Kaletra Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects
Kaletra Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects
HIV treatment has come a long way. In the early 2000s, several drugs for the said treatment were introduced, making HIV an escapee from being called a death sentence. Today, there are a lot of HIV medications tailored to fit just about anyone to help keep them healthy and relatively immune from the complications of the infection. One of these medications is named Kaletra.
What is Kaletra?
Kaletra is a prescription medicine used to provide medical care for people with HIV. It is a combination of two major anti-HIV agents, such as lopinavir and ritonavir. These anti-HIV agents work by preventing the virus from multiplying or making more copies of itself.
Kaletra is a part of the primary HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy. This therapy is created to make treatment easier for HIV-positive people. It involves the use of combination drugs to ensure immediate treatment as compared to previous practices where an infected person needed to take 2 to 3 pills a day. Now that this combination therapy is introduced, only one pill is required to take daily.
As mentioned, Kaletra is primarily composed of lopinavir and ritonavir. They are both under a drug classification known as HIV protease inhibitors. Lopinavir functions by inhibiting a certain enzyme that the virus uses to replicate. On the other hand, ritonavir boosts the levels of Lopinavir, making the latter work better in controlling the infection.
Precautions and Warnings
Like other antiretroviral medicines, Kaletra also shares a list of precautionary measures and warnings. First in line is an individual’s hypersensitivity to the drug. How does this work?
If you have known hypersensitivity or allergy to Kaletra, you should avoid using this medicine. It goes the same way with its active ingredients, which are lopinavir and ritonavir. Note that hypersensitivity can be fatal, so avoid using this medicine to prevent complications.
Additionally, before using Kaletra, you need to inform your healthcare professional of your medical history. One example is disclosing if you have a history of the following conditions:
- Liver disease (hepatitis B or C)
- Cardiovascular problems
- Hemophilia (bleeding disorder)
- Hypokalemia (low blood potassium levels)
- Kidney disease
You should also know that Kaletra can interact with other medications. This is why doctors examine your medical history or if you are currently taking other drugs. Moreover, drug interactions can make your treatment less effective, especially with your HIV therapy.
Before receiving a prescription with Kaletra, your healthcare professional will need to check on the following:
- Age and weight
- Medical history
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Other forms of drugs you are currently taking
Once all of these are examined, you will get a detailed prescription that you need to follow daily.
Kaletra Dosage Form:
- 200 mg lopinavir and 50 mg ritonavir
The recommended dosage for adults:
- Take 400/100 mg of Kaletra twice daily.
- For once-daily dosing (if necessary), take 800/200 mg of Kaletra orally.
Note: For pediatric patients, the dosage will depend on their weight. However, if they cannot swallow the tablet form of this medicine, they can opt for the oral solution with parental guidance.
How to take Kaletra?
Take Kaletra with or without food. However, doctors recommend taking this medicine with food to avoid episodes of a stomachache. Make sure to drink a whole glass of water to aid with this medicine’s digestion. Avoid chewing or breaking the pill. Swallow it whole to get the total efficiency of the drug.
If the oral solution is used, it must be taken with food. Measure the oral solution with a dose-measuring spoon for accurate dosing. If a measuring spoon is unavailable at home, you can ask the pharmacy or your doctor.
Common side effects:
- High cholesterol
Severe side effects:
- Fast heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Lower back pain
- Blood in urine
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite