Ritonavir is a medication that is used along with other medications to help control the HIV infection.


What is Ritonavir?

Ritonavir is a protease inhibitor that works by reducing the amount of HIV in the blood.


How should Ritonavir be taken?

Ritonavir can be administered orally in the form of capsules, tablets (strictly to be swallowed whole) or liquid solution.  In general, the drug should be taken 2 times a day with a meal. The doctor may initially prescribe a low dose and then gradually increase it in case of urgency.


Side effects associated with Ritonavir

Among the possible side effects of ritonavir include the following:


  • Hyperglycemia
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Taste changes
  • Headache
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in hands, feet or around the mouth
  • Muscle or joint pain


It is important to contact a doctor immediately if you experience:


  • Blistering or peeling of the skin
  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Swelling of eyes, face, tongue, lips or throat
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irregular heartbeat


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Ritonavir


Before starting treatment with ritonavir, it is important to tell your doctor if:


  • You have any allergies to the active substance, its excipients or any other drugs or food
  • You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular:  other anti-HIV drugs, medicines containing ergot, antiarrhythmics, sedatives or sleeping pills, alfuzosin, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin and other statins, pimozide, sildenafil and other drugs for erectile dysfunction, voriconazole, anticoagulants, antidepressants, atovaquone, beta-blockers, boceprevir, bosentan, busipirone, calcium antagonists, clarithromycin, clorazepate, colchicine, dexamethasone, diazepam, digoxin, dronabinol, estazolam, fluticasone, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lidocaine, immunosuppressants, anticonvulsants, meperidine, methadone, methamphetamine, mexiletine, nefazodone, perphenazine, prednisone, quinine, rifabutin, rifampin, risperidone, salmeterol, theophylline, thioridazine, vinblastine, vincristine, zolpidem, St. John's wort, sulfiram and metronidazole
  • You are suffering (or have suffered) from long QT interval, diabetes, hemophilia, high cholesterol or triglycerides, liver or heart disease
  • You are pregnant or  breast-feeding