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What is Edurant (Riplivirine) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Edurant (Riplivirine) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Edurant (Rilpivirine)?

Edurant, also referred to as Rilpivirine, is a medication used in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus responsible for the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the human body. Edurant is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), a class of medications named for their ability to target the enzyme called reverse transcriptase, which is responsible for the replication of HIV in the body. First introduced to the pharmaceutical market in 2011 by the Belgian company Jannsen Pharmaceutica, it is part of a second generation of NNRTIs that are intended to have increased longevity and potency over their predecessors, with fewer side effects.

What is It Used For?

As discussed above, Edurant is meant for use in the treatment of individuals with HIV. Specifically, it is used to target HIV-1, or Type 1, the more infectious and most common type of the virus, accounting for approximately 95 percent of HIV infections worldwide. Edurant is used to treat patients who are treatment naïve, meaning they have not yet received any medications or treatments for their infection. Like all NNRTIs, it attaches itself to viral DNA chains and inhibits their replication, preventing the virus from spreading further and improving the patient’s immune system. Edurant is intended to be taken in combination with any one of a variety of other antiretroviral HIV medications, in order to maximize its efficacy.

How to Take This Medication

Edurant is available in the form of small, white, film-coated tablets ingested orally by swallowing the tablet whole. The tablets are typically available in a bottle of 30. To allow for maximum absorption, tablets should always be taken with a meal. As with many other medications, consumption of grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and products containing grapefruit should be avoided while taking Edurant, as these products have been observed to increase the risk of side effects. Tablets should not be taken if the expiry date on the packaging has passed.

Side Effects

Various side effects have been observed in patients taking Edurant. These range from mild, manageable symptoms to conditions requiring urgent medical attention. Prior to taking Edurant, prospective patients should consult with their health care provider regarding other medications being taken, as these may interact and increase the risk of severe side effects.

The following side effects have been observed more frequently:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • changes in dreaming
  • insomnia

The following side effects occur less frequently, but may require immediate medical attention:

  • skin rash
  • depression
  • thoughts of suicide or harming oneself
  • yellowing of the skin, nails, or eyes
  • fever
  • discoloring of urine or stool
  • wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

It should also be noted that the safety of Edurant in individuals under the age of 17 has not yet been assessed. As such, individuals of this age group should avoid taking the medication. Recent studies have allowed for Edurant to be assessed as being safe for pregnant women; however, individuals of this group should be monitored closely throughout their pregnancy, as other medications may affect their viral load, a measure of the amount of HIV in an individual patient.

Dosage

The standard dosage of Edurant for individuals weighing over 35 kg (77 lbs) is one 25 mg tablet daily. For those below 35 kg, the medication should not be taken. Patients should aim to take the tablet at the same time each day. In the event of a dose that has been missed by 12 hours or more, the tablet should not be taken, and the once-daily schedule should be resumed the following day. As discussed above, tablets should always be taken with or immediately following a meal, to aid in bodily absorption of the active ingredients. When Edurant is taken in conjunction with rifabutin (an antibiotic medication), the daily dose is intended to be increased from 25 mg to 50 mg and is to be taken with or immediately following a meal. Once rifabutin has ceased being administered, the dosage should drop back to 25 mg.

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