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Saquinavir oral
SAQUINAVIR ORAL SOFTGEL CAPSULES

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

SAQUINAVIR ORAL SOFTGEL CAPSULES

(sah-KWIN-uh-veer)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Fortovase

Uses

This is a protease inhibitor type of antiviral medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV).

How To Use

Take this by mouth exactly as directed usually three times a day. This is best taken with food or within 2 hours after a meal. Follow your dosing instructions closely. This medication is given in combination with other antiviral drugs (e.g., zidovudine and lamivudine) for best results. Do not substitute different generics of this medication unless directed by your doctor. It is critical to take this medication every day exactly as prescribed. Do not interrupt treatment unless directed to do so by your doctor.

Side Effects

Nausea, stomach upset, muscle or joint pain, cough or diarrhea may occur. If these symptoms continue or become severe, inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if you experience: confusion, loss of coordination. severe weakness, depression, skin rash, unusual bleeding or bruising, stomach pain, hearing or vision difficulty, fever, chills, increased urination, thirst, unusual fatigue, persistent sore throat, yellowing of the eyes or skin. Changes in body fat may occur while you are taking this medication (e.g., increased fat in the upper back and stomach areas, decreased fat in the arms and legs). The cause and long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Discuss the risks and benefits of therapy with your doctor, as well as the possible role of exercise to reduce this side effect. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

Before taking this, tell your doctor if you have: liver disease, diabetes, blood disorders, any allergies. This may make you more sensitive to the sun than usual. Avoid sun exposure. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. It is not known if this drug is excreted into breast milk. HIV infected mothers are advised to avoid breast-feeding in order to protect the infant from becoming infected with HIV.

Drug Interactions

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious interactions may occur: terfenadine, astemizole, cisapride, triazolam, midazolam, ergot alkaloids and derivatives (e.g., ergotamine), cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., statins such as lovastatin, simvastatin), St. John's wort, rifamycins (e.g., rifabutin, rifampin). If you are currently using any of these medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting saquinavir. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription products you may use, especially of: insulin, anti-diabetic medications, phenobarbital, phenytoin, dexamethasone, carbamazepine, calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, nifedipine), clindamycin, dapsone, quinidine, nelfinavir, indinavir, ritonavir, delavirdine, nevirapine, sildenafil, clarithromycin, ketoconazole. This drug may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. Discuss using other methods of birth control with your doctor. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include pain in the throat.

Notes

This medication is not a cure for HIV infection. The long term effects are unknown at this time. Be aware that this medication does not reduce the risk of passing the virus to others through sexual contact or blood contamination. Keep all doctor appointments and scheduled laboratory tests as your condition will be monitored closely. This is a potent medication and should not be shared.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is within 2 hours of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. It is important not to miss doses of this drug.

Storage

Refrigerated at 36 to 46 degrees F (2 to 8 degrees C) keeps the medicine stable until the expiration date noted on the container. Once brought to a room temperature that does not exceed 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), the drug should be used within 3 months