Isentress (raltegravir) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat HIV. The drug comes as a tablet you swallow, a chewable tablet, and a liquid oral suspension. It’s usually taken once or twice per day.

Isentress is used in adults and certain children to treat HIV-1 (the most common type of HIV). Isentress is used with other medications to treat HIV.

The active ingredient in Isentress is raltegravir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

Isentress belongs to a group of drugs called antiretrovirals. This article describes the dosages of Isentress, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Isentress, see this in-depth article.

The table below highlights the basics of this drug’s dosage for adults. All strengths are listed in milligrams (mg).

treating HIV in someone who hasn’t received treatment before, or in someone with HIV that’s undetectable after an initial treatment regimen of taking 400 mg of Isentress twice per dayone 400-mg tablet taken twice per day or two 600-mg tablets Isentress HD taken once per day
treating HIV in someone who’s received treatment beforeone 400-mg tablet taken twice per day
treating HIV in someone who’s taking Isentress along with rifampintwo 400-mg tablets taken twice per day

Keep reading for more details about the dosage of Isentress.

What are the forms of Isentress?

Isentress comes in several forms:

  • oral tablets (which are swallowed), including high dose tablets called Isentress HD
  • chewable tablets*
  • powder that you mix with water to make a liquid oral suspension*

* This form is typically prescribed for children.

What strengths does Isentress come in?

Isentress comes in several strengths:

  • oral tablets: 400 milligrams (mg)
  • Isentress HD oral tablets: 600 mg
  • chewable tablets: 25 mg and 100 mg
  • oral suspension powder: 100 mg in a single-use packet

What are the usual dosages of Isentress?

Your doctor will likely start you on a dosage of Isentress based on your age, body weight, and other factors.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for HIV

The typical Isentress dosage for adults depends on whether this is your first treatment or you’ve received treatment for HIV before.

  • Your dosage if you haven’t received HIV treatment before, or your HIV is undetectable after an initial treatment regimen of taking 400 mg of Isentress twice per day: either two 600-mg oral tablets of Isentress HD taken once per day or one 400-mg oral tablet taken twice per day
  • Your dosage if you’ve received HIV treatment before: one 400-mg oral tablet taken twice per day
  • Your dosage if you’re taking Isentress with rifampin: two 400-mg oral tablets taken twice per day

If you have questions about your dosage, talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more.

What’s the dosage of Isentress for children?

Isentress is used to treat HIV in children of any age weighing at least 2 kilograms (kg), which is about 4.4 pounds (lb). Your child’s weight will help determine what their dosage of Isentress will be.

For children who weigh at least 40 kg (about 88 lb), their dosage will also be based on whether they’ve received HIV treatment before. Children in this weight range may be prescribed the high dose tablets of Isentress (called Isentress HD) if they’re prescribed one dose per day.

If you have questions about the Isentress dosage that’s right for your child, talk with their doctor or a pharmacist.

Is Isentress used long term?

Yes, Isentress is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

The dosage of Isentress you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the severity of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
  • your age
  • the form of Isentress you’re prescribed
  • your body weight
  • other conditions you may have

Isentress is available as an oral tablet (which is swallowed), a chewable tablet, and a powder you mix with water to make a liquid oral suspension. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.

Your pharmacist can show you how to prepare the Isentress oral suspension. The drug manufacturer also provides step-by-step instructions.

You can take Isentress with or without food. But taking Isentress with food may help reduce nausea.

You should not cut, chew, or crush Isentress oral tablets. If you can’t swallow tablets, talk with your doctor about whether you could take the chewable tablets or liquid oral suspension.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Isentress, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Accessible drug containers and labels

Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print
  • use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

Let your pharmacist know if you have trouble opening medication bottles. They may have tips to help, or they may be able to supply Isentress in an easy-open container.

If you miss a dose of Isentress, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its usual time. If you’re not sure whether you should take a missed dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

It’s important to take your doses of Isentress exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may make it harder to treat your condition.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Isentress on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not take more Isentress than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to harmful effects.

What to do in case you take too much Isentress

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Isentress. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Isentress’s dosage.

How do the dosages for Isentress and Truvada compare?

The strengths and forms of Isentress and Truvada are different. They both come as tablets you swallow, but Isentress also comes as a chewable tablet and a liquid oral suspension (a type of liquid mixture).

Truvada is typically taken once per day, while Isentress may be taken once or twice per day. Your doctor will prescribe the drug and the dosage that’s right for you.

To learn more about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor.

How long does it take for Isentress to start working?

Isentress starts to work after your first dose. Because of how the drug works, you likely won’t feel the drug working in your body. But your doctor will monitor you during treatment to check whether the drug is working to treat your condition. It‘s important to take your doses per day as prescribed to help Isentress work effectively to treat HIV. Missing doses can make it harder to treat HIV.

If you have questions about what to expect from your Isentress treatment, talk with your doctor.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Isentress for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Isentress without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Isentress exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

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

  • How will we decide which form of Isentress is right for me?
  • Does my dosage affect my risk of side effects with Isentress?
  • How does the dosage of Isentress compare with that of Descovy?

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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.