Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Invirase
Therapeutic ClassificationsAntiretroviral Agent
Pharmacologic ClassificationsProtease Inhibitor
Saquinavir is used together with ritonavir (Norvir®) and other medicines for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Saquinavir will not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS. It helps keep HIV from reproducing and slows the destruction of the immune system. This may help delay problems related to AIDS or HIV disease from occurring. Saquinavir will not keep you from spreading HIV to other people.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor.
This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and carefully follow the instructions before starting treatment and each time you get a refill. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
It is important that this medicine be taken with food. Take the capsule or tablet within 2 hours after a meal.
Saquinavir capsules or tablets (Invirase®) should always be taken together, and at the same time, with ritonavir (Norvir®). Take all other medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of day.
If you are not able to swallow the capsule, open the capsule and pour the contents in an empty container. Add 15 mL (about 1/2 ounce) of sugar syrup or sorbitol syrup or 3 teaspoons of jam to the container. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds and let the mixture come to room temperature. Drink or eat the entire mixture to get the full dose.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage forms (capsules or tablets):
- For treatment of HIV infection:
- Adults and children 16 years and older—1000 milligrams (mg) (5 capsules or 2 tablets) two times per day. The dose is always taken with ritonavir.
- Children younger than 16 years—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment of HIV infection:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Use & StorageTOP
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of saquinavir in children younger than 16 years. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of saquinavir in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution in patients receiving saquinavir.
|All Trimesters||B||Animal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Ergoloid Mesylates
- Isavuconazonium Sulfate
- Perflutren Lipid Microsphere
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine
- Brentuximab Vedotin
- Fusidic Acid
- Irinotecan Liposome
- St John's Wort
- Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Other Medical ProblemsTOP
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcoholism, history of or
- Arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats), history of or
- Congestive heart failure, history of or
- Heart disease, history of or
- Heart rhythm problems, history of or
- Hemophilia (a bleeding problem) or
- Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol in the blood) or
- Liver disease (eg, hepatitis B or C)—Use with caution. May increase your chance for serious side effects.
- Diabetes or
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Lactose intolerance—Use with caution. Saquinavir capsules contain lactose.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You should not take this medicine if you are also taking alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), atazanavir (Reyataz®), cisapride (Propulsid®), clozapine (Clozaril®), dapsone, haloperidol (Haldol®), oral midazolam (Versed®), pimozide (Orap®), quinine, rifampin (Rifadin®), sertindole, sildenafil (Revatio®), tacrolimus (Prograf®), trazodone (Desyrel®, Oleptro®), triazolam (Halcion®), ziprasidone (Geodon®), medicine for heart rhythm problems (eg, amiodarone, bepridil, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, lidocaine, propafenone, quinidine, Cordarone®, Tambocor®, Tikosyn®), medicine to treat an infection (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin, halofantrine, pentamidine, Biaxin®, Nebupent®), ergotamine medicines (eg, dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, Ergomar®, Wigraine®), medicine to lower cholesterol (eg, lovastatin, simvastatin, Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®, Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®), or phenothiazine medicines (eg, chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, thioridazine, Mellaril®, Thorazine®). Taking any of these together with this medicine may increase the chance for serious side effects.
This medicine may decrease the effects of some oral contraceptives (birth control pills). To keep from getting pregnant, use an additional form of birth control together with your pills, such as condoms, a diaphragm, contraceptive foam or jelly.
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as PR or QT prolongation.
This medicine may increase blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients should check with their doctor if they notice a change in blood or urine sugar tests.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis. Autoimmune disorders, such as Graves' disease, polymyositis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome may also occur.
This medicine may cause you to have excess body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice changes in your body shape, such as an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck, or around the chest and stomach area, or a loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face.
Saquinavir does not decrease the risk of transmitting HIV infection to others through sexual contact or by contamination through blood. HIV may be acquired from or spread to others through infected body fluids, including blood, vaginal fluid, or semen. If you are infected, it is best to avoid any sexual activity involving an exchange of body fluids with other people. If you do have sex, always wear (or have your partner wear) a condom (“rubber”). Only use condoms made of latex, and use them every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The use of a spermicide (such as nonoxynol-9) may also help prevent the spread of HIV if it is not irritating to the vagina, rectum, or mouth. Spermicides have been shown to kill HIV in lab tests. Do not use oil-based jelly, cold cream, baby oil, or shortening as a lubricant—these products can cause the condom to break. Lubricants without oil, such as K-Y Jelly, are recommended. Women may wish to carry their own condoms. Birth control pills and diaphragms will help protect against pregnancy, but they will not prevent someone from giving or getting the AIDS virus. If you inject drugs, get help to stop. Do not share needles or equipment with anyone. In some cities, more than half of the drug users are infected, and sharing even 1 needle or syringe can spread the virus. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort, garlic capsules) or vitamin supplements.