Raltegravir is used with other medications to help control HIV infection. A combination of several anti-HIV medications is required to fight HIV because the virus can become resistant to one agent very rapidly. This drug is used in combination with other medicines to minimize the ability of the virus to replicate and increase in number. This also helps prevent it from becoming resilient to treatment.
HIV is a virus that damages the immune system. The immune system helps your body fight off infections. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids that include:
- Breast milk
- Vaginal and rectal fluids
This is a lifelong condition that most people infected by it develop a flu-like illness within a month or two. This illness known as primary or acute HIV infection may last for a few weeks. Possible signs and symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Sore throat and painful mouth sores
- Swollen lymph glands mainly on the neck
This medication is not a cure for HIV infection. To lessen your risk of spreading the disease, you may do the following:
- Always use an effective barrier method like polyurethane condoms or dental dams
- Continue to take all HIV medications exactly as it is prescribed
- Do not share personal items like syringes, razors, or toothbrush
Raltegravir is a type of anti-HIV medicine known as an integrase strand transfer inhibitor. It blocks the virus from growing and infecting more cells. This helps to lessen the amount of HIV in your body. Lessening lets your immune system work better. This lowers your chance of getting HIV complications. Raltegravir will also improve the quality of your life. This is available as tablets for oral use. Each tablet is available in 400 mg and 600 mg dosage strength. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.
How does Raltegravir work?
An acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by infection with HIV. This virus cannot duplicate and increase in numbers on its own, so it invades human cells to use their metabolism. The virus enters cells of the immune system particularly the white blood cells known as CD4 T-helper lymphocytes. These cells usually work to activate other cells in the immune system to fight infection. HIV kills the CD4 T-helper cells in the process of its replication and over time the body becomes less able to fight the virus. Once the virus is inside the CD4 T-cell, it grows. Part of the process of viral multiplication involves the integration of the viral genetic material called DNA into the CD4 T-cell’s DNA. This is achieved by a compound essential to the virus called HIV-1 integrase. HIV-1 integrase is known as an enzyme.
Raltegravir works by blocking the action of this enzyme. In that way, this interferes with the integration of viral DNA into the CD4 T-cell’s DNA. This stops the virus from growing.
How to use Raltegravir?
Raltegravir is to be taken by mouth usually once or twice a day. You may take each tablet with or without a meal or as directed by your doctor. Each tablet will be taken by mouth with a full glass of water. Swallow the tablet as a whole. Do not break, chew, or crush it. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects.
The prescribed dosage for this medication is based on your medical condition, age, and response to it. You must take the right dose, not more or less. You should not stop taking this medication quickly without the consent of your doctor. Your doctor may give you a lower dose to start and eventually increase it. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.
What are the side effects of Raltegravir?
Common side effects:
- Stomach pain
- Tired feeling
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Changes in the shape or location of body fat
Tell your doctor right away if you these serious side effects such as:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Pale skin
- Lower back pain
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Dar urine
- Muscle pain
- Clay-colored stools
- A severe skin reaction
- Weakness with flu symptoms or fever
- Signs of a new infection
Warnings and Precautions
- Before taking Raltegravir, let your doctor know if you have any medical history especially of liver disease, muscle disorders, or high blood levels of creatine kinase.
- Tell as well to your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. This product may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. a
- If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
- HIV infection is very good at becoming resistant to anti-HIV medicines. For this reason, it is very important that you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions for taking anti-HIV medicines. It is for you to maintain effective levels of the medicines in your blood.
- People taking this type of medication may gain weight and may also experience increases in the levels of sugar and fats in their blood. However, these changes are in part linked to the improvement in control over your HIV and your lifestyle.
- Do not share this with others.
- Keep this at room temperature far from the reach of children.
This product should be used with caution in:
- Elderly people
- People with severely decreased liver function
- People with liver disease
- People taking medicines that can have side effects on the muscles such as fibrates or statins
- People with a history of depression or psychiatric illness