Brand names: Kaletra
Kaletra combats the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the deadly virus that undermines the infection-fighting capacity of the body's immune system, eventually leading to AIDS.
Kaletra is a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, both of which fall into the drug category known as protease inhibitors. When taken along with other HIV drugs, Kaletra lowers the amount of the virus circulating in the bloodstream. However, it does not completely eradicate the virus, and you may continue to develop the rare infections that attack when the immune system weakens. It's also important to remember that Kaletra does not eliminate the danger of transmitting the virus to others.
Combining Kaletra with certain other medications can cause serious, even life-threatening, reactions. Never take Kaletra with the following:FlecainideMidazolamMigraine remedies based on ergot, including dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, and methylergonovinePimozidePropafenoneTriazolam
Kaletra is used in combination with other HIV drugs. It should be taken twice a day, in the morning and evening, with food. Do not change the dose or discontinue therapy without consulting your doctor first.
If your doctor has also prescribed didanosine, you must take Kaletra one hour before or two hours after didanosine.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Kaletra.
You will not be able to use Kaletra if you prove to be allergic to either lopinavir or ritonavir. Remember, too, that Kaletra must never be combined with drugs listed under "The most important fact about Lopinavir, Ritonavir."
In some patients Kaletra causes a substantial increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, so the doctor will check yours periodically. High triglycerides can lead to a serious condition called pancreatitis. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms of this problem, such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Kaletra has been known to raise blood sugar levels, and can even cause diabetes. If you already have diabetes, be sure to monitor your blood sugar carefully and to notify your doctor if your blood sugar becomes difficult to control.
After beginning treatment with Kaletra, your immune system may have an inflammatory response to other infections in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop new or unusual symptoms.
Kaletra has been shown to slightly increase the risk of developing benign and malignant tumors.
Liver failure, including some fatalities, has been reported among patients on Kaletra. Be sure your doctor knows if you have a history of liver disease, including hepatitis. You will need to be monitored carefully.
Some patients taking HIV medications find that their body fat gets redistributed. They may develop a fatty "buffalo hump" on their upper back, suffer breast enlargement, and gain weight in the abdomen. At the same time, they often lose weight in the face, arms, and legs.
During treatment with drugs similar to Kaletra, some patients with hemophilia have experienced increased bleeding.
Kaletra interacts with a wide variety of other medications. Be careful to avoid combining it with any of the drugs listed under "Most important fact about Lopinavir, Ritonavir." Also be especially careful when taking Viagra. Kaletra can increase Lopinavir, Ritonavir's side effects, and has been known to cause potentially damaging erections that last for more than 4 hours. If this happens to you, call your doctor immediately.
Kaletra also decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills. Check with your doctor about additional contraceptive measures you may want to take while using Kaletra.
Listed below are some of the other drugs that may interact with Kaletra. However, because interactions are so likely, it's best to check with your doctor before combining Kaletra with any medication, including over-the-counter products and herbal remedies.Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoinAntifungals such as itraconazole and ketoconazoleAtovaquoneCertain cholesterol-lowering agents, including atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatinCertain HIV drugs such as didanosine, efavirenz, nevirapineClarithromycinDexamethasoneDisulfuramDrugs used to treat heart arrhythmias, such as amiodarone, lidocaine, and quinidineDrugs used to treat tuberculosis, such as rifabutin and rifampinFosamprenavirHeart medications such as felodipine, nicardipine, and nifedipineImmunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and tacrolimusMethadoneMetronidazoleSt. John's wortWarfarin
Kaletra has not been studied in pregnant women and should be used only if the potential benefit to the mother outweighs the possible risk to the developing baby.
HIV can be passed to your baby in breast milk, so breastfeeding is not advised.
The usual dose is 3 capsules twice daily with food. The dose may be increased to 4 capsules twice daily if Kaletra is used in conjunction with efavirenz or nevirapine.
Kaletra Oral Solution
Take 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) twice daily with food. The dose may be increased to 6.5 milliliters twice daily if Kaletra is used in conjunction with efavirenz or nevirapine.
Aged 6 Months to 12 Years
The dose of Kaletra for children is based on body weight. It should be taken twice a day with food and should be administered using a calibrated dosing syringe. The dose may be increased if the child is also taking efavirenz or nevirapine.
Little is known about Kaletra overdose. Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Kaletra oral solution contains a high percentage of alcohol, which could be dangerous to a young child. If a child swallows more than the recommended dose, contact your local poison control center immediately.