1 What is Prezista?

Brand: Prezista

Generic: Darunavir

Prezista is a protease inhibitor used to treat HIV. It should be taken concomitantly with ritonavir and other antiretroviral drugs.

This medication can be given to patients who have received previous treatment for HIV as well as patients who have not received prior treatment.

It is important to remember, however, that darunavir will not cure HIV or prevent you from spreading the disease although it will prevent or delay the development of HIV-related problems.

This medicine also inhibits the reproduction of HIV cells and slows down the destruction of your immune system. Prezista is a prescription medication and is sold as a tablet or a suspension.

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2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Prezista, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. You and your primary physician need to discuss the pros and cons of using Prezista before starting treatment.

There are also several factors you need to think about. If you’ve had hypersensitivity reactions to darunavir or any of its ingredients, inform your doctor. Also, tell him/her if you have allergies to food, preservatives, dyes, animals or other medicines.

Studies have shown that darunavir does not cause pediatric-specific effects in children ages 3 and above. However, it should not be used in those younger than 3 years old because of its toxicity.

Studies have also found that darunavir doesn’t cause geriatric-specific effects although it should still be used with caution in elderly patients since they are more at risk of liver-related problems.

Darunavir has a pregnancy category C meaning there hasn’t been enough research done regarding its effects on the unborn child. The same goes for breastfeeding. You must carefully consider the pros and cons.

Give your physician a complete list of your medications. Darunavir can interact with different medicines and cause harmful side effects.

The following should not be used concomitantly with darunavir:

  • alfuzosin
  • astemizole
  • colchicine
  • dihydroergotamine
  • domperidone
  • ergonovine
  • ergotamine
  • lomitapide
  • midazolam
  • pimozide
  • sildenafil
  • simvastatin
  • terfenadine
  • triazolam

On the other hand, the following medications are usually not recommended but can be necessary:

  • amineptine
  • apixaban
  • atomoxetine
  • budesonide
  • butalbital
  • clozapine
  • cyclophosphamide
  • dasabuvir
  • delavirdine
  • dibenzepin
  • doxepin
  • drospirenone
  • eliglustat
  • erythromycin
  • ethynodiol diacetate
  • fluticasone
  • haloperidol
  • imipramine
  • lumacaftor
  • mephobarbital
  • nafcillin
  • naloxegol
  • nilotinib
  • norgestimate
  • oxcarbazepine
  • oxycodone
  • piperaquine
  • primidone
  • quetiapine
  • rivaroxaban
  • secobarbital
  • tamoxifen
  • vardenafil
  • vinblastine
  • vincristine

Other medications can also increase the risk of certain side effects:

  • clarithromycin
  • cobicistat
  • digoxin
  • indinavir
  • ketoconazole
  • fumarate

Darunavir can make the following conditions worse:

Darunavir should not be used in patients with severe liver disease and should be used with caution in those with sulfa allergies.

3 Proper Usage

To use Prezista properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. You should never change the dosage or timing without consulting your physician first.

If your supply is low, contact your doctor as soon as you can. Darunavir should always be taken with ritonavir unless stated otherwise.

This medicine should be taken with food and it should be swallowed whole, not crushed or chewed.

The dosage will depend on your condition.

  • For adult patients without darunavir resistance associated substitution, it is 800 mg.
  • For pediatric patients without darunavir resistance associated substitution, the dose will depend on their body weight.
  • For adult patients with darunavir resistance associated substitution, the dose is 600 mg.
  • For pediatric patients, it also depends on the body weight.
  • For patients who haven’t had previous HIV treatment, adults get 800 mg and children’s dose will depend on body weight.

Store your medicine in a safe place that’s out of children’s reach. For those taking the darunavir once a day and you miss the dose, take it as long as the next dose is more than 12 hours away. Otherwise, skip it and resume normal timing.

For those taking this medicine twice a day and miss a dose, take is as long as the next one is more than 6 hours away. Otherwise, skip it and resume normal timing.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Prezista, there are some precautions you must take. Go to your follow-up checkups religiously so that your physician can monitor your progress.

You may also need to get regular laboratory tests done. Do not take nonprescription medication or supplements without check with your doctor first.

Watch out for signs of liver problems include:

  • pale stools
  • tenderness in the upper stomach
  • loss of appetite
  • dark urine
  • unusual weakness
  • yellow eyes/skin

You should consult your doctor right away of you have any of those.

Darunavir can also alter blood sugar levels. Monitor those closely and inform your doctor if there are changes.

Contact your physician right away if you or your kid develops:

  • skin peeling
  • red skin lesions
  • joint or muscle aches
  • severe acne or skin rash
  • sores or ulcers on the skin
  • or fever or chills

Again, darunavir will not prevent you from spreading HIV to your sexual partner. Use a latex condom during intercourse.

5 Potential side effects

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

Check with your healthcare provider right away if you experience the following:

  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • dry skin
  • increased thirst
  • increased hunger
  • increased urination
  • skin rash
  • sweating
  • troubled breathing
  • unusual weakness
  • unexplained weight loss

Other side effects may not need medical attention include stuffy nose or weight gain around the neck, face, breast, waist, and upper back.

Consult your physician if your symptoms to do not get better or if they get worse.

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