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   Saquinavir

Saquinavir
Oral


This drug is used in combination with at least 2 other medications to help control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV complications (e.g., new infections, cancer). Saquinavir belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors.Saquinavir is not a cure for HIV and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing used needles).This medication may also be used to prevent HIV infection after contact with the virus.

 
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OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Saquinavir

Uses
This drug is used in combination with at least 2 other medications to help control your HIV infection, thereby improving your quality of life. It also lowers your risk of getting HIV complications (e.g., new infections, cancer). Saquinavir belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors.Saquinavir is not a cure for HIV and it does not prevent the spread of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination (e.g., sharing used needles).This medication may also be used to prevent HIV infection after contact with the virus.
Notes
  • To reduce the risk of spreading HIV to others, always use effective barrier protections (e.g., latex or polyurethane condoms, dental dams) during all sexual activity.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver tests, viral load, t-cell counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.

Storage
  • Refrigerate saquinavir soft gelatin capsules between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
  • Saquinavir may also be stored at room temperature below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), but in this case it must be used within 3 months.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.


How To Use
  • Take this medication by mouth with a meal or up to 2 hours after a meal, usually 2-3 times daily or as directed by your doctor.The dosage is based on your weight, liver function, medical condition, other medications, and response to therapy.It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level.
  • Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
  • To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor.
  • Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat (resistant), or worsen side effects.

Side Effects
  • See also Warning section.Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, gas, loss of appetite, headache, tiredness, strange taste in the mouth, dry skin, or fever may occur.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: decreased sexual interest, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety), problems sleeping, sleepiness, joint pain, mouth ulcers, muscle weakness/cramps/aches, increasing tiredness, increased urination (especially at night), increased thirst, hair loss.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: stomach/back pain with or without nausea/vomiting, chills, persistent sore throat, easy bruising/bleeding, persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, severe tiredness, fainting, pale lips/nails/skin, fast heartbeat, fast breathing, sudden severe headache, confusion, weakness, seizure, fainting, decrease in the amount of urine.Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs).
  • The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect.If you are taking HIV medications for the first time, you may experience symptoms of an old infection.
  • This may happen as your immune system begins to work better.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: new cough, trouble breathing, fever, new vision problems, new headaches, new skin problems.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions
  • Before taking saquinavir, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: pancreatitis with other HIV medicines, liver problems (e.g., hepatitis B, hepatitis C), alcohol use, diabetes, hemophilia, high blood fats (high cholesterol/triglycerides).If you have diabetes, this product may increase your blood sugar levels.
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst and urination.
  • Your anti-diabetic medication or diet may need to be adjusted.This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.
  • However, it is now normal to prescribe HIV medicines for pregnant women with HIV.
  • This has been shown to decrease the risk of giving HIV to the baby.
  • Saquinavir may be part of that treatment.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk.
  • Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed.

Missed Dose
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is less than 2 hours before the time for your next dose.
  • In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up.

Drug Interactions
  • Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious interactions may occur: amiodarone, bepridil, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine, cisapride, pimozide, rifampin, dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, St Johns wort, garlic capsules, midazolam, triazolam, simvastatin, lovastatin, ranolazine, artemether-lumefantrine.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, ketoconazole, itraconazole, efavirenz, ritonavir, indinavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, nelfinavir, atazanavir, delavirdine, nevirapine, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifabutin, atorvastatin, lidocaine, certain calcium channel blockers (e.g., nifedipine, felodipine, nicardipine), clarithromycin, warfarin, ranitidine, dexamethasone, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, sirolimus, rapamycin, alprazolam, diazepam, flurazepam, clorazepate, methadone, ethinyl estradiol, amitriptyline, imipramine, loperamide, sunitinib, eplerenone.If any of these medications are taken with saquinavir, your doctor may change your dose of saquinavir or the other drug(s), or your doctor may monitor you specially.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.This medication may decrease the effectiveness of some birth control pills.
  • This can result in pregnancy.
  • However, to reduce the risk of spreading HIV to others, always use barrier protections during all sexual activity.
  • (See also Notes section.)

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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