Saquinavir (Invirase): Uses, Dosage and Side Effects
What is Saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase)?
Also recognized by its brand names Invirase and Fortovase, Saquinavir refers to a kind of medicinal treatment involving the human immunodeficiency virus. Alongside other medicines used in treating this illness, Saquinavir is also consumed with other antiretroviral drugs to ensure that the infection does not progress to AIDS or the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. While this medicine is proven to be very effective in its functions, only adults who are 16 years old and above can use Saquinavir.
How does it work?
Belonging to a group of protease inhibitors, Saquinavir functions by diminishing the viruses’ objective in bringing about its massive virulence to the body. It lessens the amount of virus present in the blood. Apart from this function, the medicine Saquinavir is also capable of boosting the body’s immune system, making it strong and active enough in combating the virus. Once this medicine is taken, it immediately works and does its job.
Uses of Saquinavir
Medically approved by the FDA, Saquinavir is utilized in diminishing the huge loads of viruses active in the human blood. As mentioned, without the availability of these antiretroviral drugs, there is no means that an infected individual can recover, more so being protected from the hostile effects of the said infection. Other than that, this medicine is highly capable of blocking the infection from advancing to a more severe stage. To ensure that this medicine works more effectively, it can be mixed or consumed with other drugs, such as Indinavir, Ritonavir, and Nelfinavir.
There are certain factors that a healthcare professional looks into before providing a patient with his/her prescription. These factors are necessary to ensure that a patient will not experience more health complications and also to avoid probable drug interactions. These are the following:
- Medical history
- List of medicines that a patient is currently taking
For the dosage involving adults:
- 500 mg of Saquinavir, to be consumed on a daily basis
- To be consumed with Ritonavir.
- The initial dose is added by 100 mg of Ritonavir.
- For dosage adjustment, especially for increasing the dose for a day, it could be 1000 mg of Saquinavir and an additional 100 mg of Ritonavir.
- The frequency is likely twice the daily consumption.
- For dosage maintenance, the healthcare professional will be the one to provide you with a new prescription.
- The best time to consume this drug is 2 hours after the meal.
One of the major effects of consuming a certain type of medicine is overdose. Why does this happen? If a patient takes more than what he/she is expected to take in a day, there is a high chance of developing an overdose. The healthcare professional examines an individuals’ medical record, including the past diseases and the other forms of medicine that the patient is currently observing.
With these assessments, the healthcare professional will arrive at a conclusion, especially the frequency or amount of medicine that the patient needs to consume on a daily basis. This is why it is important to discuss these things with your healthcare professional after being diagnosed with the infection.
Furthermore, a patient will undergo or experience the most severe side effects of this medicine. If an overdose occurs, obtain and consult medical aid immediately by contacting your healthcare professional.
Other than the possibility of having an overdose, a drug interaction is also applicable should you consume one or more medicines. As mentioned above, take the time to speak with your healthcare professional to make sure that the medicines you are taking at the moment will not affect your new treatment involving HIV.
Drug interactions can be mild and severe, depending on the frequency and intensity of your treatment. As you speak with your healthcare professional and talk about the type of medications you will have to undergo, episodes of drug interaction can be prevented.
It is also one of the many reasons why it is necessary to always follow the prescription label as it contains the whole detail about the type of antiretroviral drugs you need to consume.
Saquinavir Side Effects
Alongside the benefits of using Saquinavir are the different side effects you will experience once you start consuming it. There are lists of the most common, and there are also the severe reactions that require immediate medical attention. Consider the following:
Most Common Side Effects:
- Pain in the stomach
- Pain in the back
Severe Side Effects:
- Swollen eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Extreme weakness
- Symptoms involving flu
- Irregular heartbeat
When you experience the most severe side effects, make sure that you contact your healthcare professional at once and obtain the necessary medical relief.
Precautions and Warnings
While it may be a daunting feeling to read the side effects mentioned here, a patient can actually observe some precautionary measures to avoid the onset of these unwanted reactions.
First, you need to speak with your healthcare professional if you are hypersensitive or allergic to this medicine, as well as its major ingredients. Always remember that hypersensitivity can lead to death. Second, always follow your dosage. It includes the process of how to consume it, not skipping doses, and not forgetting your daily dose of Saquinavir.
For pregnant women, Saquinavir is applicable. However, the dosage will be limited, or the amount of dose that you need to take in a day can be lower than the normal dose given to others. Always understand that medicine can be harmful to unborn babies. It is why you need to take your healthcare professionals’ advice more seriously.
If you have underlying conditions, such as diseases involving the heart and liver, Saquinavir may not be prescribed to you. As this medicine has properties that can ignite these diseases, especially its major adverse reactions, avoid consuming it and obtain another form of antiretroviral drug.