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Ritonavir (By mouth)

Ritonavir (rit-OH-na-vir)

Treats HIV infection. This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but combinations of drugs may slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to ritonavir.

How to Use This Medicine:

Liquid Filled Capsule, Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Capsule or Tablet: Swallow whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
  • Oral liquid: Shake well just before each use. Measure the medicine with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. You may mix the oral liquid with chocolate milk or nutritional drinks to make it taste better. Drink this medicine within 1 hour of mixing.
  • Do not stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. If you stop the medicine, even briefly, the virus may become harder to treat. Contact your doctor or pharmacist when your supply is running low so you do not run out.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Capsules: Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature in a closed container. If stored at room temperature, use the medicine within 30 days. Keep away from heat and direct light.
  • Liquid or tablets: Store in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not refrigerate.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you are also using alfuzosin, amiodarone, cisapride, flecainide, lovastatin, oral midazolam, pimozide, propafenone, quinidine, sildenafil, simvastatin, triazolam, voriconazole, St John's wort, or ergot medicines (including dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine).
  • Many other drugs can interact with ritonavir. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis), diabetes, heart disease, heart rhythm problems (such as PR prolongation), high cholesterol, or hemophilia.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Liver problems
    • Pancreatitis
    • Changes in heart rhythm, such as PR prolongation
    • High cholesterol or triglycerides
    • High blood sugar levels, a problem that could become permanent
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking an HIV medicine. Infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, might start to have symptoms. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
  • The liquid form of this medicine contains alcohol.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat; chest pain
  • Increased hunger or thirst, change in how much or how often you urinate, unusual weight loss
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/18/2015

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