Elvitegravir (Oral)

Elvitegravir is used as a combination of medications to treat the infections caused by HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS.

Overview

What is Elvitegravir?

Though not a drug that can prevent or cure the HIV infection or AIDS, Elvitegravir prevents the virus from actively reproducing, slowing down the destruction it causes to the body's immune system. Elvitegravir is typically prescribed to patients who have already been taking HIV medications. It is a medication that works in combination with others to provide a combination regimen of drugs that can help patients who have HIV live longer, more healthy lives.

How does Elvitegravir work?

Elvitegravir is an integrase inhibitor type of drug, which is effective in blocking an enzyme that increases the chemical reaction, either in speed or initial startup, of the HIV virus. By blocking this enzyme, which is required for viral replication, Elvitegravir is effective in lowering the propagation of the infection.

What is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)?

Human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV, is the virus that eventually causes AIDS which is known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Patients with AIDS have a severely failed immune system, allowing a take-over by infections, cancers and other medical crisis conditions, which eventually kill them. Infection with HIV occurs with the transfer of bodily fluids including blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

Vital CD4 T cells are infected by HIV, among other cells critical to live, which leads to low levels of these cells, eventually causing the body to become more susceptible to infection over time. At the early stages, some people are unaware that they are infected with the HIV virus and can pass it on unknowingly. Early symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Arthralgia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash
  • Myalgia
  • Fever and rash
  • Pharngitis
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Loss of weight

If you exhibit any of these symptoms, it is advised that you get tested for HIV promptly as the earlier you are treated for the virus, the better chance you have of long term survival. If you have been diagnosed with HIV, your doctor will advise you on preventive measures that you should take to keep from spreading it to other people.

Conditions Treated

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • Infection

Type Of Medicine

  • HIV integrase inhibitor

Side Effects

Elvitegravir can cause some patients to experience side effects that are mild in nature and typically stop happening after the medication is no longer in the body. Though they don't require medical attention, these side effects may be annoying. Your doctor will be able to assist you with ways to lessen or alleviate these symptoms, but if they become prolonged or severe, you should report them immediately. Any questions about the following side effects should be directed to your medical team:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite loss
  • Discouraged, empty or sad feeling
  • Heartburn
  • Irritable mood
  • Indigestion
  • No interest in pleasure or life
  • Skin rash
  • Upset, painful or uncomfortable feeling in stomach
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Concentration difficulty
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Weak muscles
  • Vomiting

Other ill effects on health may occur that aren't listed here and should be reported to your doctor or medical staff in case they indicate that you are reacting badly to Elvitegravir.

Dosage

Follow the prescription written for you by your doctor without changing it in any way. Do not change the frequency, size of dose or length of treatment without your physician's specific consent to do so. Do not allow your supply of Elvitegravir run out; make sure you refill your prescription ahead of time to avoid this situation.

Read and understand all patient information provided to you on the leaflets that arrive with your prescription amount of Elvitegravir. If you have any questions about the medication or your treatment regimen, consult your physician or pharmacist.

Taking Elvitegravir will improve your symptoms, making you feel stronger and healthier. This in no way should indicate to you that you can stop taking Elvitegravir or any of the other drugs prescribed to you. If taken alone, Elvitegravir will not be effective; it must be taken in combination with other drugs.

Keep the level of Elvitegravir on an even level in your body by taking it exactly when and how it is prescribed. Take the medication at the same time each day, with food to avoid upsetting your stomach. Patients who take antacids are advised to take them two hours prior to their dose of Elvitegravir. Didanosine should be taken at least one hour before or two hours after Elvitegravir.

Different patients will require different strengths and treatments of Elvitegravir. Follow what your doctor has prescribed for you specifically. In general, adults are prescribed 85 milligrams to be taken one time per day with 100 milligrams of Ritonavir and 300 milligrams of Atazanavir or 100 milligrams of Ritonavir twice per day with 400 milligrams of Lopinavir twice per day.

Some patients are prescribed 150 milligrams of Elvitegravir taken once per day with a combination of the following drugs:

  • 100 milligrams Ritonavir twice daily with 600 milligrams Darunavir
  • 100 milligrams Ritonavir twice daily with 700 milligrams Fosamprenavir
  • 100 milligrams Ritonavir twice daily with 500 milligrams Tipranavir

Do not miss a dose of Elvitegravir, but if you do, it is preferred to skip the missing dose rather than double up your doses. Return to your normal schedule as soon as possible.

Interactions

If, in the past, you have experience reactions to a medication, food or even artificial dyes or preservatives, you should let your physician know as this could indicate a risk of allergy to Elvitegravir as well. If you are on other medications, you should also disclose their details to your physician, being sure to include over-the-counter, herbal and vitamin therapies as well.

Elvitegravir is only to be used in combination with other drugs and therefore works well with certain prescription medications. There are other drugs, however, that should not be taken with Elvitegravir as they interfere too much with the effects the medication has on your body, possibly causing side effects that can lead to permanent health conditions.

For this reason, be sure that your doctor knows your full medical history including any medications you are currently taking, over-the-counter remedies you use on a regular basis and any vitamin, herbal or holistic therapies you take part in as well.

