1 What is Norvir?

Brand: Norvir

Generic: Ritonavir

Norvir is an antiviral drug used alone or in combination with other drugs for the treatment of the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

This drug will only keep HIV from reproducing and slow down the destruction of the immune system to help delay problems that are usually related to AIDS or HIV disease from occurring. This drug will not prevent transmission of HIV to other people. This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Norvir, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. Studies in children younger than 1-month-old regarding the correlation of age to the effects of ritonavir have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric-specific problems are not anticipated to limit the utility of ritonavir in the elderly. Adjustments in the dose of the elderly may be required since they are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems.

Indications of harm to the fetus have not been reported in animal studies. Risks to the fetus have not been confirmed in studies of pregnant women. Infant risk is still undetermined when using this drug during breastfeeding.

Discuss with your healthcare professional about potential risks and benefits of taking this drug while breastfeeding. Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as prescription and nonprescription drugs.

Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as:

3 Proper Usage

To use Norvir properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional.

Check with your healthcare professional before you change the dose or stop using this drug. Do not allow yourself to run out of this drug. It is recommended to take this drug with food.

The capsule or tablet must be swallowed whole. Breaking, crushing, or chewing the drug is not recommended. Shake the bottle well and use a specially marked measuring syringe or cup to measure each dose accurately. You can mix the oral liquid with chocolate milk or nutritional drinks to make it taste better. It is recommended to drink this drug within one hour of mixing.

This drug works optimally when there is a maintained amount in the blood. It is recommended to take the doses at evenly spaced times, day and night. Ritonavir must be taken with other drugs. Inform your healthcare professional about all of the drugs you are taking since the dose of ritonavir or other drugs you take may need to be adjusted.

The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients. The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed. The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug.

Adults with HIV infection are given 600 milligrams two times per day. The dose in children 1 month of age and older is based on body size and must be determined by your healthcare professional. The dose is usually 350 to 400 milligrams per square meter of body size two times per day.

The dose must not exceed 600 mg two times per day. Use and dose in children younger than 1 month of age must be determined by your healthcare professional.

A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose. Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Norvir, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug.

Unwanted effects can be screened using blood tests. Check with your healthcare professional before you take other drugs such as prescription and nonprescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

It is not recommended to take this drug with:

  • alfuzosin (UroxatralВ®)
  • amiodarone (CordaroneВ®)
  • astemizole (HismanalВ®)
  • bepridil (VascorВ®)
  • cisapride (PropulsidВ®)
  • ergot drugs (eg, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, CafergotВ®, or ErgomarВ®)
  • flecainide (TambocorВ®)
  • lovastatin (AltocorВ®, MevacorВ®)
  • oral midazolam (VersedВ®)
  • pimozide (OrapВ®)
  • propafenone (RythmolВ®)
  • quinidine (QuinagluteВ®)
  • sildenafil (RevatioВ®)
  • simvastatin (SimcorВ®, VytorinВ®, ZocorВ®)
  • terfenadine (SeldaneВ®)
  • triazolam (HalcionВ®)
  • voriconazole (VfendВ®) as this may increase your chance of having serious side effects

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you symptoms of a liver problem such as:

  • pain or tenderness in the upper stomach
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Yellow eyes or skin

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms of pancreatitis such as sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.

It is recommended to use an additional form of birth control such as condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies along with your pills as this drug may decrease the effects of some birth control pills.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of anaphylaxis such as rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this drug.

Check with your healthcare professional immediately if you have symptoms of serious skin reactions such as:

  • Blistering
  • Peeling, or Loosening of the skin
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Joint or Muscle pain
  • Rash, Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • Sore throat
  • Sores, Ulcers, or White spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Swelling of your hands, face, tongue, or throat
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

The level of cholesterol and fats in your blood may be increased by this drug. Contact your healthcare professional may give you a drug to lower the cholesterol and fats if this condition occurs.

This drug will not prevent transmission of HIV to your partner during sex, or to people exposed to your blood. It is important to practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV, by using a latex condom or other barrier method.

Your immune system may get improve after taking this drug which manifests new symptoms when your body tries to fight hidden infections. Inform your healthcare professional if this happens.

Inform your healthcare professional if you or your child notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area, since this drug may cause you to have excess body fat.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Norvir. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.

Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:

  • Fainting
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded feeling of warmth or heat
  • Flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Dry or Itchy skin
  • Fruity mouth odor
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Convulsions
  • Cough
  • Darkened urine
  • Decreased urination
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Hives or Welts
  • Itching, or Skin rash
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Indigestion
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Muscle spasm or Jerking of all extremities
  • Noisy breathing
  • Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • Rapid breathing
  • Redness of the skin
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Thirst
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.