Darunavir (oral)

Overview

Commonly used with the drug ritonavir (NorvirĀ®), this medication is a commonly prescribed medication in cases of HIV. It should only be taken with doctor approval. It is usually taken orally and can be taken home for self-administration. It is a daily drug and should be taken every day for the best effect. This drug requires a prescription, so speak to your doctor if you think you may need to be medicated for HIV. Get tested often, and encourage your sexual partners to get tested before beginning a sexual relationship.

This drug may come with side effects, especially if you have never taken it before. These side effects may range anywhere from mild to moderate. If your side effects persist or become severe, talk to your doctor about possible solutions. If you experience troubling side effects, life-threatening reactions, or allergies, stop taking this drug and talk to your doctor.

Do not take this drug if you have haemophilia, or a history of haemophilia in your family. Do not use hormonal birth control while using Darunavir. They are more likely to fail while you are using this medication, and they may interact to cause unwanted side effects. Only use approved medications while using this drug. If you need to begin another prescription while using this drug, speak to your doctor before taking your first dose.

Have regular blood tests while using this drug, do not go too long without checking in with your doctor. This is a strong medication, so it is recommended that you use it with the utmost caution. Talk to your doctor if you experience anything troubling, report back to them about how you feel/what you experience while using this drug.

You may not be able to tell if this drug is 'working' or not. Do not stop taking it without your doctor's approval. Stopping your treatment may endanger your health and put you at risk for HIV/AIDS. Only make these decisions after a thorough consultation with your doctor, and do not make them spontaneously.

If you have questions about how this drug works, how to use it, and why you may need it, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this medication.

Type Of Medication

  • Antiretroviral medication
  • Protease inhibitor

Conditions Treated

  • HIV/AIDS

Side Effects

You may experience side effects while using this medication. It takes time to adjust to this drug, and your body may react unpleasantly to the first few doses. This does not mean you should stop taking this drug, you should not panic if you experience side effects. Mild side effects are common, they do not warrant medical attention. If they persist, become severe, or start to affect your daily life, then speak to your doctor for advice.

Common, harmless side effects include:

  • Increased immune activity. As your immune system gets stronger, it may begin to react to infections, which can cause flu-like symptoms or other sicknesses.
  • High blood sugar/worsening diabetes. This drug may raise your blood sugar, which can adversely affect your diabetes. Take this drug cautiously, and change your lifestyle and diet to cope with your new medication.
  • Stuffy or runny nose. This may be a symptom of increased immune activity rather than a solitary side effect.
  • Weight gain/weight loss. As your body adjusts to this drug, you may see changes in body fat. This is harmless, you can change your diet or lifestyle to cope with these changes.
  • Nausea or vomiting. Your doctor may recommend an anti-nausea medication if this becomes a problem.

These side effects are not dangerous but speak to your doctor if you have concerns about them. Your doctor is prescribing this drug because the benefits outweigh the risks of going untreated, so do not stop taking your medication unless it becomes dangerous.

While some side effects may be unpleasant, this drug is necessary for your overall health. Your doctor may be able to alleviate some of these symptoms with non-interactive medications, advice or by lowering your dose to a more manageable level.

Talk to your doctor if you want to switch medications or stop your prescription. Only do these things with your doctor's approval. Ignoring their advice may cause unwanted side effects, and it may cause your health to deteriorate.

However, some side effects may be a symptom that something is wrong. Your body may react adversely to this drug, resulting in dangerous side effects. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth, dry skin, and sweating
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained, fruit-like scent on breath
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Pain in the muscles and joints
  • Sores, ulcers, or other lesions on the skin/mouth

This list is not exhaustive. If you experience anything unusual or troubling, contact your doctor. You may need to schedule an appointment or have tests done to make sure your health is not at risk, and your doctor may ask you to switch medications.

While rare, you may experience an allergy to this drug, especially if you have an existing allergy to sulfa drugs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Unexplained fever
  • Skin rash or blistering
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat.
  • Trouble breathing

If you think your life is in danger do not wait to contact your doctor. Go straight to the emergency room, or contact an ambulance. It is your responsibility to notice side effects and symptoms, so be cautious when using new medications and act accordingly. If you experience an allergic reaction, stop taking this drug immediately and do not re-start your medication.

Dosage

The dosing for this drug varies between patient. Your dose should cater to your personal needs, and it depends on a number of factors. These factors include age, resistance, condition, and your weight. Only take the dose your doctor recommends, and do not switch your dose on your own. Increasing your dose can result in increased side effects and even overdose. Lowering it too much may affect the efficacy of your treatment.

