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Other uses of Ritonavir besides HIV ?!?!?

May 6, 2009

I'm a 24yo gay male who has been dating a guy now for several months. Let's call him Jim for now :-)

Earlier today I found a prescription bottle of the drug RITONAVIR at his house (100mg, one a day). I'm a recent Molecular Cell biology graduate and immediately recalled Ritonavir to be a protease inhibitor to treat HIV.

Since discovering the bottle, I confronted 'Jim'. He assured me that the prescription is not related to HIV, and is instead prescribed because he has a weakened immune condition which he was diagnosed with two years ago (though "not HIV"). He states he get's ill easily (due to heavy drug use in his teens destroying his immune system), and is on the drug to help prevent him getting run down.

However, a quick google search of the drug, and consultation with my old university notes only shows Ritonavir in a HIV/AIDS related context.

Please can you tell me of *any* other instances where Ritonavir might be prescribed. Obviously if it is soley for the treatment of HIV, he is lying, and i am in more trouble than I thought...

Thanks for your help

Response from Dr. Young


Unless I'm missing something, ritonavir (Norvir) is only used for the treatment of HIV. The medication is largely used as a pharmacologic booster for other HIV medications (protease inhibitors). This same activity, in priniciple, could be exploited to boost the activity of other medications but is not done (to my knowledge).

Be safe out there,


penicillin 2.4 megaunits tpha positive
Atripla & Moxifloxacin 400mg

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