Atazanavir (By mouth)


Atazanavir (a-ta-ZAN-a-vir)

Treats HIV infection. HIV causes AIDS. This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but may help slow the progress of the disease.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Powder

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Atazanavir is used together with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Take all of the medicines your doctor has prescribed at the right time of day and in the correct order. Do not stop using your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open it.
  • Mix oral powder with food or a beverage as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • This medicine works best if you take it at the same time each day and do not miss any doses. Refill your prescription on time so you do not run out of medicine.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If your next regular dose is less than 6 hours away, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not double doses.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Dispose any unused medicine in a closed container in the trash or take it to a community take-back program.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine together with St John's wort, alfuzosin, cisapride, indinavir, irinotecan, lovastatin, oral midazolam, nevirapine, pimozide, rifampin, salmeterol, sildenafil, simvastatin, triazolam, or ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine).
  • Some medicines can affect how atazanavir works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Bosentan, buprenorphine, buprenorphine/naloxone, clarithromycin, colchicine, cyclosporine, fluticasone, midazolam given by injection, paclitaxel, repaglinide, rifabutin, salmeterol, sildenafil, sirolimus, tacrolimus, tadalafil, telaprevir, or vardenafil
    • A blood thinner (such as warfarin), birth control pills, other medicines to treat HIV or AIDS (such as efavirenz, ritonavir, saquinavir, tenofovir), stomach or heartburn medicines, medicine for heart rhythm problems, medicine to treat depression, medicine to treat a fungal infection, blood pressure medicine, or medicine to lower cholesterol
  • If you are also using antacids or didanosine, take atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after you take these medicines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis B or C), heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder problems, phenylketonuria, or hemophilia.
  • Do not breastfeed. You can spread HIV or AIDS to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Heart rhythm problems
    • Liver problems
    • Increased risk of kidney stones or gallstones
    • Changes in body fat
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to others. Always practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles or other items that may have blood or body fluids on them.
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Blood in your urine, difficult or painful urination
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat
  • Increased hunger or thirst, change in how much or how often you urinate, unusual weight loss
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Mild rash
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 7/4/2015

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