Apretude (cabotegravir) is a prescription drug used to help prevent HIV. The drug comes as a liquid suspension given as an injection into your muscle by a healthcare professional, typically every 2 months.

Apretude is used in adults and some children as preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help prevent HIV. PrEP is administered to those who have not been exposed to HIV but who have a high risk of contracting it.

Apretude comes as a long-acting* liquid suspension (a type of liquid mixture). It’s given as an injection into a muscle of your buttock by a healthcare professional. Apretude belongs to a group of drugs called integrase inhibitors and contains the active ingredient cabotegravir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

This article describes the dosages of Apretude, as well as its strength and how it’s given. To learn more about Apretude, see this in-depth article.

* This drug may stay in your body for 12 months or more after you stop treatment.

The tables below highlight the basics of Apretude’s dosage. All doses are listed in milligrams (mg).

Before your first injection of Apretude, your doctor may prescribe cabotegravir tablets for you. (Cabotegravir is the active ingredient in Apretude.) You’ll likely take oral cabotegravir once per day for about a month. This will help indicate whether Apretude injections are likely to cause bothersome or severe side effects.

Dosage of Apretude if taking oral cabotegravir first:

Oral cabotegravir (Vocabria)Apretude starting doseApretude maintenance dose
30 mg once per day for at least 28 days600-mg injection given twice, one month apart600-mg injection given once every 2 months

Dosage of Apretude if not taking oral cabotegravir first:

Apretude starting doseApretude maintenance dose
600-mg injection given twice, one month apart600-mg injection given once every 2 months

Keep reading for more details about Apretude’s dosage.

What is Apretude’s form?

Apretude comes as a long-acting liquid suspension (a type of liquid mixture) for injection into a muscle of your buttocks by a healthcare professional.

What strength does Apretude come in?

Apretude has 600 milligrams (mg) of drug per 3 milliliters (mL) of liquid.

What are the usual dosages of Apretude for adults?

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Before each Apretude injection, your doctor will give you an HIV test. You’ll only receive an Apretude injection if the test is negative.

Dosage for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

Apretude is approved for adults weighing 35 kilograms (kg)* or more.

Before you start Apretude, your doctor may prescribe you an oral tablet version of cabotegravir. The brand-name oral tablet is Vocabria. Because Vocabria contains the same active ingredient as the Apretude injections, taking the tablets should indicate how your body manages the drug.

If your doctor prescribes cabotegravir oral tablets, you’ll take 30 mg once per day for at least 28 days. You’ll then receive your first Apretude injection on the day you finish taking the oral tablet or within 3 days after.

If you’re not taking the oral tablets, your doctor will discuss when you’ll start Apretude.

When starting Apretude injections, you’ll receive one 600-mg injection once per month for 2 doses. After this, your dose will be 600 mg injected once every 2 months by a healthcare professional.

* One kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

What’s the dosage of Apretude for children?

Apretude is only approved for use in adolescents who weigh at least 35 kg. Apretude is not recommended for use in children younger than age 12 years or those who weigh less than 35 kg.

The dosage of Apretude for HIV prevention in adolescents is the same as in adults. (See the section just above for more details on the standard dosage of Apretude.)

Is Apretude used long term?

Yes, if you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you may use it long term to help prevent HIV.

Your doctor will test you for HIV before each Apretude injection. If you have HIV, they’ll have you stop Apretude and prescribe a different medication to treat the HIV.

Apretude is injected into a muscle of your buttock by a healthcare professional. You’ll receive Apretude injections at your doctor’s office or a clinic once every 2 months after your first two doses.

If you miss an appointment to receive your Apretude injection, call your doctor right away to reschedule it. Missing a scheduled Apretude dose can increase your risk of contracting HIV. It may also cause you to become resistant to the medication, which means the drug may not work as well to prevent HIV.

If you miss a dose of Apretude, your doctor will adjust your dosing schedule. For example, if you miss your regular 2-month injection by more than 7 days, your doctor will prescribe oral cabotegravir 30-mg tablets for you. You’ll take these once per day for up to 2 months. This will replace one Apretude injection.

Your doctor will test you for HIV infection and restart your Apretude injections on the day you finish taking the oral tablet or within 3 days after.

However, if it’s been longer than 7 days since your missed Apretude injection and you haven’t taken oral cabotegravir, your doctor will discuss your options with you. The options will be based on how long it’s been since your missed dose.

If you need help remembering your appointments for Apretude, consider downloading a reminder app on your phone.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer of Apretude. If your doctor recommends this medication, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:

  • Is the cabotegravir (Vocabria) oral tablet dosing as effective as the Apretude injection?
  • Will you need to change my Apretude dosage if I take certain other medications?
  • Can I receive my Apretude injection dosage less often than every 2 months?

To learn more about Apretude, see these articles:

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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 another 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.