Isentress (raltegravir) belongs to a group of antiretroviral drugs that prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body. Isentress is medication used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Raltegravir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
What is raltegravir?
Raltegravir is an antiviral medicine that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from multiplying in your body.
Raltegravir is used to treat HIV, the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Raltegravir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.
Raltegravir is for use in adults and children who weigh at least 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms).
Raltegravir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Stop taking raltegravir and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: fever, joint or muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, burning eyes, mouth sores, rash, blistering or peeling skin, or swelling in your face or throat.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Isentress HD film-coated tablets if you weigh less than 88 pounds (40 kilograms).
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- a muscle disorder or muscle damage;
- high blood levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase (a sign of muscle damage);
- kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
- liver disease; or
- mental illness or depression.
Raltegravir chewable tablets contain phenylalanine. Tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
It is not known whether raltegravir will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
HIV can be passed to your baby if the virus is not controlled during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a registry to track any effects of antiviral medicine on the baby. Use your medications properly to control HIV.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine. Women with HIV or AIDS should not breast feed a baby. Even if your baby is born without HIV, the virus may be passed to the baby in your breast milk.
How should I take raltegravir?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
You may take raltegravir with or without food.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of raltegravir. Avoid medication errors by using only the form and strength your doctor prescribes.
If a child is using this medicine, tell your doctor if the child has any changes in weight. Raltegravir doses are based on weight in children, and any changes may affect your child's dose.
Use all HIV medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV should remain under the care of a doctor.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Keep the chewable tablets in their original container, along with the packet or canister of moisture-absorbing preservative.
What should I avoid while taking raltegravir?
Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb raltegravir.
Using raltegravir may not prevent your disease from spreading. Do not have unprotected sex or share razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.
Raltegravir side effects
Stop taking this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: fever, general ill feeling, tiredness, joint or muscle pain, trouble breathing; upper stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, dark urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes; burning eyes, blisters or mouth sores; rash, hives, blistering or peeling skin; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, raltegravir can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, or dark colored urine.
Raltegravir affects your immune system, which may cause certain side effects (even weeks or months after you've taken this medicine). Tell your doctor if you have:
- signs of a new infection--fever, night sweats, swollen glands, cold sores, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, weight loss;
- trouble speaking or swallowing, problems with balance or eye movement, weakness or prickly feeling; or
- swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid), menstrual changes, impotence.
Common side effects may include:
- headache, dizziness;
- tired feeling; or
- sleep problems (insomnia).
What other drugs will affect raltegravir?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect raltegravir, especially:
- fenofibrate or gemfibrozil;
- HIV or AIDS medicine--etravirine, ritonavir, tipranavir, zidovudine;
- seizure medicine--carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin; or
- a "statin" cholesterol-lowering medicine--Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Vytorin, Zocor, and others.
This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect raltegravir. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.