The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir is utilized along with other medications to effectively manage human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Lopinavir and ritonavir belong to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors, functioning to reduce the levels of HIV in the bloodstream. When taken together, ritonavir enhances the concentration of lopinavir in the body, augmenting the medication’s therapeutic impact.
While lopinavir and ritonavir cannot cure HIV, they play a crucial role in diminishing the likelihood of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related complications, including severe infections or cancer. When coupled with safer sex practices and lifestyle modifications, these medications can also help minimize the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to others.
Uses and Dosage
The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir is available in tablet and liquid form for oral consumption. Typically, it is taken twice a day, but certain adults may take it once a day. The liquid solution must be taken with food, while the tablets can be taken with or without food.
Take lopinavir and ritonavir exactly as directed by your healthcare provider, avoiding any deviations in dosage—neither increasing nor decreasing the amount or frequency without medical guidance.
For the tablets, swallow them whole without splitting, chewing, or crushing.
When using the solution, shake it well before each use to ensure an even distribution of the medication. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose, rather than a regular household spoon.
Even if you feel well, continue taking lopinavir and ritonavir as prescribed. Do not discontinue the medication without consulting your doctor. Missing doses, taking less than the prescribed amount, or stopping the medication may complicate your condition and make it more challenging to treat.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- weight loss
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- muscle pain
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
- stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- stomach pain
- extreme tiredness
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- itchy skin
- irregular heartbeat
Before using this medication, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies, especially to lopinavir or ritonavir, or if you are allergic to any other substances. This product may contain inactive ingredients that could trigger allergic reactions or other issues.
Prior to initiating this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have a history of liver disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, high blood fat levels, heart problems, bleeding disorders, or if you have had previous infections with certain diseases (such as hepatitis B infection, hepatitis C infection, tuberculosis).
Lopinavir/ritonavir may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm, known as QT prolongation. In rare cases, QT prolongation can lead to serious (and rarely fatal) fast or irregular heartbeat, as well as other symptoms like severe dizziness and fainting that require immediate medical attention.
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase the risk of QT prolongation. This risk may be further increased if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics or “water pills”) or if you experience conditions like severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially with regards to QT prolongation (as mentioned above).
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. Proper treatment can reduce the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Since breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed while using this medication.
Form and Strength
Kaletra is available in the following forms and strengths:
Kaletra film-coated tablet:
lopinavir and ritonavir tablet:
Do you take Kaletra before or after food?
Kaletra is administered orally and should always be taken with food.
Can Kaletra tablets be crushed?
No, Kaletra tablets must be swallowed whole. They can’t be cut, chewed, or crushed.