Generic Name: enfuvirtide, Parenteral Solution

Fuzeon

All Brands

  • Fuzeon
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for enfuvirtide

Parenteral Solution
1

Fuzeon is a self-injectable drug used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It’s always used in combination with other HIV drug treatments.

2

You inject the drug under your skin (subcutaneously). The dose is taken two times per day.

3

Skin redness, irritation, and itching are possible in the area where you inject the drug. You can minimize this reaction by rotating injection sites, applying ice or heat, or massaging the area gently.

4

Fuzeon doesn’t appear to interact with other drugs. It won’t likely be necessary for your doctor to change your other drugs or doses.

5

Possible side effects include skin infections or nerve irritation from using the drug. These aren’t common.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

May cause cellulitis

Some people have gotten this bacterial skin infection at the injection site. Signs include swelling, pain, redness, excessive warmth, and red streaks around the injection site. Some pain, redness, and itching around the injection site is normal. But if these symptoms are severe, or if your skin appears to be oozing or getting warmer, contact your doctor right away.

May cause pneumonia

Some people who used Fuzeon developed pneumonia. It’s not clear whether or not the infection was related to taking the drug.

May cause immune reconstitution syndrome

Your recovering immune system may start fighting infections that are lying dormant in your body.  Examples of these infections include fungal infections, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. Your doctor will need to treat these infections if this happens. It’s important that you keep taking your Fuzeon even if you come down with an infection.

Drug Features

Fuzeon is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: self-injectable solution.

Fuzeon must be taken as part of a combination therapy. That means you will need to take it with other drugs.

Why It's Used

Fuzeon is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children aged 6 years and older.

More Details

How It Works

Fuzeon works by preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from attaching to or fusing with your body’s CD4 cells. This helps to prevent the virus from using your body’s CD4 cells to make more copies of itself.

Why It's Used

Fuzeon is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults and children aged 6 years and older. It’s used to treat people who have been treated with other antiretroviral drugs but still have an increasing amount of HIV in their bodies. It doesn’t cure HIV, but it may help to control the infection.

Fuzeon must be combined with other antiretroviral drugs.

SECTION 2 of 4

enfuvirtide Side Effects

Parenteral Solution

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects from Fuzeon are mild. They may include:

  • irritation, swelling, pain, or redness where you inject the drug

  • diarrhea

  • nausea

  • fatigue

  • weight loss or change in appetite

  • cough

  • aches and pains

  • flu-like symptoms

These side effects should disappear within a short time. Call your doctor if they’re bothersome or don’t go away.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • drug hypersensitivity reaction: The chances of this reaction are small. If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor right away or call 9-1-1:

    • rash
    • fever
    • nausea and vomiting
    • chills
    • stiffness
    • light-headedness
    • trouble breathing
  • pneumonia

  • immune reconstitution syndrome: Your recovering immune system may start fighting infections that are lying dormant in your body. Examples of these infections include fungal infections, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. Your doctor will need to treat these infections if this happens. It’s important that you keep taking your Fuzeon even if you come down with an infection.

  • cellulitis: Symptoms of this skin infection include:

    • fever and chills
    • swollen glands or lymph nodes
    • rash with painful, red, tender skin

    If you think you have this infection, see your doctor right away.  

  • bruising from injecting the drug: This side effect may occur if you have hemophilia or if you’re taking blood thinners like warfarin.

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Fuzeon does not cause drowsiness.

You will probably have a reaction in the area where you inject the drug. The reaction may include:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • itching
  • discomfort or pain

This reaction usually passes. However, see a doctor right away or call 9-1-1 if the reaction is extreme or if you also have:

  • trouble breathing
  • red welts
  • other possible signs of hypersensitivity
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

enfuvirtide May Interact with Other Medications

Parenteral Solution

It doesn’t appear that Fuzeon interacts with other drugs. This means there’s no evidence that using Fuzeon with other drugs will cause problems. However, this medication may still interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Pregnant women

Fuzeon is a Pregnancy Category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

This drug should be used during pregnancy only if it’s clearly needed.

