In adults and adolescents over the age of 16 years, Invirase (saquinavir mesylate) in combination with low dose Norvir (ritonavir) and other anti-HIV drugs is used for the treatment of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Invirase belongs to a class of drugs called protease (pronounced PRO-tee-ase) inhibitors. The immune system (body's main defence against infection) includes special cells that recognize and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. As HIV grows, it destroys these cells -- leaving fewer immune cells, and a greater risk of infection. Invirase works by fighting HIV as it grows inside cells by blocking an enzyme (protease) that HIV needs to reproduce. Invirase is not a cure for HIV and/or AIDS, though it may help to slow the progression of HIV disease in your body. While taking Invirase however, you may continue to acquire illnesses associated with advanced HIV infection (i.e. opportunistic infections). There is no evidence which suggests that Invirase can prevent the transmission of HIV. To avoid transmission of HIV, you should not donate blood, share needles, or engage in unprotected sexual activity (i.e. without a condom). Invirase must be taken with meals or up to 2 hours after a meal, but it is easiest to remember if you take it with your meals. When Invirase is taken without food, the amount of Invirase in the blood is lower and may not fight HIV as well. Invirase capsules and tablets should be swallowed unchewed, with water or some other non-alcoholic drink. You should avoid excessive consumption of alcohol during your treatment with Invirase. Follow the advice of your doctor. Do not discontinue therapy or alter your dosing without consulting your doctor.
Canadian Pharmacy King currently offers the brand Invirase from UK manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals. Invirase tablet is available in the strength of 200 mg.
Invirase Side Effects
The common side effects of Invirase may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence (gas), indigestion, tiredness, fat tissue increase, headache, dry skin, rash, and itching. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms while taking Invirase:
• Abdominal pain (upper and lower);
• Allergic reactions;
• decreased number of red blood cells;
• High levels of the sugar glucose in the blood;
• High cholesterol levels;
• Increase of liver enzymes in blood;
• Increase in blood fatty acids;
• Reduced appetite or total aversion to food;
• sensation of abnormal heartbeats;
• Selective loss of body fat;
• Tingling, numbness, unusual sensations, weakness, or burning pain;
• Weight loss
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Please call your doctor if you have any further concerns or questions.
Invirase must not be used unless taken with Norvir (ritonavir). Invirase should not be used if you are sensitive to saquinavir or to any other component contained in the capsule or tablet. Invirase should not be used if you: have a history of problems with the electrical activity of the heart, have severe liver problems, are taking or plan on taking any of the following medications: Alpha 1- adrenoreceptor antagonist, medicines to prevent and treat abnormal heartbeats, Antihistamines, Antiinfectives, Antimigraines, Antimycobacterial Agents, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, GI Motility Agents, HIV protease inhibitors (PIs), Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTI), HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins), PDE5 Inhibitors, Sedative/Hypnotics, Tyrosine kinase inhibitors. If you are taking or plan on taking any other medications (prescription or non-prescription, including herbal preparations), tell your doctor or pharmacist. Special attention is warranted when using Invirase with cholesterol lowering medications, nasal steroids, medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction, colchicine (anti-gout medication), Celsentri (maraviroc) (another HIV medicine) and vincamine (peripheral vasodilator).
Before you use Invirase talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have: ever had a bad reaction to saquinavir (Invirase), heart problems, lactose intolerance, a problem with your liver or kidneys, hemophilia; diabetes, high blood cholesterol, any other illnesses besides HIV infection; are pregnant or breastfeeding.