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- What is atazanavir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for atazanavir?
- Is atazanavir available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for atazanavir?
- What are the side effects of atazanavir?
- What is the dosage for atazanavir?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with atazanavir?
- Is atazanavir safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about atazanavir?
What is atazanavir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Atazanavir is an oral medication that is used for treating infections caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is in a class of drugs called protease inhibitors that also includes ritonavir (Norvir), nelfinavir (Viracept), indinavir (Crixivan) and saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase). During infection with HIV, the HIV virus multiplies within the body's cells. Viruses are released from the cells and spread throughout the body where they infect other cells. In this manner, HIV infection is perpetuated among new cells that the body produces continually. During the production of the viruses, new proteins must be made. Some of the proteins are structural proteins, that, is, proteins that form the body of the new viruses. Other proteins are enzymes that manufacture DNA and other components for the new viruses. Protease is the enzyme that forms the new structural proteins and enzymes. Atazanavir blocks the activity of protease and results in the formation of new viruses with defective proteins that are unable to infect the body's cells. As a result, the number of viruses in the body (the viral load) decreases. Nevertheless, atazanavir does not prevent the transmission of HIV among individuals, and it does not cure HIV infections or AIDS. Atazanavir was approved by the FDA in June 2003.
What brand names are available for atazanavir?
Is atazanavir available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: No
Do I need a prescription for atazanavir?
What are the side effects of atazanavir?
The most common side effects of atazanavir are:
- muscle pain,
- abdominal pain, and
- jaundice increasing bilirubin in the blood.
Other important side effects include:
- increase in blood glucose levels or an increase or redistribution of body fat;
- Changes in body fat including increased fat in the upper back and neck (buffalo hump), trunk and breasts; and
- a decreased heart rate.
In a small number of patients a serious condition called lactic acidosis--a build up of acid in the blood--may occur. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include persistent nausea, vomiting, weakness and trouble breathing. Individuals with bleeding disorders may bleed more when taking atazanavir.
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