Raltegravir

Where is Raltegravir used?

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.

This 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. 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 is Raltegravir taken?

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. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day.

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. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.

What are the possible side effects of Raltegravir?

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Tired feeling
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Tell your doctor right away if you these serious side effects such as:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Increased thirst
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain

What are the precautions in taking Raltegravir?

  • 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.
  • 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.