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Atazanavir (By mouth)

Atazanavir (a-ta-ZAN-a-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 atazanavir.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Powder

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Atazanavir is used together with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all of the medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of day and in the correct order. Do not stop using your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Capsule: Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open it.
  • Powder: Mix oral powder with food or a beverage as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • 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 your next regular dose is less than 6 hours away, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not double doses.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

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 together with alfuzosin, cisapride, indinavir, irinotecan, lovastatin, midazolam, nevirapine, pimozide, rifampin, sildenafil, simvastatin, St John's wort, triazolam, or an ergot medicine (including dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine).
  • Many other drugs can interact with atazanavir. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using.
  • If you also use an antacid or didanosine, take atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after you take these medicines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis), heart disease, heart rhythm problems, diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), 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:
    • Heart rhythm problems
    • Liver problems
    • Increased risk of kidney stones or gallstones
    • 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.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. 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, or red skin rash
  • Blood in your urine, difficult or painful urination, pain in the lower back
  • 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

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

  • Headache
  • Mild rash
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, 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: 10/4/2015

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