Why is this medication prescribed?
Raltegravir is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Raltegravir is in a class of medications called HIV integrase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although raltegravir does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other life-style changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.
How should this medicine be used?
Raltegravir comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food twice a day. Take raltegravir at the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take raltegravir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take raltegravir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking raltegravir or your other anti-HIV medications without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking raltegravir or skip doses, your condition may become worse and the virus may become resistant to treatment.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking raltegravir,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to raltegravir or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rimactane), or cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had hepatitis.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking raltegravir, call your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.You should not breast-feed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking raltegravir.
- you should know that your body fat may increase or move to different areas of your body such as your breasts and upper back.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two tablets of raltegravir at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Raltegravir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- pale skin
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- muscle pain or tenderness
- muscle weakness
- dark or cola-colored urine
- chest pain or pressure
- fast heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- excessive sweating
- fever, sore throat, cough, chills, and other signs of infection
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- flu-like symptoms
- unexplained weight gain
- decrease in amount of urine
- swelling around the feet, ankles, or legs
You should know that the long-term effects of raltegravir are not known at this time. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Raltegravir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory while taking raltegravir. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to raltegravir.
Do not let anyone else take your medication.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.