What is Norvir (Ritonavir) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Norvir (Ritonavir) Used For? Side Effects and Dosage

What is Norvir (Ritonavir)?

Norvir is the brand name antiretroviral medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Norvir is part of the drug class called protease inhibitors. Its generic alternatives include ritomune and ritonavir. The drug is an agent that inhibits HIV-1 protease. It is often used in combination with other antiretroviral medications to prevent HIV infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This product does not cure HIV-1 infection. It is manufactured by AbbVie, Inc.  

What is it used for?

Norvir is a medication that is often used in combination with other antiretrovirals to treat HIV and prevent the advancement of HIV to AIDS. It works by interrupting an enzyme called protease, stopping it from processing precursors of virus particles.

Ritonavir also provides a boost to other antiretroviral protease inhibitors by increasing the absorption rate of the other medications in the intestines and inhibiting the enzyme activity in the liver that breaks down the protease inhibitors. Due this effect, Norvir prolongs and maintains the body’s higher level of protease inhibitors in the system, enabling the drug to be taken once or twice daily.

How is this drug taken?

Norvir is taken once or twice daily, in combination with other protease inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors as part of antiretroviral therapy. It is an oral medication that is taken in the form of tablets, oral liquid, and oral powder. It is generally given as follows:


  • Adults: 600mg twice daily with meals
  • Pediatric: 600mg twice daily with meals for children over 1 month old and based on body surface
  • Norvir oral solution: It should not be taken by neonates before reaching the postmenstrual age of 44 weeks
  • Norvir oral powder: dosing increments of 100mg

Warnings and Precautions

  • Oral solution may result in toxicity in preterm neonates
  • Potentially fatal hepatoxicity of the liver, particularly in patients with hepatis B & C
  • Potentially fatal pancreatitis
  • May cause allergic reactions including: anaphylaxis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, bronchospasm, toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • May raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • May cause immune reconstitution syndrome

Norvir side effects

Common side effects

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Upper and lower stomach pain
  • Numbing/tingling in hands, feet and around lips
  • Rash
  • Weakness/tiredness

Serious side effects

  • Liver problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Allergic reactions
  • PR prolongation
  • Increase in cholesterol / triglycerides
  • Diabetes / high blood sugar
  • Immune reconstitution syndrome
  • Change in body fat
  • Increased bleeding for hemophiliacs

Side effects listed here may not include all potential concerns. The package insert can be referred to for more information on adverse reactions, warnings and contraindications.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. This article, and other AIDS and HIV Information articles on AIDS Drugs Online, are not written by AIDS Drugs Online or reviewed by its staff for medical validity. All views and opinions expressed by the third-party authors are not endorsed by AIDS Drugs Online or its staff. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice.


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