Raltegravir is used together with other medicines to slow down the progression of Human Immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection.
Take Raltegravir exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Raltegravir is available as a tablet, chewable tablet or as granules for oral suspension.
If you are given the tablet, swallow it whole with a glass of water. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet.
If you are given the chewable tablet, you may chew the tablet or swallow it whole. The higher dose of the chewable tablet may also be divided into equal halves.
If you are given the oral suspension, dissolve all granules of a packet with 10 mL of water in the mixing cup provided. Gently swirl the mixing cup well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the oral syringe supplied with each package to measure your dose. Once the suspension is mixed, drink it immediately. Do not store the suspension for future use.
Do not switch between the tablet, chewable tablet or granules for oral suspension unless instructed by your doctor. This is because different formulations of Raltegravir may have slightly different ways of working in your body.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment regimen depending on your age, weight and condition.
Raltegravir must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed otherwise, as stopping it suddenly could worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to Raltegravir or any other similar medicines such as dolutegravir.
Do not give this medicine to pre-term newborn babies unless instructed to do so by the doctor.
It is best that you do not breastfeed as HIV passes into the breast milk. Avoid breastfeeding in order to reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby. It is recommended to give your baby commercial infant formula provided that you have access to clean water and facilities.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of depression or mental illness
- history of muscle problems e.g. unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness
- liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Raltegravir to a child or an infant.
Genetic traits may affect an individual’s response to certain medicines. An enzyme called UGT1A1 is involved in the breakdown of Raltegravir in the body. Individuals with UGT1A1*28/*28
genes are said to have reduced UGT1A1 enzyme activity. However, researchers say that currently, there is no evidence that UGT1A1*28/*28
genes alter Raltegravir exposure to a clinically meaningful extent, thus dosing adjustments may not be necessary. Nonetheless, if you know you have this gene type, inform your doctor.
This medicine is not a cure for HIV. It only helps to slow down the development of HIV infection.
Raltegravir does not reduce your risk of passing HIV infection to others through sexual contact or through contamination with infected blood. Ensure that you use proper precautions to avoid spreading HIV infection to others.
Both this medicine and HIV may weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Avoid crowded places or those who are sick to minimise the risk of catching an infection. While undergoing treatment, you may develop other infections or experience other health problems. Always keep your doctor updated on your condition and go for your appointed check-ups.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. amount of HIV in a blood sample, liver and kidney function test) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
- Monitoring for signs of severe skin rashes, depression and suicidal behaviour may also be needed.
Raltegravir may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, sensation of spinning, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea, indigestion, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, abnormal dreams, and tiredness.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- unusual changes in mood (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- having thoughts of self-harm
- persistent muscle or joint pain, muscle cramps, weakness or numbness
- joint aches, pain and stiffness or difficulty in movement
- severe persistent stomach pain, unusual tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes
- signs of infection e.g. fever, unusual tiredness or weakness
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for HIV infection e.g. atazanavir, saquinavir, tenofovir disoproxil, indinavir, zidovudine
- aluminium- and magnesium-containing antacids (medicines that reduce stomach acid production)
- rifampicin (medicines used to treat tuberculosis or TB)
- gastric medicines e.g. omeprazole, famotidine
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. simvastatin, gemfibrozil, fenofibrate
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Raltegravir.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from moisture.
Granules that have been mixed with water cannot be stored for future use. All leftover portions should be thrown away. You should mix up a fresh dose each time. DO NOT open the packet of granules until you are ready to use it. The granules must be consumed within 30 minutes of opening the foil packet.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.