According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and only 17 million people are receiving medication to treat it.
HIV medication, also known as antiretroviral treatment (ART), has made serious advancements in recent years. In addition to reducing the side effects from ART medications, some treatments only require a once-daily pill, rather than a cocktail of drugs. These advancements are important as they make the regimens easier and increase adherence.
The newest advancement in antiretroviral medications is the approval of lopinavir/ritonavir, a less-expensive generic for Kaletra.
What is Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) indicated for?
Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) is prescribed, in combination with other antiretroviral agents, for the treatment of HIV-1 infections in adults and pediatric patients over the age of 14.
Kaletra is available in both oral solution and tablet form. However its generic, lopinavir/ritonavir, is only available as a 160 ml bottle of oral solution.
What are the most common side effects of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)?
Commonly experienced side effects include diarrhea, nausea, increased fats in the blood, or vomiting. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you are concerned about any of these side effects.
When will lopinavir/ritonavir be available?
The FDA approved lopinavir/ritonavir at the end of December 2016, and it is available in pharmacies now! It is less expensive than the brand name Kaletra, so speak with your doctor about switching to the generic.
What if I want to continue to use brand name Kaletra?
If you would like to continue taking Kaletra, be sure that your doctor handwrites “Brand Medically Necessary” on your prescription. This means that the pharmacy is not permitted to substitute and give you the generic product. If your doctor doesn’t indicate this on your prescription, you can also request it from your pharmacist before having your prescription filled.
Keep in mind that because the generic product is now available, your insurance company may not be willing to cover the cost of the more expensive brand medication. Be sure to check your prescription insurance company to find out if its covered before taking a trip to the pharmacy.
You can read more about lopinavir/ritonavir here.