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This drug is used with other HIV medications to help control HIV infection. It helps to decrease the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications (such as new infections, cancer) and improves your quality of life.
Ritonavir belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors. It increases ("boosts") the levels of other protease inhibitors, which helps these medications work better.
Because this solution contains other ingredients (alcohol and propylene glycol) that may cause side effects, it is not recommended for premature (preterm) newborns right after birth or full-term newborns younger than one month of age, unless your doctor thinks it is right for your baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Ritonavir is not a cure for HIV infection. To decrease your risk of spreading HIV disease to others, do all of the following: (1) continue to take all HIV medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor, (2) always use an effective barrier method (latex or polyurethane condoms/dental dams) during all sexual activity, and (3) do not share personal items (such as needles/syringes, toothbrushes, and razors) that may have contacted blood or other body fluids. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Shake the bottle well before each dose. Take this medication by mouth with a meal, as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 2 times daily. Take ritonavir at the same time(s) as your other protease inhibitor. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are using a feeding tube, ask your doctor or pharmacist if this medication may be given through your feeding tube.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). For children, the dosage may also be based on their body size.
For the best effect, take this medication at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.
It is very important to continue taking this medication (and other HIV medications) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other HIV medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause the amount of virus to increase, make the infection more difficult to treat, or worsen side effects.
Before taking ritonavir, tell your doctor if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history.
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, dizziness, tiredness, weakness, changes in taste, or tingling/numbness of mouth area may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
What should I be aware of when I take this medication?
As your immune system gets stronger, it can begin to fight off infections you already had, possibly causing disease symptoms to come back. You could also have symptoms if your immune system becomes overactive. This reaction may happen at any time (soon after starting HIV treatment or many months later). Get medical help right away if you have any serious symptoms, including: unexplained weight loss, severe tiredness, muscle aches/weakness that doesn't go away, headaches that are severe or don't go away, joint pain, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet/arms/legs, vision changes, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, trouble breathing, cough, non-healing skin sores), signs of an overactive thyroid (such as irritability, nervousness, heat intolerance, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, bulging eyes, unusual growth in the neck/thyroid known as a goiter), signs of a certain nerve problem known as Guillain-Barre syndrome (such as trouble breathing/swallowing/moving your eyes, drooping face, paralysis, trouble speaking).