What is saquinavir used for?
- Saquinavir is used to treat HIV infection.
Before taking saquinavir, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to saquinavir; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Heart block without a working pacemaker, liver disease, or low blood magnesium or potassium levels.
- If you have ever had a long QT on ECG.
- If you have a rare hereditary problem of galactose intolerance, Lapp lactase deficiency, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
- If you are not taking ritonavir.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with saquinavir, like certain drugs that are used for high cholesterol, migraines, or mood problems. There are many drugs that must not be taken with saquinavir.
- If you have taken a drug that has rilpivirine in it within the past 2 weeks.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take saquinavir.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with saquinavir.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take saquinavir with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take saquinavir?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take saquinavir. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- This medicine interacts with many other drugs. The chance of saquinavir's side effects may be raised or how well saquinavir works may be lowered. The chance of the other drugs' side effects may also be raised. This may include very bad, life-threatening, or deadly side effects. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to take saquinavir with all of your other drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins).
- A type of abnormal heartbeat (prolonged QT interval) has happened with saquinavir. Sometimes, this has led to another type of unsafe abnormal heartbeat (torsades de pointes). Call your doctor right away if you have a fast or abnormal heartbeat, or if you pass out.
- You may need to have some heart tests before starting saquinavir. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- High blood sugar has happened with saquinavir. This includes diabetes that is new or worse.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- Some people with hemophilia have had times of more bleeding when taking drugs like this one. If you have hemophilia, talk with your doctor.
- If you have liver problems like hepatitis B or C, talk with your doctor. Liver problems have gotten worse with saquinavir. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- This medicine may cause high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Talk with the doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine is not a cure for HIV. Stay under the care of your doctor.
- This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors.
- Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking saquinavir.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using saquinavir while you are pregnant.
How is saquinavir best taken?
Use saquinavir as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take saquinavir at the same time as ritonavir.
- Take within 2 hours after a meal.
- Keep taking saquinavir as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of saquinavir during treatment.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.
What are the side effects of saquinavir that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Change in body fat.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking drugs to treat HIV. If you have an infection that you did not know you had, it may show up when you take saquinavir. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new signs after you start saquinavir, even after taking it for several months. This includes signs of infection like fever, sore throat, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath.
What are some other side effects of saquinavir?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Stomach pain or diarrhea.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out saquinavir?
- Store at room temperature.
- Keep lid tightly closed.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use and disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time saquinavir is refilled. If you have any questions about saquinavir, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take saquinavir or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to saquinavir. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.