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Other Names: DRV, TMC-114
What is it?
Darunavir is an FDA approved antiretroviral medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as protease inhibitors. It is used to treat HIV, a retrovirus. Retroviruses use the genetic material in the body’s cells to produce more virus which can infect other cells.
How does it work?
Darunavir interferes with the life cycle of HIV to stop it from producing more virus. Specifically, darunavir ties up the protease enzyme, which slows the production of new virus to prevent other cells from becoming infected.
How do I take it?
Darunavir is taken along with another protease inhibitor, ritonavir or Norvir. Ritonavir is a protease inhibitor that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of HIV infection.
• Darunavir is available as 300 mg and 600mg tablets. The dose of darunavir is one (1) tablet (600mg) every 12 hours.
• Ritonavir is available as 100mg tablets. The dose of ritonavir is one (1) capsule every 12 hours.
• Darunavir should be taken with food. Additionally, intake with food is recommended to reduce the potential for nausea or vomiting. Drink at least one large glass of water (8 ounces or 240mL) with each dose.
• The tablets should be swallowed whole – do not crush or dissolve.
It is extremely important that you take darunavir and your other antiretroviral medications exactly as directed. You should set up a system that will help you remember to take your medicines so that you do not miss any doses. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and space the remaining doses out over the rest of the day. However, if you skip a dose, do not take two doses at once. Do not stop taking the medication for any reason at any time unless you are directed to do so by your provider. If you are unable to continue taking your medication due to side effects, you should contact your provider immediately.
Some drugs taken together may have interactions that cause illness or impair the effectiveness of the drugs. Since darunavir is a new drug, studies are being done to determine what interactions there might be with other medications. Always check with your provider or pharmacist before taking any other medications, prescription or otherwise, to be sure it will not interact with darunavir.
The following medications should not be given together with darunavir:
Many other drugs may interact with darunavir so you must tell your provider about all medications you are currently taking. This includes any medications that you may take on an ‘as needed’ basis, such as sleeping pills or pain medications and herbal or natural medicines.
If you are taking oral contraceptives with darunavir, an alternate form of birth control should be used.
The medications listed above may be known by other names. In addition, there are many other medications that may have a potential interaction with darunavir or ritonavir. Please notify your provider of all medications you take, including other study medications and herbal medications.
Not everyone experiences side effects. When they do occur, they may be mild, moderate or severe. Some side effects cannot be felt by the patient but can be found through laboratory tests, so it is important to see your clinician regularly for checkups so that side effects can be detected early and treated.
The most common side effects of darunavir include diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, headache, and fatigue. Other side effects that may occur include rash, and changes in liver function, which can be detected and monitored with laboratory tests.
Please alert your provider or pharmacist if you have a sulfonamide (sulfa) allergy.
Increases in blood sugar or the development of diabetes has been reported in a small number of patients taking protease inhibitors. Symptoms include increased thirst or hunger, weight loss, increased need to urinate, fatigue, or dry, itchy skin. Please contact your study clinician if any of these side effects occur.
Also, a condition called lipodystrophy (abnormal use of fats in the body) has been reported in some patients taking protease inhibitors. Symptoms vary among individuals, but they may include accumulation of fat tissue in the stomach area or the upper back, and a loss of mass in other areas of the body. Some people have experienced increases in cholesterol and triglycerides that have required the use of lipid lowering medications.
The benefits of taking protease inhibitors far outweigh the risk of developing lipodystrophy or diabetes. Therefore, at this time, we strongly encourage you to take your medications exactly as prescribed. Notify your study clinician if any of these side effects are bothersome and may prevent you from taking your medication.
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