Saquinavir (By mouth)


Saquinavir Mesylate
Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Saquinavir does not cure HIV or AIDS. It is usually used together with ritonavir and other medicines to slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to saquinavir, saquinavir mesylate, ritonavir (Norvir®), or if you have severe liver disease. You should not use this medicine if you have a heart disease and do not use a pacemaker, heart rhythm problems (such as congenital long QT syndrome), or low potassium or magnesium in the blood. You should not use this medicine if you are also taking medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, bepridil, dofetilide, flecainide, lidocaine, propafenone, quinidine, Cordarone®, Pacerone®, Quinora®, Rhythmol®, Tambocor®, Tikosyn®, or Vascor®), ergotamine medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, D.H.E. 45®, Embolex®, Ergomar®, Ergostate®, Ergotrate®, Methergine®, Migergot®, Migranal®, Wigraine®, or Wigrettes®), alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), astemizole (Hismanal®), cisapride (Propulsid®), lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®), pimozide (Orap®), oral midazolam (Versed®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®), sildenafil (Revatio®), simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®), terfenadine (Seldane®), trazodone (Desyrel®, Oleptro®), or triazolam (Halcion®).

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Liquid Filled Capsule, Tablet
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine should always be taken together with ritonavir. Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of the day. This will make your medicines work better.
  • Take this medicine within 2 hours after eating a full meal. The medicine may not work as well if you take it on an empty stomach.
  • Take only the form of this medicine that your doctor prescribed. If you refill your prescription and your pills look different, do not take the medicine and tell your doctor or pharmacist right away.
  • This medicine works best if there is a constant amount in the blood. To keep blood levels constant, take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses. Also, when your supply of this medicine is running low, contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using digoxin (Digitek®, Lanoxin®), salmeterol (Advair®, Serevent®), St. John's wort, garlic capsules, quinine, other medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as atazanavir, delavirdine, efavirenz, indinavir, lopinavir, maraviroc, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, tipranavir, Aptivus®, Crixivan®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Rescriptor®, Reyataz®, Selzentry®, Sustiva®, Viracept®, or Viramune®), or medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, Crestor®, or Lipitor®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as disopyramide, ibutilide, sotalol, Betapace®, Corvert®, or Norpace®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), medicine for seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Carbatrol®, Dilantin®, or Tegretol®), medicine to treat an infection (such as clarithromycin, dapsone, erythromycin, rifabutin, Biaxin®, Ery-tab®, or Mycobutin®), medicine to treat a fungus infection (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, Nizoral®, or Sporanox®), or sedatives or sleeping medicines (such as alprazolam, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, midazolam injection, Dalmane®, Tranxene®, Valium®, or Xanax®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using bosentan (Tracleer®), colchicine (Colcrys®), halofantrine (Halfan®), pentamidine (Nebupent®), blood pressure medicine (such as amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nimodipine, nisoldipine, verapamil, Adalat®, Caduet®, Calan®, Cardene®, Cardizem®, Cartia XT®, Dilacor XR®, Diltzac®, DynaCirc®, Isoptin®, Nimotop®, Norvasc®, Plendil®, Procardia®, Sular®, Taztia®, Tiazac®, or Verelan®), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, fluticasone, Advair®, Decadron®, Flonase®, Flovent®, or Hexadrol®), stomach medicine (such as omeprazole, ranitidine, Prilosec®, or Zantac®), or medicine that weakens the immune system (such as cyclosporine, rapamycin, tacrolimus, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Protopic®, Rapamune®, or Sandimmune®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using pain medicine (such as alfentanil, fentanyl, methadone, Alfenta®, Dolophine®, or Sublimaze®), birth control pills (such as ethinyl estradiol, Estinyl®), medicine to treat impotence or pulmonary hypertension (such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, Adcirca®, Cialis®, Levitra®, or Viagra®), medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, imipramine, Elavil®, or Tofranil®), medicine for mental illness (such as clozapine, haloperidol, ziprasidone, Clozaril®, Geodon®, or Haldol®), or a phenothiazine medicine (such as mesoridazine, thioridazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Phenergan®, Serentil®, Thorazine®, or Trilafon®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have diabetes, liver disease (such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, or history of alcoholism), or hemophilia (a bleeding disorder). Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart disease (such as congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or ischemia) or heart rhythm problems (such as any history of arrhythmias or a prolonged PR or QT interval). Your doctor needs to know if you have high cholesterol in your blood or a history of lactose intolerance.
  • You should not breast feed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • Birth control pills may not work as well while you are using this medicine. To keep from getting pregnant, use another form of birth control together with your pills. Other forms include condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach; pale stools; dark urine; loss of appetite; nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • When you start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you or your child have infections that are hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, you may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor immediately.
  • This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you or your child notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area; or a loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase and become harder to treat.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, painful urination.
  • Chest pain or uneven heartbeat.
  • Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching.
  • Dry mouth, increased hunger or thirst, or fruit-like breath odor.
  • Fever, chills, cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in your hands or feet.
  • Seizures or tremors.
  • Shortness of breath, troubled breathing, or wheezing.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Back pain.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
  • Headache.
  • Mild skin rash or itching.
  • Mouth sores.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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