Ritonavir is used together with other anti-HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) medicines to treat HIV infection which can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
This medicine is used to treat HIV infection in adults and children.
Ritonavir is not a cure for HIV. It only helps to keep the virus in check and can help improve the quality of life.
Take Ritonavir 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.
Take it together with food or immediately after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you are taking Ritonavir tablets, swallow it whole. Do not chew, cut or crush the tablets.
If you are taking Ritonavir oral solution, use the measuring cap provided to measure out your prescribed dose. To mask the unpleasant taste, you may mix it with chocolate milk or a liquid nutritional supplement.
This medicine must be taken at regular intervals for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Ritonavir is usually given together with other anti-HIV medicines. It is only one part of a HIV treatment programme and must be taken together with other anti-HIV medicines. Ensure that you take all your medicines exactly as directed by your doctor.
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.
Alert your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction (breathlessness, rashes, swollen eyes) to similar antiviral medications as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Ritonavir with certain medicines for heart disease, cold or allergy, cholesterol, prostate disease, mood disorder, migraine, excessive bleeding, anxiety and impotence.
Inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- haemophilia (hereditary genetic disorder that impairs the body's ability to control blood clotting)
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- inflammation of the pancreas
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 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.
This medicine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. It only helps to slow down the development of HIV infection. It does not reduce your risk of passing the HIV infection to others through sexual contact or through contamination with infected blood. Ensure that you use proper precautions to avoid spreading the HIV infection to others.
Both Ritonavir and HIV may weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick to minimise the risk of catching an infection. While undergoing treatment, you may develop other infections or experience other health problems related to your HIV infection. Always keep your doctor updated on your condition and go for your appointed check-ups.
Ritonavir may cause dizziness or blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects of may include any of the following: nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach ache, headache, fever, redness and warming of the skin, weakness, tiredness, cough, throat pain, rash, itching, stomach pain, loss of appetite, indigestion, stomach wind, muscle pain and abnormal or change in taste.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- swelling of the hands and feet
- confusion, depression, and anxiety
- numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and feet
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- fever with persistent sore throat or mouth ulcers, unusual bleeding or bruising
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Ritonavir with the following medicines:
- cholesterol lowering medicines e.g. simvastatin, lovastatin
- alfuzosin (used to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate)
- medicines for mood disorder e.g. clozapine, pimozide
- medicines for allergy e.g. terfenadine, astemizole
- medicines for heart disease e.g. amiodarone, bepridil, encainide, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
- medicines for migraine e.g. dihydroergotamine, ergotamine
- medicines used to stop excessive bleeding after childbirth or an abortion e.g. ergonovine, methylergonovine
- medicines for anxiety e.g. clorazepate, diazepam
- medicines for moderate to severe pain e.g. pethidine, piroxicam, propoxyphene
- medicines to treat fungal infections e.g. voriconazole
- sildenafil (medicine used to treat impotence)
- herbal medicines e.g. St. John's wort
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for cancer e.g. vincristine, vinblastine
- other medicines for mood disorder e.g. trazodone, bupropion
- medicines for seizure(fits) e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital
- other medicines for moderate to severe pain e.g. methadone
- warfarin (blood-thinning medicine)
- medicines for gout e.g. colchicine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Ritonavir.
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 the tablets in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Store the oral solution below 25°C. Do not refrigerate or expose to extreme heat or cold.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.