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Atazanavir (By mouth)
Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but may slow the progress of the disease. This medicine is a protease inhibitor.
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 an allergic reaction to atazanavir. Do not use this medicine together with alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), cisapride (Propulsid®), indinavir (Crixivan®), irinotecan (Camptosar®), lovastatin (Altocor®, Mevacor®), oral midazolam (Versed®), pimozide (Orap®), nevirapine (Viramune®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), salmeterol (Advair®, Serevent®), sildenafil (Revatio®), simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®), St. John's wort, triazolam (Halcion®), or ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, D.H.E. 45®, Ergomar®, Ergostat®, Ergotrate®, Methergine®, Migranal®, or Wigraine®). Using this medicine while you are also using the medicines listed above can cause very serious medical problems, or even death. This medicine should not be given to babies younger than 3 months of age.
How to Use This Medicine
- 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.
- Atazanavir is used together with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all of the medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of day and in the correct order. Do not stop using your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
- It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
- Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open or break it.
- 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 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 your next regular dose is less than 6 hours away, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the 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.
- Do not throw any unused medicine in the trash. Flush it down the toilet or take it to a community take-back program when available. 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 other medicines to treat HIV or AIDS (such as efavirenz, ritonavir, saquinavir, tenofovir, Invirase®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Sustiva®, or Viread®). If you are also using didanosine (Videx®), take atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after taking didanosine.
- Tell your doctor if you are also using bosentan (Tracleer®), buprenorphine or buprenorphine with naloxone (Buprex®, Suboxone®, or Subutex®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), colchicine (Colcrys®), cyclosporine (such as Gengraf®, Neoral®, or Sandimmune®), fluticasone (Advair®, Flonase®, Flovent®), midazolam given by injection, paclitaxel (Taxol®), repaglinide (Prandin®), rifabutin (Mycobutin®), sildenafil (Viagra®), sirolimus (Rapamune®), tacrolimus (Prograf®), tadalafil (Adcirca®, Cialis®), vardenafil (Levitra®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), or birth control pills (such as Femhrt®, Loestrin®, Norinyl®, or Ortho-Novum®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, bepridil, lidocaine, quinidine, Cardioquin®, Cordarone®, Quinidex®, or Vascor®), medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, paroxetine, protriptyline, sertraline, trazodone, trimipramine, Desyrel®, Elavil®, Norpramin®, Paxil®, Sinequan®, Surmontil®, Tofranil®, Vivactil®, or Zoloft®), medicine to treat a fungus infection (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, Nizoral®, Sporanox®, or Vfend®), certain blood pressure medicines (such as diltiazem, felodipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, verapamil, Cardene®, Cardizem®, Covera-HS®, Isoptin SR®, Norvasc®, Plendil®, Procardia®, or Tiazac®), or medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, Crestor®, or Lipitor®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a stomach medicine (such as cimetidine, esomeprazole, famotidine, lansoprazole, nizatidine, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, ranitidine, Aciphex®, Axid®, Nexium®, Pepcid® AC, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Protonix®, Tagamet®, or Zantac®). If you are using an antacid or buffered medicine, take it at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking atazanavir.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you or your child have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis B or C), diabetes, gallbladder problems, or hemophilia (a bleeding disorder). Tell your doctor if you also have a heart problem known as "heart block" or if you have ever had an abnormal EKG test of your heart. Tell your doctor if you or your child are on a kidney dialysis.
- 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.
- This medicine may raise your blood sugar. Check with your doctor if you or your child notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests.
- When you start taking HIV medicines, your immune system may get stronger. If you have infections that are hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, you or your child 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. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.
- Birth control pills may not work as well while you are using atazanavir. To keep from getting pregnant, use an additional form of birth control together with your pills. Other forms include condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies.
- Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; chills; diarrhea; itching; joint or muscle pain; rash; red skin lesions, often with a purple center; sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
- 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.
- This medicine may cause kidney stones. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting, pain in the groin or genitals, and sharp back pain just below the ribs while using this medicine.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
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.
- Blood in the urine.
- Change in how much or how often you urinate, difficult or painful urination.
- Chest pain or shortness of breath.
- Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, or sore throat.
- Increased hunger or thirst.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Sudden and severe stomach pain.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
- Hair loss.
- Joint or muscle pain.
- Mild skin rash.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Trouble sleeping.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor