Atazanavir is used together with other medicines to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection which can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
This medicine is not a cure for HIV infection. It only helps to keep the virus in check and can help improve the quality of life. It does not prevent the spread of HIV to other people.
Take Atazanavir 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.
This medicine should be taken with food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Atazanavir must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue to take 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.
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.
Alert your doctor if you have liver disease as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Atazanavir with medicines for TB, sleep disorder, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, migraine, stomach problem, urinary problems, allergy and mood disorder. Please see section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following:
- blood disorder
- heart disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have HIV, 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. It only helps to slow down the development of HIV infection.
Atazanavir 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 HIV to others.
This medicine 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. Always keep your doctor updated on your condition and go for your appointed check-ups.
While being treated with Atazanavir, you will need to have regular blood tests. These blood tests help your doctor to monitor your condition and the health of your liver. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these blood tests.
Atazanavir may cause any of the following side effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, headache, tiredness and difficulty in sleeping.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- fever with persistent sore throat or mouth ulcers and unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- rashes accompanied with joint pain or stiffness, throat tightness, and itching
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 Atazanavir with the following medicines:
- medicines for sleep disorder e.g. midazolam, triazolam
- medicines for heart disease e.g. amiodarone, bepridil, quinidine
- medicines for high cholesterol levels e.g. lovastatin, simvastatin
- medicines for migraine e.g. ergotamine, ergometrine
- medicines for stomach e.g. cisapride
- medicines for allergy e.g. terfinadine, astemizole
- medicines for mood disorder e.g. pimozide, quetiapine
- medicines for TB e.g. rifampicin
- medicines to treat urinary problems e.g. alfuzosin
- St John's wort (herbal medicine)
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines to treat viral infections e.g. indinavir, efavirenz
- medicines for epilepsy (seizures or fits) e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine
- medicines to treat fungal infections e.g. itraconazole, ketoconazole
- omeprazole (medicine to neutralize stomach acid)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Atazanavir.
Atazanavir should not be taken with antacids as antacids could reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. If you must take antacid, there should be at least 2 hours interval between the antacid and this medicine.
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.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.