raltegravir (Isentress)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is raltegravir, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Raltegravir (Isentress) is an antiretroviral medicine approved for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Raltegravir is an integrase inhibitor similar to elvitegravir (Vitekta) and dolutegravir (Tivicay). Raltegravir slows the spread of HIV infection by blocking the HIV integrase enzyme required for virus multiplication. To improve the chance of fighting HIV-1 infection, raltegravir must be taken with other HIV medicines. Although raltegravir does not cure HIV or AIDS, continuous HIV treatment with raltegravir can help patients control the infection and decrease their risk of acquiring HIV-related illnesses. Raltegravir helps to improve the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells called CD4+ (T) cells, and consequently reduce the risk of death or getting opportunistic infections that can happen when the immune system is weak.
  • Raltegravir was initially approved by the FDA in October 2007.

What brand names are available for raltegravir?


Is raltegravir available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for raltegravir?


What are the uses for raltegravir?

Raltegravir is a prescription HIV medicine used with other antiretroviral medicines to treat human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection in patients 4 weeks or age and older. Raltegravir does not cure the HIV-1 infection or AIDS. It works to reduce the viral load which is the amount of HIV virus in the blood.

What are the side effects of raltegravir?

The most common side effects of raltegravir include:

Other potential side effects of raltegravir include:

Some patients taking raltegravir experience serious skin and allergic reactions. These reactions can be severe or life-threatening if not treated promptly. Patients who develop any type of skin rash with other symptoms should call their doctor right away.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2016

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HIV AIDS Facts: Symptoms and Treatments
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