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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Invirase

Generic Name: saquinavir (Pronunciation: sa KWIN a veer)

What is saquinavir (Invirase)?

Saquinavir is an antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Saquinavir is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Saquinavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Saquinavir may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Invirase 500 mg

oblong, orange, imprinted with SQV 500, ROCHE

What are the possible side effects of saquinavir (Invirase)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking saquinavir and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • increased thirst or urination, excessive hunger, fruity breath odor;
  • cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, mouth and throat ulcers;
  • any type of infection, skin infection, or open sores;
  • rapid heart rate, increased sweating, tremors in your hands, anxiety, feeling irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, menstrual changes, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
  • swelling in your neck or throat (enlarged thyroid);
  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, trouble speaking or swallowing, joint or muscle pain, feeling short of breath;
  • weakness or prickly feeling in your fingers or toes;
  • problems with walking, breathing, speech, swallowing, or eye movement; or
  • severe lower back pain, loss of bladder or bowel control.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
  • tired feeling; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about saquinavir (Invirase)?

Saquinavir must be taken together with another medication called ritonavir (Norvir).

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to saquinavir or ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra).

Before you take saquinavir, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, diabetes; hemophilia, or high cholesterol, heart disease, heart rhythm disorder, or a history of Long QT syndrome.

Life-threatening side effects may occur if you take saquinavir with alfuzosin (Uroxatral), amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), cisapride (Propulsid), dofetilide (Tikosyn), flecainide (Tambocor), lidocaine, lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), midazolam (Versed), pimozide (Orap), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine (Quin-G), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate), sildenafil (Revatio, for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension), simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin, Juvisync), trazodone (Desyrel), triazolam (Halcion), or an ergot medicine such as Ergomar, Cafergot, Ergotrate, Migranal, or Methergine.

Many other drugs can interact with saquinavir. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

HIV/AIDS is usually treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice. Every person with HIV or AIDS should remain under the care of a doctor.

Taking this medication will not prevent you from passing HIV to other people. Avoid having unprotected sex or sharing razors or toothbrushes. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent HIV transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe, even for a healthy person.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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