Drug information

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Pronounce:
Brand Name:
Invirase
Other Names:
SQV, saquinavir mesylate
Drug Class:
Protease Inhibitors (PIs)
Drug Image(s): (Click to enlarge)
 
What are the most important things to know about saquinavir? What are the most important things to know about saquinavir?

What are the most important things to know about saquinavir?

 

Saquinavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include heart rhythm problems, liver problems, and drug interactions.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of heart rhythm problems:
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Sensation of abnormal heartbeats

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:

  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite for several days or longer
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area
  • Itching

Taking saquinavir and ritonavir together with certain other medicines may cause serious, life-threatening side effects. Tell your health care provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

While taking saquinavir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is saquinavir?What is saquinavir?

What is saquinavir?

 

Saquinavir (brand name: Invirase) is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in people over 16 years of age. Saquinavir is always used in combination with the HIV medicine ritonavir (brand name: Norvir) and other HIV medicines.

For more information on the use of saquinavir in people with HIV, please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV.

HIV medicines can’t cure HIV/AIDS, but taking HIV medicines every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, don’t cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking saquinavir?What should I tell my health care provider before taking saquinavir?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking saquinavir?

 

Before taking saquinavir, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to saquinavir or any other medicines.
  • If you have any heart problems, including a condition called congenital long QT syndrome.
  • If you have low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection (HCV).
  • If you have a history of alcoholism.
  • If you have hemophilia.
  • If you are lactose intolerant.
  • If you have any other medical conditions. 
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of taking saquinavir during pregnancy. For more information on the use of saquinavir during pregnancy, please refer to the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant Women with HIV Infection and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • If you are using hormone-based birth control (such as pills, implants, or vaginal rings). Saquinavir may make these forms of birth control less effective. Your health care provider can help you decide how to adjust your birth control while you are taking saquinavir. For more information about using birth control and HIV medicines at the same time, view the HIVinfo HIV and Birth Control infographic.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products (particularly St. John's wort) you are taking or plan to take. Saquinavir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how saquinavir works. Taking saquinavir and ritonavir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious, life-threatening side effects.
How should I take saquinavir?How should I take saquinavir?

How should I take saquinavir?

 

Saquinavir comes in tablet form. Each tablet contains 500 mg of saquinavir.

Take saquinavir according to your health care provider's instructions.

Saquinavir is always used with the HIV medicine ritonavir. Take saquinavir and ritonavir by mouth at the same time, within two hours after a meal.

Always take saquinavir and ritonavir in combination with other HIV medicines.

If you have taken too much saquinavir, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For more information on how to take saquinavir, see the FDA drug label.

What should I do if I forget a dose?What should I do if I forget a dose?

What should I do if I forget a dose?

 

If you miss a dose of saquinavir, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can saquinavir cause?What side effects can saquinavir cause?

What side effects can saquinavir cause?

 

Saquinavir may cause side effects. Some side effects of saquinavir can be serious as noted above. Many side effects from HIV medicines, such as nausea or occasional dizziness, are manageable. See the HIVinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects for more information.

Other possible side effects of saquinavir include:

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of saquinavir. To learn more about possible side effects of saquinavir, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

You can report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online.

How should saquinavir be stored?How should saquinavir be stored?

How should saquinavir be stored?

 

  • Store saquinavir at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep saquinavir in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use saquinavir if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away saquinavir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep saquinavir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about saquinavir?Where can I find more information about saquinavir?

Where can I find more information about saquinavir?

 

Manufacturer Information

 

Hoffman-La Roche; Genentech
Main number: 866-422-2377
Patient assistance: 877-436-3683

 

Last Reviewed: April 24, 2021