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 to slow the progress of the disease.
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 saquinavir, or if you have severe liver disease. You should not take this medicine if you are also taking medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, bepridil, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine, Pacerone®, Quinora®, Rhythmol®, Tambocor®, or Vascor®), ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, D.H.E. 45®, Ergomar®, Ergotrate®, Methergine®, or Wigraine®), astemizole (Hismanal®), terfenadine (Seldane®), rifampin (Rifadin®), cisapride (Propulsid®), pimozide (Orap®), midazolam (Versed®), 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 two 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.
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®), St. John's wort, garlic capsules, quinine, other medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as atazanavir, delavirdine, efavirenz, enfuvirtide, indinavir, lopinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, tipranavir, Aptivus®, Crixivan®, Fuzeon®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Rescriptor®, Reyataz®, Sustiva®, Viracept®, or Viramune®), or medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, Altocor®, Lipitor®, Mevacor®, or Zocor®).
- Tell your doctor if you are using medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as disopyramide, lidocaine, Norpace®, or Xylocaine®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), medicine for seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Dilantin®, or Tegretol®), medicine to treat a bacterial infection (such as clarithromycin, dapsone, rifabutin, Biaxin®, or Mycobutin®), medicine to treat a fungus infection (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, Nizoral®, or Sporanox®), or sedatives (such as alprazolam, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, Dalmane®, Tranxene®, Valium®, or Xanax®).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using blood pressure medicine (such as amlodipine, diltiazem, felodipine, isradipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, nimodipine, nisoldipine, verapamil, Adalat®, Calan®, Cardene®, Cardizem®, DynaCirc®, Isoptin®, Nimotop®, Norvasc®, Plendil®, Procardia®, or Verelan®), steroid medicine (such as dexamethasone, fluticasone, Decadron®, Flonase®, 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 (such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, Cialis®, Levitra®, or Viagra®), or medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, imipramine, trazodone, Desyrel®, Elavil®, or Tofranil®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or if you have diabetes, liver disease (such as hepatitis), kidney disease, bleeding problems (such as hemophilia), or high cholesterol in your blood.
- 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.
- 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 may notice new symptoms when your body tries to fight them. If this occurs, tell your doctor immediately.
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, red skin rash.
- Change in how much or how often you urinate, painful urination.
- Chest pain or irregular heartbeat.
- Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching.
- Dry mouth, increased hunger or thirst, fruit-like breath odor.
- Fever, chills, cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and body aches.
- Gaining weight around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist.
- Lightheadedness or fainting.
- Numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in your hands or feet.
- Seizures or tremors.
- Shortness of breath, 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.
- Mild skin rash or itching.
- Mouth sores.