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Medications Used in the Treatment of HIV
Updated 3/2002

April/May 2002


Nucleoside Analog Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs or NARTIs)
 MedicationDaily DosePossible Side EffectsImportant Information
combivirCombivir®
(combination of zidovudine 300 mg plus lamivudine 150 mg -- also known as CBV)
GlaxoSmithKline
One tablet twice a day
(Combivir® is a combination of two drugs in one tablet)
See Retrovir® (AZT) and Epivir® (3TC). Watch for anemia. Fixed combinations should not be prescribed for patients requiring dose adjustments. Can be taken with or without food. Take with food to minimize stomach discomfort.
epivirEpivir®
(lamivudine -- also known as 3TC)
GlaxoSmithKline
One 150 mg tablet twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Side effects overall rare. Headache; fatigue; nausea; diarrhea; insomnia; low white blood cell count (neutropenia); low red blood cell count (anemia).May "reverse" resistance of HIV to AZT when used together. Monitor triglycerides for pancreatitis especially in children. Can be taken with or without food. Also active against hepatitis B virus (HBV).
hividHivid®
(zalcitabine -- also known as ddC)
Roche Laboratories
One 0.75 mg tablet three times a dayPeripheral neuropathy (nerve damage): tingling, numbness or pain in the hands or feet; pancreatitis; mouth and esophageal ulcers (canker sores); lactic acidosis; possible elevated liver enzymes or more severe problems (hepatomegaly with steatosis)Women should practice birth control while taking this drug because it may cause fetal injury. Avoid taking with food if possible. Should not be used with ddI. Do not take with magnesium/aluminum-containing antacids.
retrovirRetrovir®
(zidovudine -- also known as AZT and ZVD)
GlaxoSmithKline
One 300 mg tablet twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Low red blood cell count (anemia); headache; nausea; muscle soreness and inflammation (myopathy); weakness; lactic acidosis; possible elevated liver enzymes or more severe problems (hepatomegaly with steatosis); fingernail discoloration.Watch for anemia, especially in women. Can be taken with or without food. Take with food to minimize stomach discomfort. Avoid using along with d4T.
trizivirTrizivirTM
(combination of zidovudine 300 mg + lamivudine 150 mg + abacavir 300 mg -- also known as TZV)
GlaxoSmithKline
One tablet twice a day
TrizivirTM is a combination of three drugs in one tablet
See Retrovir® (AZT), Epivir® (3TC) and ZiagenTM (abacavir).This medication contains ZiagenTM (abacavir), which can cause a serious allergic reaction in some people (please read the warning above for ZiagenTM). Contact your physician or healthcare provider immediately if any sign of allergy occurs (fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, shortness of breath and/or skin rash within six weeks after starting). Once you stop taking Trizivirâ for this reason, you should not restart the drug, without a doctors permission, since this may result in a life threatening reaction. Can be taken with or without food. Take with food to minimize stomach discomfort.
videxVidex®, Videx® EC
(didanosine -- also known as ddI)
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Two tablets/ powder twice a day (dosage based on body weight) or two 200 mg tablets once daily or one 400 mg enteric-coated (EC) capsule once daily
Oral solution available as well
Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage): tingling, numbness or pain in the hands or feet; pancreatitis (nausea, abdominal pain); GI upset; diarrhea; headache; vomiting; rash; dry skin; lactic acidosis; possible elevated liver enzymes or more severe liver problems (hepatomegaly with steatosis).Tablets must be taken at least 30-45 minutes prior to eating. New enteric-coated (EC) capsules need to be taken 1 hour before or 1 hour after food. Alcohol may increase risk of pancreatitis. Increased risk of pancreatitis with concurrent use of d4T or hydroxyurea. Avoid aluminum-containing antacids.
zeritZerit®
(stavudine -- also known as d4T)
Bristol-Myers Squibb
One 40 mg capsule twice a day (30 mg capsule for persons of weight < 60 kg)
Oral solution available as well
Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage): tingling, numbness or pain in the hands or feet; pancreatitis; insomnia; headache; nausea; diarrhea; lactic acidosis; possible elevated liver enzymes or more severe problems (hepatomegaly with steatosis).Evidence suggests it should not be combined with AZT. Watch for neuropathy and pancreatitis. Can be taken with or without food.
ziagenZiagenTM
(abacavir sulfate)
GlaxoSmithKline
One 300 mg tablet twice a dayHypersensitivity reaction; headache; nausea; vomiting; shortness of breath; abdominal pain; lactic acidosis; possible liver problems (severe hepatomegaly with steatosis).Hypersensitivity (serious allergic reaction) reported in 3%-5% of people. People who experience increasing nausea, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath and/or skin rash within six weeks after starting abacavir may be experiencing a hypersensitivity reaction and should contact their doctor immediately. Once you stop taking abacavir, you should not restart the drug since this may result in a life threatening reaction. Can be taken with or without food.
Nucleotide Analog Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NtRTIs)
 MedicationDaily DosePossible Side EffectsImportant Information
vireadVireadTM
(tenofovir DF)
Gilead Sciences
One 300 mg tablet once dailyNausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, lactic acidosis; possible liver problems (severe hepatomegaly with steatosis).Can increase the blood levels of Videx® (ddI) when co-administered. Take with food, preferably a meal containing some fat. Also active against hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)
 MedicationDaily DosePossible Side EffectsImportant Information
rescriptorRescriptor®
(delavirdine mesylate)
Agouron Pharmaceuticals
Four 100 mg tablets taken 3 times a day
Rash; headache; fatigue; nausea; elevated liver enzymes.Should be taken at least 1 hour before and after ddI and antacids. Raises blood levels of some protease Inhibitors. Notify doctor if rash develops. Can be taken with or without food.
sustivaSustivaTM
(efavirenz)
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Three 200 mg capsules once a day
Bedtime dosing is recommended due to side effects
Central nervous system (CNS)-related symptoms: dizziness, somnolence, insomnia, vivid dreams, impaired concentration, lightheadedness; rash.May reduce levels of some protease inhibitors. Rifampin and clarithromycin reduce levels of efavirenz. Women should practice birth control while taking this drug because it may cause fetal injury. High fat meals may increase side effects. Can be taken with or without food.
viramuneViramune®
(nevirapine)
Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals
One 200 mg tablet twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Rash; stomach upset; headache; low white blood cell count (neutropenia); increased liver enzymes, hepatitis (rare).Lead-in dosing: One 200 mg tablet once a day for the first 14 days. Lowers blood levels of protease inhibitors. Notify doctor if rash develops. Can be taken with or without food. Liver enzymes should be followed, especially when used in pregnancy.
Protease Inhibitors (PIs)*
 MedicationDaily DosePossible Side EffectsImportant Information
ageneraseAgeneraseTM
(amprenavir)
Produced by Vertex
Distributed by GlaxoSmithKline
Eight 150 mg capsules twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Nausea, diarrhea, headache, stomach pains/gas, rash and numbing sensations (on the skin usually around the mouth).Drugs called "ergot derivatives" should not be taken with amprenavir as the interactions can be life threatening. The TB drug rifampin lowers the amount of amprenavir in the body. Vitamin E supplements should not be taken with amprenavir. Avoid during pregnancy. Can be taken with or without food. May be combined with other protease inhibitors at a lower dose.
crixivanCrixivan®
(indinavir sulfate)
Merck & Co.
Two 400 mg capsules every eight hoursKidney stones (may be back/flank pain); elevated bilirubin level (bile pigment); rash; nausea; diarrhea.Take on empty stomach with water one hour before or two hours after eating. Drink at least six glasses (48 oz/1.5 liters) of water daily to avoid kidney stones. If stomach problems arise it may be taken with a light low fat snack. Certain drugs must be avoided due to interactions. May be combined with other protease inhibitors at a lower dose.
fortovaseFortovaseTM
(saquinavir)
Roche Laboratories
Six 200 mg soft gelatin capsules three times a dayNausea; diarrhea; gas; rash; abdominal pain; headacheTake with food or within two hours of eating. Saquinavir taken without food may be less potent. FortovaseTM replaces older formulation Invirase®. Fortovase is more potent. May be combined with other protease inhibitors at a lower dose.
kaletraKaletraTM
(lopinavir 133 mg + ritonavir 33 mg)
Abbott Laboratories
Three capsules twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Loose stools; diarrhea; nausea; headache.Because this drug is actually a combination drug containing ritonavir, it may interact with many other drugs. Can be taken with or without food. Oral solution contains 42.4% alcohol.
norvirNorvir®
(ritonavir)
Abbott Laboratories
Six 100 mg soft gelatin capsules twice a day
Oral solution available as well
Nausea; diarrhea; abdominal pain; weakness; numbness around mouth; change of taste.Should be taken with a full meal. Norvir interacts with many other drugs. Dose may be gradually increased over the first week to reduce side effects. Separate ddI dosing by at least two hours. May be combined with other protease inhibitors at a lower dose.
viraceptViracept®
(nelfinavir)
Agouron Pharmaceuticals
Three 250 mg tablets three times a day or Five 250 mg tablets twice a day
Oral powder available as well
Diarrhea; nausea; rash; headache; stomach cramps.Take with a meal or light snack. Has some drug interactions. Tablets are now coated to prevent dissolving while swallowing. May be combined with other protease inhibitors at a lower dose.
* For all protease inhibitors: Possible side effects: Body shape changes due to fat redistribution, elevated cholesterol and/or triglycerides, elevated blood sugar or frank diabetes mellitus, impaired liver function (elevated liver enzymes). Other Important Information: Always remind your doctor of other drugs you are taking. Many of these drugs interact with other medications as well as non-medical ingested substances (e.g., garlic supplements, St. John's wort may lower levels of PIs).


Information provided by David Pieribone; edited by Mark Katz, M.D.

These medications have been approved by the FDA. The material and information published in Positive Living should not be used as a medical recommendation. All treatment decisions must be made in consultation with your health care provider.


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