Prezista

Written by Rachel Nall | Published on October 24, 2013
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on October 24, 2013

What Is Prezista?

Brand Name: Prezista
Generic Name: Darunavir

Prezista is a medication used to slow the progression of HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the medication for adults and children ages 3 and up. This medication is available in tablet and oral suspension form. It is typically used in combination with other HIV medications, such as rintonavir (Norvir).

Read the FDA description of Prezista.

What Does Prezista Do?

Prezista belongs to a class of medications known as protease inhibitors. This medication works by blocking protease enzymes that are present in HIV. Without the protease enzymes, HIV is unable to duplicate itself as easily. However, Prezista does not cure HIV or AIDS.

For maximum effectiveness, Prezista should be taken with food.

This information is a summary. Before starting this medication, discuss questions with your healthcare provider and make sure you understand dosage instructions.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before Starting Prezista?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are breastfeeding or planning on breastfeeding
  • are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant
  • have hemophilia
  • have high blood sugar, such as hyperglycemia or diabetes
  • have a medication allergy to Prevista or sulfa medications (such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or Septra)
  • have a liver condition, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C

What Medications May Interact with Prezista?

Always tell your physician about any prescription medications or herbal remedies you are taking.

Medications that can adversely interact with Prezista include:

  • alpha-1-Adrenoreceptor antagonists, such as Alfuzosin
  • antimycobacterial medications, such as Rifampin 
  • ergot derivatives, including dihydroergotamine (Migranal), ergonovine (such as Ergotrate), ergotamine (Ergomar), and methylergonovine (Methergine)
  • GI motility agents, including cisapride (such as Propulsid)
  • herbal remedies, including St. John’s wort
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, such as lovastatin (Mevacor and Altoprev)
  • neuroleptic medications, such as pimozide (Orap)
  • phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra)
  • sedative or hypnotic medications, including triazolam (Halcion)

Possible Side Effects of Prezista | Prezista Side Effects

The following are severe and emergent side effects of these medications. Report to your medical provider immediately if you experience the following:

  • hepatotoxicity, such as acute hepatitis, that affects your liver functioning; symptoms of this condition include dark urine, decrease in appetite, fatigue, jaundice or yellowing skin, nausea, and tenderness over the liver
  • hemophilia or increased bleeding
  • hyperglycemia, including diabetic ketoacidosis, where blood sugar levels can reach dangerously high levels.
  • immune reconstitution syndrome, a condition that causes an inflammatory response in viruses in the blood, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • severe skin reactions that include skin changes accompanied by aching joints, fatigue, and blistering

The following side effects may occur but do not usually represent an emergency. Discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are bothersome.

  • abdominal pain
  • changes in the distribution of body fat, such as an increasing amount of fat on the neck
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • nausea/vomiting

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Prezista, Norvir, and Truvada

Patients taking HIV medications for the first time may take a combination of HIV medications. A doctor may prescribe Prezista, low-dose ritonavir (Norvir), and tenofovir and emtricitabine (Truvada). This is known as a PI-based regimen.

Where Should I Keep Prezista?

Prezista in tablets and oral suspension should be stored at room temperature, around 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Excess heat can be damaging. Do not refrigerate or freeze the oral suspension form and keep it in its original container.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

FDA WARNING: The FDA classifies Prezista in category C, meaning the effects on an unborn baby are unknown. Always notify your physician if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.  

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Article Sources:

●      Darunavir. (2013, August 23). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/drugs/397/darunavir/0/patient
●      Prezista. (2006). Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Retrieved October 18, 2013 from http://www.prezista.com/sites/default/files/pdf/us_package_insert.pdf#zoom=100

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