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All about: Invirase

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Generic Name: Saquinavir Mesylate Capsules and Tablets (sa-KWIN-a-veer MEH-sih-late)
Brand Name: Invirase

Invirase (saquinavir mesylate) cannot be interchanged with saquinavir ( Fortovase) soft gelatin capsules. Invirase may only be used if it is combined with ritonavir.


Invirase is used for:

Treating HIV infection. Only take Invirase with ritonavir.

Invirase is a protease inhibitor. It works by blocking the growth activity of an enzyme (HIV protease) that the HIV virus needs to reproduce in the body.

Do NOT use Invirase if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Invirase
  • you are taking alfuzosin; certain antihistamines (eg, astemizole, terfenadine); certain benzodiazepines (eg, midazolam, triazolam); certain medicines to treat high cholesterol (eg, lovastatin, simvastatin), an irregular heartbeat (eg, amiodarone, bepridil, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine), or migraine headaches (eg, sumatriptan, eletriptan); cisapride; a garlic supplement; an ergot derivative (eg, ergotamine, ergonovine); erythromycin; pimozide; rifampin; or St. John's wort
  • you have severe liver disease

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Invirase :

Some medical conditions may interact with Invirase . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have diabetes or a family history of diabetes, high blood cholesterol or triglycerides, hepatitis or other liver problems, severe kidney problems, or hemophilia

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Invirase . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Many prescription and nonprescription medicines (eg, used for birth control, heart problems, high cholesterol, HIV infection, impotence, infections, mental or mood problems, migraine headaches, pain, seizures), and herbs found in multivitamin products, herbal teas, and dietary supplements (eg, garlic, St. John's wort) may interact with Invirase and increase the risk of side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Invirase may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Invirase :

Use Invirase as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Invirase comes with an additional patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Invirase refilled.
  • Take Invirase and ritonavir with a meal or within 2 hours after a full meal or large snack.
  • Ritonavir should be taken at the same time as Invirase .
  • Taking Invirase at the same times each day will help you to remember to take it.
  • Take Invirase regularly to receive the most benefit from it.
  • Consult your doctor before including grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet.
  • Do not miss any doses. If you miss a dose of Invirase , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Invirase .

Important safety information:

  • Invirase may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Invirase . Using Invirase alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Changes in body fat (eg, an increased amount of fat in the upper back, neck, breast, and trunk, and loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face) may occur in some patients taking Invirase . The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking Invirase or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
  • When your medicine supply begins to run low, get more from your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. The virus may develop resistance to Invirase and become more difficult to treat if you stop taking it, even for a short period of time.
  • Invirase is not a cure for HIV infection and patients may continue to acquire illnesses and infections associated with HIV. Remain under the care of your doctor. The long-term effects of taking Invirase are unknown.
  • Invirase offers no protection from the transmission of HIV to others through sexual contact or blood contamination. Use barrier forms of contraception (eg, condoms) if you are infected with HIV. Do not share needles, other injection equipment, or personal items such as toothbrushes or razor blades.
  • Invirase may increase triglyceride and lipid levels. The long-term chance of complications from these increased triglyceride and lipid levels, such as heart attack and stroke, are not known at this time.
  • Invirase may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives (eg, birth control pills). To prevent pregnancy, be sure to use an additional form of birth control (eg, condoms) while using Invirase .
  • Hemophilia patients - Report all bleeding episodes to your doctor.
  • Diabetes patients - Invirase may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests, including liver function, thyroid function, blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels, blood glucose levels, blood electrolyte levels, and complete blood cell counts, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Invirase with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Invirase is not recommended for use in CHILDREN 16 years of age and younger. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risk of using Invirase during pregnancy. Do not breast-feed while taking Invirase . HIV-infected mothers should not breast-feed their infants because of the risk of transmitting the HIV infection or Invirase . It is unknown if Invirase is excreted in breast milk.

Possible side effects of Invirase :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; blurred vision; body fat changes; changes in sexual desire; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; dry lips or skin; gas; headache; heartburn; loss of appetite; mouth sores; nausea; night sweats; sleeplessness; stomach discomfort; taste changes; tenderness or bleeding of the gums; tiredness; vomiting; warts; weight gain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); back pain; blood in the vomit or stools; chest tightness or pain; confusion; coughing up blood; dark urine; depression or thoughts of suicide; difficulty urinating; excessive thirst, hunger, or urination; fast heartbeat; fever; flu-like symptoms; itching; loss of coordination; numbness or tingling; pain in muscles or joints; reddened, blistered, or swollen skin; seizures; shortness of breath; stomach pain or tenderness; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual vaginal discharge or odor; unusual weakness; white patches in mouth; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Invirase :

Store Invirase at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) in a tightly closed bottle. Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store Invirase in the bathroom. Keep Invirase out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Invirase , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Invirase is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Invirase . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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