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Articles

What is Atazanavir Sulfate (Reyataz) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

Immune globulin: What is Atazanavir Sulfate (Reyataz) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage?

What is Atazanavir Sulfate (Reyataz)?

Atazanavir (abbreviation ATV) is an antiretroviral drug from the drug class of protease inhibitors. The atazanavir brand name is Reyataz, which is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

What is This Medication Used For?

Atazanavir drug is used in combination with other anti-HIV drugs to treat HIV. While there is currently no cure for HIV, the drug is used in combination with other medications from different classes, such as nucleoside analogues (‘nukes’) and/or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (‘non-nukes’) in antiretroviral therapy, also known as ART.

As a protease inhibitor, ATV is used to interfere with the activity of the enzyme called protease. HIV-infected cells use protease to make new viruses, so when the activity of protease is inhibited the production of new viruses is slowed.

How to Take Reyataz

Reyataz comes in a capsule that is taken orally. It is taken with a dose of ritonavir (Norvir), with food.

Atazanavir Sulfate Side Effects

Taking atazanavir medication is safe and effective. However, there are a range of side effects that may occur.

Common Side Effects

  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Unexpected tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Depressed mood
  • Sleep problems

Severe Side Effects 

  • Liver problems (symptoms include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (symptoms include dizziness and light-headedness)
  • High blood sugar (symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth)
  • Severe rash

Dosage

The standard dosage of Reyataz for an adult patient is 300 mg taken once daily with 100 mg of ritonavir (Norvir). It is not recommended to take atazanavir without ritonavir, and both medications must be taken with food.

Drug Interactions

Multiple drug interactions have been reported with atazanavir, which can increase or decrease the amount of ATV in your body. As such, it is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist and advise them of any prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking, including herbs.

The manufacturer recommends that the following medications should not be taken by patients using atazanavir:

  1. Anti-cancer drugs such as irinotecan (Camptosar)
  2. Antibiotics/anti-tuberculosis drugs such as rifampin (Rifater), rifampicin
  3. Antihistamines such as astemizole (Hismanal), terfenadine (Seldane)
  4. Anti-psychotic drugs such as pimozide (Orap)
  5. Drugs for abnormal heart rhythms such as amiodarone (Codarone), bepridil (Vascor) flecanaide (Tambocor), propafenone (Rythmol), quinidine
  6. Gastrointestinal motility agents such as cisapride (Prepulsid)
  7. Herbs such as St. John’s wort and its extracts, hypericin and hyperforin
  8. HIV protease inhibitor such as indinavir (Crixivan)
  9. Lipid-lowering agents such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor)
  10. Migraine drugs (ergot derivatives) such as dihydroergotamine (Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar), Ergonovine
  11. Sedatives such as midazolam (Versed), triazolam (Halcion)
  12. Proton pump inhibitors such as esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Pantoloc)
  13. Drugs for prostate problems­ such as alfuzosin

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