavir, as well as other medications to keep an HIV infection under control. It decreases the level of HIV that’s present in your body. This allows the immune system to be more robust and work better. It gives you a lower chance of having any of the complications that can come from HIV. These include getting cancer and new infections. It’s a drug that can improve a patient’s quality of life.

This medication is a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors. It has to be taken along with ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. This will increase the patient’s levels of saquinavir so that it can work more effectively. It doesn’t cure HIV, but it can keep it well under control. It can help prevent the patient from developing AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

Precautions and Warnings of Saquinavir

Before you take this medication, please tell your doctor about any allergies. You may be allergic to the active ingredient or any of the inactive ingredients. Some of the inactive ingredients may include lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to it, tell your doctor before you start this medication.

Before you take it, give the doctor your complete medical history, including any conditions you have now or had in the past. This is especially true if you have any problems with your lipids, including high triglycerides or cholesterol. It also includes liver problems, hemophilia, and diabetes.

This medication can cause QT prolongation, a heart rhythm condition that can cause patients to have an irregular or fast heartbeat, fainting, or dizziness. If you think you’re having this reaction to saquinavir, you’ll need to get immediate medical attention.

Several medications and health conditions can increase your risk of developing QT prolongation. These include several types of heart problems like heart failure, existing QT prolongation, or a slow heartbeat. If you have these problems in your family history, including sudden cardiac death, make sure your doctor knows about it.

You’re also more likely to develop QT prolongation if you have low magnesium or potassium blood levels. Using diuretics also increases the risk.

If you’re on birth control pills (such as Angeliq), saquinavir can cause them to be less effective. You may need to use an additional form of birth control while you use this medication. Saquinavir can raise your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely and notify your doctor if there’s a change in your test results.

This medication can cause problems with liver function. If you develop a liver problem, it will come with a host of symptoms, including yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, weakness and tiredness, pale stools, and upper stomach tenderness. This could mean that you have a severe problem with your liver.

Because this medication strengthens the immune system, it can start going into overdrive and attacking parts of the body. This is what happens in autoimmune disorders. It’s possible to develop Guillain-Barre syndrome, polymyositis, or Graves’ disease. This medication can also cause you to gain body fat. If you notice a change in your shape, let your doctor know. Also, let your doctor know if you drink a lot of alcohol or have a family history of diabetes.

Avoid eating grapefruit or any foods or drinks containing grapefruit while taking this medication. Grapefruit can keep saquinavir from being metabolized.

Saquinavir Side Effects

This medication can cause a wide range of side effects. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to this medication. If this happens, you may have difficulty swallowing or breathing, itching, a rash, or swelling in your lips, mouth, eyes, throat, or face.

If you have side effects that get worse over time or won’t go away, inform your doctor about them. Some of the possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Dry skin or lips
  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Fainting, dizziness, slow or irregular heartbeat, pounding heartbeat, and lightheadedness
  • Flu-like symptoms, extreme tiredness, and stomach pain in the upper right area

Saquinavir Drug Interactions

It’s recommended that you not take this medication if you also take:

  • Alfuzosin
  • Cisapride
  • Atazanavir
  • Clozapine
  • Dasatinib
  • Dapsone (found in Aczone)
  • Haloperidol
  • Pimozide
  • Lurasidone (found in Latuda)
  • Trazodone
  • Rifampin
  • Quinine
  • Midazolam
  • Tacrolimus
  • Sertindole
  • Ergonovine
  • Rilpivirine

Saquinavir Strengths and Dosages

This medication is taken orally as a tablet. It comes in 500 mg. The dosages that the doctor prescribes for you will depend on the reason you’re taking it, your weight, and other considerations. The dosage often starts at 500 mg daily for a few days and then goes up to 1,000 mg daily. This allows the body to get used to the medication and helps keep side effects minimal.

Beginning dose:500 mg
Standard dose:1,000 mg

FAQs of Saquinavir

What is Saquinavir used for?

It’s generally used as an HIV medication. It’s a type of protease inhibitor that can keep the level of HIV in the body under control.

Can Saquinavir cure HIV?

No, it isn’t a cure, but it can keep the condition under reasonable control.

Are there side effects with this medication?

Yes, there are many different side effects possible when taking saquinavir. It can cause nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and other side effects in some patients.

Can I use this medication if I’m diabetic?

This is up to your doctor, but in many cases, it can cause problems with blood sugar that get worse. If you have diabetes or a family history of it, tell your doctor before you start this medication.

Is this medication available in a liquid form?

No, it’s only available in tablet form.

Can Saquinavir improve the immune system?

Yes, it’s designed to lower the amount of HIV in the body so that the immune system can strengthen and fight off infections.

Can this be used to prevent HIV in those who have been exposed to it?

Yes, it’s sometimes used for this purpose after exposure to HIV, often among healthcare workers.

Will I need to be monitored while on it?

Your doctor will have to monitor you to see how well the medication works for you. You may need several lab tests while you take it, and you may also need an EKG to check your heart’s rhythm.

Are there any foods to avoid while on it?

Yes, it would be best if you didn’t eat grapefruit or anything that contains grapefruit while you take this medication. You must also tell your doctor if you take garlic capsules or St. John’s wort supplements.

Is Saquinavir a generic or a brand name?

It’s a generic medication. It’s also available under the brand name Invirase.

Can you breastfeed while taking this medication?

No, and it’s important not to breastfeed if you have HIV as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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