Indinavir, a protease inhibitor, is indicated for HIV treatment. It can be used alone or with other anti-HIV medications. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the primary cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). It affects your immune system increasing your risk of developing common infections.
Indinavir counters HIV by preventing viral replication, therefore, slowing down the degradation of the immune system and progression of the disease. Basically, it protects you from developing HIV/AIDS-associated conditions. However, indinavir is not a curative drug and won’t protect you from getting it. Talk to your physician about how to avoid contracting HIV.
Indinavir alone may not be effective against other problems brought about by HIV/AIDS. Again, this medication can be used in combination with other drugs.
You can only get indinavir if you have a prescription from your physician. It is usually sold in capsule form.
2 What to Know Before Using
Before you start treatment with indinavir, discuss the pros and cons with your primary care physician. You need to think carefully about taking this medication because it also has some serious side effects. Here’s what you need to know prior to taking it.
If you are allergic to medications of the same kind, inform your doctor. He/She might use another type of medication instead. You also need to disclose information regarding food, animal, preservative, and other drug allergies.
Indinavir’s effects on children have not been studied enough.
This medication should be used with caution in geriatric patients since they are more at risk of developing liver, kidney, and heart problems associated with age.
Indinavir is a category C for all trimesters. Not enough research has been done to elucidate the effect of indinavir on nursing infants. However, breastfeeding is not advisable if you are HIV positive as you can transmit the virus through your breast milk.
Concomitant use of Alprazolam, Amiodarone, Ergot derivatives, Ergonovine, Dihydroergotamine, Methylergonovine, Oral midazolam, Pimozide, and Triazolam is contraindicated.
Take Indinavir 2 hours after or 1 hour before a meal.
Tell your physician if you have any of the following since indinavir can exacerbate them:
diabetes, hemolytic anemia, hemophilia, hepatitis, hyperbilirubinemia, and nephrolithiasis.
Always take Indinavir as prescribed by your physician. Drink lots of fluid (2.0 to 2.5 liters) when you are on this medication. This decreases your risk of developing kidney problems. Aside from water, you can also drink coffee, tea, and skim milk.
Do not stop taking Indinavir without notifying your physician. This is important because missing a few doses can decrease the Indinavir level in your body that’s necessary to combat your disease. Stopping it abruptly or missing too many doses can make the virus resistant and limit treatment options in the future.
If you miss a dose and less than 2 hours has elapsed from the schedule, take it. Take it at the same time of the day with even time between each dose. Your dose, frequency and timing depend on your condition. Your doctor will determine this.
Keep this Indinavir in a tightly closed container at room temperature and away from moisture.
Make sure that children cannot get to it.
4 Precautions to Take
Always go to your doctor’s appointments. Your condition needs to be monitored on a regular basis. You may also need to undergo a number of laboratory exams just to make sure your viral load is controlled and Indinavir is at therapeutic level. Check with your physician first before taking new medications.
If you are still confused about HIV/AIDS or want to know more about it, ask your physician and get informed. Make sure you understand how it is transmitted and how you can prevent it from spreading. Again, Indinavir is not a cure for HIV/AIDS. It merely manages it.
This medication can influence your blood sugar levels. Monitor blood sugar regularly especially if you’re a diabetic. Watch out for signs and symptoms of kidney damage. Inform your doctor right away and stop using it if you experience nausea, vomiting, blood in urine and back pain just below the ribs.
Indinavir can also cause body fat increase. Consult your doctor if you notice any change in your physique.
5 Potential Side Effects
This medication causes a number of side effects. They may or may not need medical attention. However, call your physician right away if you have blood in your urine and sharp pain in the back as, again, these can be signs of kidney damage.
Also, inform your doctor if you have:
abdominal, chills, clay-colored stools, dizziness, fever, headache, loss of appetite, rash, unpleasant breath odor, vomiting of blood, and yellow discoloration of eyes or skin.
Common effects that usually go away with treatment include:
change in your sense of taste, sleeping difficulty, diarrhea, and generalized weakness.
You may also experience acid regurgitation, belching, cough, and heartburn.
Notify your doctor as soon as possible if side effects become worse.
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