Women who are nursing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection not breastfeed in order to avoid passing HIV through their breast milk to their babies.

Additionally, it isn’t known if Fuzeon passes through breast milk.

For Children

Keep this drug and syringes away from children in your household. Children may be curious about how the drug is given.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you experience:

  • fever
  • weakness
  • chills
  • night sweats
  • sore throat
  • joint pain

These symptoms may be a sign the drug isn’t working, and you may need a different treatment. They may also be signs of infection.

Allergies

There is a small chance of a drug hypersensitivity reaction to Fuzeon. Symptoms of hypersensitivity include:

  • rash
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • chills
  • stiffness
  • light-headedness
  • trouble breathing

If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor right away or call 9-1-1.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take enfuvirtide (Dosage)

Parenteral Solution

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Brand: Fuzeon

Form: Powder for Injection
Strength: 108 mg per vial
Adult Dosage (ages 17-64 years)

The typical dose is 90 mg of Fuzeon per 1 mL of solution. The dose is injected under the skin twice per day at evenly divided intervals.

Child Dosage (ages 6-16 years)

The typical dose is 2 mg/kg, up to a max of 90 mg. The dose is injected under the skin twice per day at evenly divided intervals.

Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

Fuzeon is not recommended for people younger than 6 years old.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Special considerations

Children: Children aged 6 years and older may be treated with this drug. A child’s dose is based on their body weight. Your child’s doctor will give you the correct dose for your child.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

If your doctor prescribes Fuzeon, your human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is not completely under control. This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

If You Don’t Take It at All

If you don’t take it at all, your HIV infection may get worse. Your immune system may have a hard time defending against many types of infections, even infections that are commonly cured in people who don’t have HIV.

If You Stop or Miss Doses

If you stop taking this medication, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, the amount of medication in your body fluctuates. This can allow the HIV in your body to become resistant to the drug, which means the drug stops working.

If You Don’t Take It on Schedule

Fuzeon is designed to be used twice per day at the same times each day to keep a consistent amount of the drug in your body. If you take it inconsistently, skip doses, or bunch doses together, it won’t work as well. Your HIV infection could get worse.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you can. Take the next dose as scheduled. However, if it’s close to time for your next dose, wait and take the next dose as scheduled. Do not take two doses of the drug at the same time.

How Can I Tell if the Drug Is Working?

To see how well your treatment is working, your doctor will check your:

  • symptoms
  • virus count: A virus count measures the number of copies of HIV in your body. A decreased virus count is a sign that your treatment is working.
  • CD4 cell count: A CD4 cell count measures the amount of CD4 cells in your body. CD4 cells are white blood cells that fight infection. An increased CD4 count is a sign that your treatment is working.

Fuzeon is a long-term drug treatment.

Store this medication at 77°F (25°C)

You can store the vials of powder briefly in temperatures as low as 59°F (15°C) and as high as 86°F (30°C).

After you mix the solution, keep it in the original vial in the refrigerator: 36–46°F (2–8°C). Use it within 24 hours. Don’t keep any leftover solution.

Plan ahead if you decide to travel. This drug isn’t widely available

If you lose a vial or the mixed drug spoils while you’re traveling, it may be very difficult to obtain a dose. A pharmacy or hospital far from home may not be able to get you a dose. You could have to pay for the dose out of your own pocket.

Don’t keep the drug powder or sterile water in your luggage or in a hot car. If you’re traveling in a warm climate, keep these items cool at all times.

Self-Management

Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give yourself the injection. It may be possible for a family member to give you the injection. 

Inject this drug under the skin (subcutaneously) into your upper arm, the back of your thigh, or your abdomen. Subcutaneous injections are injected under the skin but not into the muscles beneath.

Before injecting the drug, mix it with 1 mL of sterile water, which is included in the drug convenience kit.

After adding sterile water, gently tap the vial for 10 seconds and then gently roll it between your hands. This is to avoid foaming. You always want to ensure that all the drug particles are in contact with the liquid and no drug remains on the glass drug vial wall.

Allow the vial to stand until the powder goes completely into solution. This could take up to 45 minutes. You can reduce this amount of time by gently rolling the vial between your hands until the product is completely dissolved.

