1 What is Kaletra?

Generic: Lopinavir and Ritonavir

Kaletra is a combination of two different antiviral medicines used to treat certain diseases caused by viruses. Doctors prescribe to treat HIV infection, which causes AIDS. Lopina Lopinavir and Ritonavirr belong to a class of drugs called protease inhibitors.

HIV or human immunodeficiency virus infects and multiplies inside white blood cells, causing your immune system to become less robust in protecting your body against infections and cancers. Once your white blood cell counts become too low, acquired immune immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) sets in.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir do not cure HIV infection, but it reduces numbers of HIV viruses in the body so your immune system works better, reduce chances of HIV complications and delay development of AIDS.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir can also be given as protection to individuals who were recently exposed to HIV (post-exposure prophylaxis). HIV post-exposure prophylaxis can be given in individuals who recently sustained needlestick injuries or sexual abuse.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir is a prescription medication. You must only use Lopinavir and Ritonavir according to doctor’s instructions.

2 What to know before using

Before using Kaletra, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

Cannot use Lopinavir and Ritonavir if you are allergic to either Lopinavir or Ritonavir.

Tell the doctor all your health conditions before receiving Lopinavir and Ritonavir.

The doctor needs to know if you have the following health problems:

  • Any disease in the liver, especially hepatitis B or C
  • Heart disease
  • Problems in heart rhythm
  • Family history or recent history of having long QT syndrome
  • Problems in the pancreas
  • Diabetes
  • Low levels of potassium in the blood
  • Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia
  • Abnormally high cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • History of using protease inhibitors

Tell the doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before receiving Lopinavir and Ritonavir. Lopinavir and Ritonavir may not be entirely safe when given to pregnant patients. However, HIV infection can cause more risk to the unborn baby and the mother than using Lopinavir and Ritonavir. The doctor will weight potential benefits and risks in giving Lopinavir and Ritonavir to pregnant patients.

Do not breastfeed if you have HIV infection and receiving Lopinavir and Ritonavir.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir can be given to adults and children. Lopinavir and Ritonavir can also be given to infants at least 14 days old.

Note that Lopinavir And Ritonavir can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Discuss with your doctor about using barrier contraceptive methods like condoms or diaphragms.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir can interact with certain drugs and result in undesirable effects.

Tell the doctor if you take any of these medications before starting treatment with Lopinavir and Ritonavir:

  • Alfuzosin
  • Pimozide
  • Rifampin
  • Lovastatin
  • Simvastatin
  • Midazolam
  • Triazolam
  • Sildenafil
  • St. John’s wort
  • Ergotamine
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Methylergonovine

3 Proper usage

To use Kaletra properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

The doctor will determine your dose of Lopinavir and Ritonavir. Always follow doctor’s prescribed dose.

Note that the dose of Lopinavir and Ritonavir is based on body weight. If your child will receive the medication, weigh him or her regularly and tell weight changes to the doctor.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir tablets can be taken with or without food. Tablets must be swallowed whole. Do not break, open, chew or crush Lopinavir and Ritonavir tablets.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir liquid must be taken with food. Use the dose-measuring spoon or cup that comes with the medicine. If your medicine does not have one, ask your pharmacist.

If you missed a dose of Lopinavir and Ritonavir, take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the original dosing schedule.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir tablets must be stored at room temperature. Lopinavir and Ritonavir liquid must be refrigerated. Keep medicines away from heat, moisture and light.

4 Precautions to take

Before using Kaletra, there are some precautions you must take.

Even if you take HIV medications like Lopinavir and Ritonavir, you still need to be under doctor’s care. The doctor will order you to regular clinic appointments and lab tests to check your condition and monitor for early signs of side effects. Make sure to keep up with all of your appointments.

Do take your HIV medications including Lopinavir and Ritonavir as directed and do not change doses or stop use without doctor’s permission. Doing so can cause HIV to mutate and become more resistant to the drug that makes it harder to treat.

If you are taking the drug Didanosine while receiving Lopinavir and Ritonavir liquid, you must space them several hours to avoid interactions. Take Didanosine at least an hour before or at least 2 hours after taking Lopinavir and Ritonavir.

Lopinavir and Ritonavir may cause changes to your immune system and make you more prone to infection. Stay away from large crowds, keep a distance from individuals that are noticeably sick, and avoid unsafe food and water.

Note that Lopinavir and Ritonavir liquid contain alcohol. Do not take alcohol while receiving Lopinavir and Ritonavir liquid.

Note that Lopinavir and Ritonavir do not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. You still need to do precautions to prevent passing the virus to others. Use a condom and stick to safe sex practices. Avoid sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes and other personal items to others.

5 Potential side effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Kaletra.

Stop taking Lopinavir and Ritonavir and call your doctor if you experienced any of the following:

  • Severe allergic reaction symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest tightness, hoarseness, swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue
  • Liver problem signs such as upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, passing out dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, dryness of skin and blurring of vision
  • Symptoms of possible pneumonia such as pain during breathing, dry cough, wheezing and feeling short of breath
  • Symptoms of severe skin reaction such as fever, sore throat, swelling in the face or tongue, burning sensation in your eyes, skin pain, blistering, and peeling of skin
  • Infection signs such as fever, night sweats, diarrhea, stomach pain and weight loss
  • Trouble speaking, swallowing difficulties, severe lower back pain and loss of bladder control
  • Swelling in the head or throat or change in menses
  • A headache with chest pain, severe dizziness, fainting and fast pounding heartbeat
  • Painful erection that lasts 4 hours or longer
  • Muscle weakness, unusual tiredness, joint or muscle pain and shortness of breath
  • Appearance of cold sores
  • Appearance of sores in the genital area or around the anus
  • Rapid heartbeat, anxiety, weakness or prickly feeling, problems with balance or eye movement

Lopinavir and Ritonavir can cause minor side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Noticeable fat deposits anywhere in the arms, legs, face, neck, breasts or waist

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