Online guides should be supplemental to the information your doctor gives you. Do not use this guide as a replacement for professional medical advice. If you are curious about what dose you might be given, or just want a comparison for your current dose, here is a list of the most common Darunavir dosages.

For HIV Treatment (Patient has had HIV treatment before):
Adult dose: 800mg tablet, or 8ml of the suspension given orally once a day.
Child dose (Ages 3-17): Should be determined by your doctor on a case-by-case basis. The dose is largely determined by weight in these cases. Doses usually fall in the 600mg-800mg range.

For HIV Treatment (Patient has a darunavir resistance associated substitution):
Adult dose: 600mg tablet, or 6ml of the suspension given once a day by mouth.
Child dose (Ages 3-17): Should be determined by your doctor to avoid under/over-dosing. In these cases, dose is usually determined by weight. Doses usually fall in the 375mg-600mg range.

For HIV Treatment (Patient has never been treated for HIV):
Adult dose: 800mg tablet, or 8ml of the suspension given orally. Take this drug daily.
Child dose (Ages 3-17): Should be determined by your doctor for best results. Weight is usually the determining factor for children's doses. 600mg-800mg is the usual range.

Doses for children under 15kg (33 pounds) should be decided after a close examination by a doctor. Do not give this medication to children under the age of three. Pregnant women are safe to take this drug, but their dosage may vary. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, at risk of becoming pregnant, or have plans to get pregnant while taking this drug.

This drug should be taken with food. Only take this drug once a day, and only take it as directed. Your doctor may require you to take another medication with Darunavir. This is very common, and these drugs are not shown to interact negatively. Make sure to take them together, and avoid missing doses. If you miss a dose, do not take double to make up for the lost dose.

Only take this drug as directed.

Interactions

This drug may interact with other medications you take. Make sure to keep a thorough list of all your medications. This includes herbal remedies and over-the-counter medications, as well as unlisted prescription medications you are currently taking. Drug interctions can vary from mild (increased side effects, unwanted or unpleasant reactions) to severe (bodily harm).

Make sure to consult your doctor if you need to start a new prescription while using Darunavir. Only take medications that are approved for safe use, and do not start any new medications without speaking to your doctor first.

Common interactions include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Antipsychotics
  • Blood thinners
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain medications
  • Heart prescriptions
  • Sleeping medications
  • Hepatitis medications
  • Other antiretrovirals
  • Epilepsy prescriptions
  • Cholesterol medications
  • Acid-reduction medications
  • Post-transplant medications
  • Oral/hormonal contraceptives
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • Medications used to treat Tourette's
  • Benign prostrate enlargement (BPH) drugs
  • Any medication containing St. John's Wort
  • Any migraine medications containing ergotamine

This list of interactions is generalized and in no way exhaustive. Talk to your doctor if you are taking anything that may fall into these categories, and do not take them in tandem with Darunavir unless directed to do so. While some interactions may be mild, others can be detrimental to your health or treatment.

Your doctor may take you off conflicting medications. They may switch you to another medication, or they may recommend that you go unmedicated until your the end of your HIV treatment. While this is unpleasant, it is necessary for your overall health. Your doctor is recommending these drugs because the benefits outweigh the risks.

Only take this drug if your doctor has approved you for treatment. Unsupervised treatment may cause unwanted side effects or dangerous results. It may reduce how well your treatment is working, or even cause bodily harm. Always follow your doctor's advice, and consult them before making and decisions about your treatment plan.

Warnings

Like any other medication, this drug comes with risks. Only take this drug if you and your doctor agree that it is safe for you, and only use this drug as directed. Ignoring the warnings and your doctor's advice may result in harm to you or the person taking this drug. If your child is being given this drug, be sure to read all of the warnings before their first dose.

Keep the warning labels on hand so you can brush up on them in between visits to the doctor. Do not throw them away, and do not throw the prescription bottle away. Always keep prescription bottles until the medications runs out. You should only refill this medication at a trusted pharmacy.

This drug may increase the risk of liver disease. This is a serious issue, and symptoms of this disease should be taken seriously. Do not ignore the warning signs, and stop taking this medication if you experience:

  • Dark urine and/or pale colored stools
  • Persistent and severe nausea and vomiting
  • Ongoing loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and/or weakness
  • Pain below your ribs, particularly on your right side
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)

These symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately. Do not continue taking this drug if you begin suffering from liver problems. You and your doctor should have a consultation to decide what treatment to use from there, but you should not use Darunavir if you experience liver issues during treatment.