Look at the vial carefully before you get ready to inject the mixed drug solution.  Are the contents completely dissolved? The solution should be clear, have no color, and no bubbles or particles. If the mixture is still foamy or jelled, allow more time for it to dissolve. If you see little particles in the vial that won’t dissolve, don’t use the vial and take it back to the pharmacy.

There are no preservatives in this drug. After you mix it, use it right away or keep it in the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours. You can mix each dose this way and have it ready to go, but don’t mix it more than 24 hours before you’ll need it. 

When you’re ready for the injection, take the vial out and let it get to room temperature before you use it. Always look at the vial again to make sure it’s clear and doesn’t have particles or bubbles before you inject it. 

Your doctor or nurse may show you how to insert the syringe in the vial and draw up the correct dose. If you’re uncertain about how to do this, talk to your doctor or have your doctor or nurse show you again. Use a clean syringe each time you draw up a dose.

If there’s more than enough for your dose, don’t save the rest of the drug in the vial. Throw it away. 

Each time you inject the drug, you should use a different location. But still use your upper arm, back of your thigh, or your abdomen. This is called “rotating sites.” Using a different site each time prevents side effects like redness, swelling, or other irritations.

Be careful to choose the right kind of place to inject yourself. You should avoid injecting yourself in these areas: 

  • areas that are red or irritated from another recent injection
  • moles
  • scar tissue (the healed area where you had an injury or stitches in the past)
  • bruises
  • surgical scars
  • tattoos 
  • places where your skin has been burned 

Also when injecting the drug, avoid choosing places where big nerves could be close to the skin. Injecting into nerves could cause nerve problems or nerve injury. Avoid these locations:

  • near your elbow
  • knee
  • groin
  • inner surfaces of your buttocks

After your injection, put your used syringes into a special sharps container.  Your healthcare provider will give you more instructions about the safe disposal of your used syringes. Don’t put them in a trash can. If you don’t have a sharps container, call your healthcare provider or pharmacist to get one before using Fuzeon.

Training Required

You will need training to learn how to mix your drug, draw up a dose, and inject yourself under the skin (subcutaneous injection). Make sure that you understand this well before you take the drug home.

Your doctor or nurse will also explain how to rotate injection sites in order to minimize side effects. You’ll also learn how to tell if you’re getting an injection site infection. If you think you have an infection, call your doctor.

Additional Equipment Needed

You will need a sharps container to safely dispose of used syringes after you give yourself injections. These containers store the syringes. You can take them to your pharmacy or mail them to a location to be safely destroyed.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may monitor your virus count and CD4 cell count. They may also check to see if you have reactions where you’re injecting the drug.

You may be monitored for signs of pneumonia.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead

This drug is usually available only from specialty pharmacies through your insurance plan. These pharmacies operate like mail order pharmacies and ship the drug to you.

In larger cities, there will often be HIV pharmacies where you can have your prescriptions filled. Ask your doctor if there's an HIV pharmacy in your area.  Because this is an injectable drug and not prescribed as often as oral forms of HIV drugs, the drug may need to be special ordered. 

Plan ahead to make sure that you have all the doses you need for at least a week. It could take a few days to a week to get another supply.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for Fuzeon. Your doctor may need to do paperwork for you, which could take a week or two.

Are There Any Alternatives?

Fuzeon is prescribed when your other human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatments aren’t keeping the virus completely under control. There may not be many alternatives.

Talk to your doctor to get help with your treatment if:

  • the drug doesn’t seem to be working for you
  • you have difficulty using it
  • you have side effects that are hard to tolerate
  • you aren’t able to get the drug

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with Susan J. Bliss, RPh, MBA

Medically reviewed by Zara Risoldi Cochrane on April 20, 2015

Send us your feedback

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Read This Next

The Cost of HIV Treatment
The Cost of HIV Treatment
Is Kava the Cure for Anxiety?
Is Kava the Cure for Anxiety?
7 Creepy But (Mostly) Harmless Food and Drug Reactions
7 Creepy But (Mostly) Harmless Food and Drug Reactions
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement