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An Overview of Isentress (Raltegravir, MK-0518)

August 23, 2013



Brand Name: Isentress
Other Name(s): RAL, raltegravir potassium
Drug Class: Integrase Inhibitors
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection


Raltegravir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include skin reactions, allergic reactions, and liver problems.

Stop taking raltegravir and contact your health care provider right away if you develop a rash with any of the following symptoms:

An allergic reaction to raltegravir can cause liver problems. Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal liver problems:

While taking raltegravir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.

What is raltegravir?

Raltegravir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Raltegravir is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Raltegravir is a type of anti-HIV medicine called an integrase inhibitor. Raltegravir works by blocking integrase, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

Raltegravir does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if raltegravir reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking raltegravir?

Before taking raltegravir, tell your health care provider:

How should I take raltegravir?

Raltegravir comes in the following forms and strengths:

Take raltegravir according to your health care provider's instructions.

Take raltegravir by mouth, with or without food. Always swallow the film-coated tablets whole. The chewable tablets may be chewed or swallowed. Do not change your dose of raltegravir or switch between the film-coated tablet and the chewable tablet without talking with your health care provider first.

Always take raltegravir in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

If you take too much raltegravir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

For more information on how to take raltegravir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that inclues the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can raltegravir cause?

Raltegravir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include skin reactions, allergic reactions, and liver problems. (See the WARNING above.)

Other possible side effects of raltegravir include:

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of raltegravir. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of raltegravir.

How should raltegravir be stored?

Where can I find more information about raltegravir?

More information about raltegravir, is available:

Manufacturer Information


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