If you are taking the following drugs, it is not recommended that you take Elvitegravir:

  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Phenytoin
  • Tybost
  • Cobicistat
  • Striblid
  • St John's Wort
  • Rifampin

Using Elvitegravir with the following drugs is typically not advised by physicians, but may be required in your treatment. Your physician may decide to change your dosage or frequency of you are currently taking:

  • Aluminum Phosphate
  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Bosentan
  • Aluminum Carbonate, Basic
  • Darunavir
  • Ceritinib
  • Dihydroxyaluminum Aminoacetate
  • Idelalisib
  • Dihydroxyaluminum Sodium Carbonate
  • Dexamethasone
  • Itraconazole
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Ketoconazole
  • Magnesium Oxide
  • Magaldrate
  • Orlistat
  • Magnesium Trisilicate
  • Rifabutin
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Rifapentine
  • Warfarin
  • Voriconazole

Elvitegravir may or may not be taken with food; your doctor will advise you on any food interactions in your prescription information. Additionally, use of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and certain specific foods may interact with this medication in an unwanted, unexpected way. Read all patient information supplied with your prescription including the leaflet given to you by your doctor or pharmacist.

Some pre-existing medical conditions can also limit the effectiveness or cause a high risk situation for unwanted side effects. Use of Elvitegravir may also make certain illnesses worse, depending on what they are. For this reason, it is advised that you disclose your full medical history to your cancer treatment specialist physician before being given a dose of Elvitegravir. Your doctor will specifically want to know if you have been diagnosed with liver disease, as use of Elvitegravir may worsen this condition.

Warnings

With regard to specific age groups, both pediatric and geriatric patients have not been studied for any increased risk or decreased effectiveness with use of Elvitegravir. Use of this medication in patients who fall under either of these age categories is considered on a case-by-case basis and is advised only with caution. Elderly patients have more age-related diseases that involve vital organs, which may make them more susceptible to complications with use of Elvitegravir.

No data exists from studies performed on pregnant women to see if there is any harm to the fetus from taking Elvitegravir. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should be advised by their health care professionals whether they should be treated with Elvitegravir or if the potential risk is too great. Women who are of childbearing years should use barrier methods of birth control while they are being treated with Elvitegravir, as this medication could lower the effectiveness of hormone-based forms of birth control.

Women should not breastfeed if they are infected with HIV or being treated with Elvitegravir. Contact your doctor if you have been breastfeeding at this time.

Your full medical history including any medications you have been taking should be disclosed to your doctor along with any allergies to dyes, perfumes, preservative substances, foods or animals. Inform your doctor if you have had any liver problems, as these could worsen with the use of Elvitegravir. Elvitegravir should never be taken with Tybost (cobicistat) or other drugs like it such as Stribild as these could cause dangerous levels of this drug in your body.

Regular blood tests will be part of your scheduled visits to your doctor, which will assist in monitoring your health progress along with checking for unwanted symptoms related to the drug.

Elvitegravir, in strengthening your immune system, may prompt your body to show signs of infections you didn't know you had prior to taking this drug. Report signs and symptoms of the following conditions to your physician immediately:

Elvitegravir does not decrease the risk you have of transmitting HIV to others either by sexual contact or by blood contamination. If you are infected, it is recommended that you avoid any sexual activity that involves an exchange of body fluids with others. If you do have sex, always wear or have your partner wear a condom made of latex or polyurethane. Do not re-use or share needles or medical equipment with anyone. Any questions about transmitting the virus, sexual contact or blood contact should be discussed with your health care professional.

Storage

Store Elvitegravir and other medications out of sight and reach of children. Keep it in the original container at room temperature and do not allow it to come in contact with excessive heat, moisture or direct light. Do not allow Elvitegravir to freeze.

If you have expired or unused doses of Elvitegravir, consult your physician or pharmacist on the safe disposal instructions you should follow for this medication.

Summary

Elvitegravir is an integrase inhibitor style of drug used in the treatment of the infection known as HIV. Elvitegravir is always used in combination with other drugs to increase its effectiveness over the virus. Elvitegravir works by inhibiting a certain enzyme that the HIV virus requires in order to reproduce and spread. By preventing the virus from doing this, Elvitegravir is effective in slowing down the damage that the infection causes to the body as well as preventing the rapid spread of the virus itself.

Elvitegravir causes certain side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. It can also cause mood changes and other severe effects. Any ill health symptoms should be reported to your physician and team of medical professionals in case they are potentially dangerous to you over the long term.

Do not take Elvitegravir if you are taking other drugs that may contain this drug already as this could cause dangerous levels in your system. Elvitegravir reacts with many other drugs including some that are available over-the-counter. For this reason, it is recommended that you disclose your medical history and include any prescription, non-prescription, herbal, vitamin or other remedies that you are taking to your physician.

Patients who have severe disease of the liver should not take Elvitegravir, as that is where the drug is metabolized in your body. If the liver cannot process Elvitegravir correctly, a dangerous build up could occur that could cause you to have long term health damage.

Take your dosage exactly as prescribed by your physician including whether or not to take Elvitegravir with food. Your dose should be taken at the same time or times every day along with the other medications prescribed to you. Read and understand all provided patient information with regard to safe storage, proper disposal and potential effects.