Taking ritonavir with certain other medications may cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications: ergot medications such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar, in Cafergot, in Migergot), ergonovine, and methylergonovine (Methergine); medications for irregular heartbeat such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), flecainide (Tambocor), propafenone (Rhythmol), and quinidine; and sedatives or sleeping pills such as midazolam (Versed) and triazolam (Halcion). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take ritonavir if you are taking any of these medications.
Ritonavir is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Ritonavir is in a class of medications called protease inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although ritonavir does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to other people.
Ritonavir comes as a capsule, a tablet, and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take ritonavir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of ritonavir and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 2 to 3 days. Follow these directions carefully.
Swallow ritonavir tablets whole. Do not split, chew, or crush them.
If you are taking the oral solution, use a dose measuring spoon, syringe, or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid needed for each dose. Do not use a regular household spoon. You may take the solution by itself, or you may improve the taste by mixing it with 8 ounces of chocolate milk or Ensure or Advera brand dietary supplements. If you mix the medication with one of these liquids, you must drink the mixture no longer than 1 hour after you mix it.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking ritonavir capsules and start taking the tablets instead, you may experience more side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea shortly after you switch. These symptoms may improve as your body adjusts to the tablets.
Continue to take ritonavir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking ritonavir without talking to your doctor. If you miss doses, take less than the prescribed dose, or stop taking ritonavir, your condition may become more difficult to treat.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
change in ability to taste food
numbness, burning, or tingling of the hands, feet, or area around the mouth
muscle or joint pain
blistering or peeling of the skin
swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, or throat
tightening of the throat
difficulty breathing or swallowing
lack of energy
loss of appetite
pain in the upper right part of the stomach
yellowing of the skin or eyes
loss of consciousness
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Ritonavir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store the tablets and solution at room temperature. Do not refrigerate the solution and do not let it get too hot or too cold. It is best to refrigerate ritonavir capsules, but you may also store them at room temperature for up to 30 days. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
It is especially important to get medical help right away if a child drinks more than the usual dose of the solution. The solution contains a large amount of alcohol that could be very harmful to a child.
numbness, burning, or tingling of the hands or feet
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to ritonavir.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 10/15/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.