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HIV MedicationsIsentress

Isentress (Raltegravir): Everything You Need to Know

Raltegravir HIV drug, molecular model
A model of the molecular structure of raltegravir (a.k.a. Isentress).MOLEKUUL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images

    Frequently Asked QuestionsIsentress (raltegravir)

    What is raltegravir?

    Raltegravir (RAL) is a medication in the class of drugs called “integrase strand transfer inhibitors” (INSTI), which stop HIV from making copies of itself later in its life cycle. It also goes by the brand names “Isentress” and “Isentress HD.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally approved Isentress as a part of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in 2007; Isentress HD was approved by the FDA in 2017.

    What are the different forms of raltegravir, and how are they taken?

    There are two different forms of raltegravir in the U.S.:

    1. Isentress – 400 mg tablets, red ovals with “227” printed on one side. Take one pill twice a day. For both treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients.

    2. Isentress HD – 600 mg tablets, yellow ovals with “242” printed on one side. Each day, take two pills at once. For treatment-naive patients and patients who have been virologically suppressed on an initial regimen of RAL 400 mg twice a day.

    How often is raltegravir taken?

    Raltegravir can be taken either twice daily or once daily, depending on the form, with or without food.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H., is a black same-gender-loving educator, author, activist, and internal medicine physician. He co-hosts the YouTube series 'Revolutionary Health' as part of The Counter Narrative Project and also appears on the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.