If you get sick shortly after beginning your Darunavir prescription, place a call to your doctor. This drug stimulates for the immune system, so it may begin to attack dormant infections in your body. Contact your doctor immediately if one of these infections begins to look serious.

This drug can cause increases in your blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor before beginning this medication. You may require additional medications or a lifestyle change to cope with these changes. Test your blood sugar often while using this medication, and go to the emergency room if you think your life is in danger. Use this drug with caution.

Darunavir may cause hormonal birth controls to work less efficiently. Always use a secondary form of birth control while taking this drug, and do not rely on your hormonal birth controls. Speak to your doctor or gynaecologist about alternative forms of birth control if necessary.

You may experience skin reactions while using this medication. Contact your doctor right away if you begin to see rashes, welts, or lesions on your skin or in your mouth. Check your children frequently if they are taking this medication, as they may neglect to tell you if they are experiencing this issue.

This drug does not prevent the transmission of HIV. Always get tested before having sex with someone, or use protection during intercourse. Ask your partners to get tested before having unprotected sex. Practice safe sex, and always gain consent before having unprotected sex with someone.

Storage

This drug may require specific storage. Make sure to read all the available labels before taking this drug home, and only store it as directed. Neglecting to do so may result in the drug expiring faster, becoming less potent, or even changing composition. Darunavir should be stored at room temperature, away from light and heat. Do not refrigerate or freeze this medication, as it may make it unfit for treatment.

Do not take this medication out of its prescription bottle until you are ready to use it. Avoid keeping this drug in unmarked bottles or containers. Do not keep this drug in weekly pill calendars unless you live alone or with adults. Keep this away from children or pets. Accidental ingestion may result in overdose.

If you believe a child or pet may have overdosed, contact poison control to emergency services. Present them with the prescription bottle, and be sure to tell them when the drug was taken and how much was ingested. To avoid this, make sure you put this drug in a locked bottle out of reach.

Only dispose of this drug as directed. Do not dump loose pills in the garbage, as your child or pet may get into the trash and eat them. Put the drug back into its original bottle, or seal the pills within a lockable bottle. Throw them away normally. Do not give this drug to anyone else, no matter their symptoms. If you have excess or expired medication, try looking around for a medication take-back program.

Do not keep excess medication, and do not try to take this drug after your prescription has ended. Watch out for expired medication. Expired medication is useless, as it likely has a lowered potency. Throw it away normally, and ask your doctor/pharmacist for a refill if you need one.

If you have a child that is taking this medication, make sure to keep track of their refills and medication schedule. Do not allow them to take this medication unsupervised. If need be, keep this medication in a locked drawer or medicine cabinet. Make sure they get their daily dose and do not give them more than directed.

Summary

This drug is only given through doctor recommendation and prescription. Using this drug off-prescription may result in unwanted side effects and danger to you or your child. If you think you or a loved one may require this medication, schedule a consultation with your doctor to assess your options. This drug should be taken responsibly, and it should not be taken as a cure-all treatment.

You may require other medications along with this drug. Talk to your doctor about your treatment plan before beginning any prescription. Do not take additional drugs unless your doctor approves of them. Interactions can increase your risk of side effects and adverse reactions. If you experience painful side effects or allergy symptoms, stop taking this drug and contact your doctor.

This drug comes with risks and warnings. Discuss all of them with your doctor, and do not take this drug if you believe it will put your life in danger. If you must take this drug, take it cautiously. If you believe your life is in danger at any point, contact emergency medical services immediately. Do not continue taking this drug if you react badly the first time.

Side effects can vary from patient to patient. Where you may experience mild side effects, someone else may have serious issues taking this medication. Do not give this drug to anyone else, and only use this drug as directed to avoid any complications. If your side effects become a problem, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking this drug unless you are directed to do so.

This drug is not a replacement for proper sexual safety. Be sure to inform people if you have HIV, and do not have unprotected sex with unaffected individuals. Always use condoms during sexual intercourse with strangers, and do not practice reckless sexual activity. You may be harming yourself or others if you neglect proper safety guidelines, and you can seriously impact someone else's life. If you think you may have HIV, get tested as soon as possible and do not have unprotected sex until you are cleared.

If you have questions about this drug, how it works, or how it will affect you personally, discuss them with your doctor. While the internet can be a valuable source of information, you should always talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions.

Do not stop taking this drug unless you and your doctor agree that it is necessary. You are being prescribed this drug because it will benefit you, so do not be quick to dismiss it. Go to all of your scheduled check-ups and appointments, and talk to your doctor about your progress and treatment as needed.