Atazanavir (By mouth)


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

Treats human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine does not cure HIV or AIDS, but may slow the progress of the disease. This medicine is a protease inhibitor.

Brand Name(s)


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to atazanavir. Do not use this medicine together with alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), cisapride (Propulsid®), indinavir (Crixivan®), irinotecan (Camptosar®), lovastatin (Altocor®, Mevacor®), oral midazolam (Versed®), nevirapine (Viramune®), pimozide (Orap®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), salmeterol (Advair®, Serevent®) sildenafil (Revatio®), simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®), St John's wort, triazolam (Halcion®), or ergot medicines (such as dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, Cafergot®, D.H.E. 45®, Ergomar®, Ergostat®, Ergotrate®, Methergine®, Migranal®, or Wigraine®). This medicine should not be given to babies younger than 3 months of age.

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • 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.
  • If you also use didanosine (Videx®), take atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after you take didanosine.
  • If you use an antacid or buffered medicine, take it at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after you take atazanavir.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open or break it.
  • This medicine works best if there is a constant amount in the blood. Take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses. Contact your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time when your supply of this medicine runs low. Do not allow yourself to run out of this medicine.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If your next regular dose is less than 6 hours away, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • 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 when available. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you use other medicines to treat HIV or AIDS (such as efavirenz, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir, tenofovir, Invirase®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Sustiva®, Viramune®, or Viread®).
  • Tell your doctor if you also use bosentan (Tracleer®), buprenorphine or buprenorphine with naloxone (Buprex®, Suboxone®, or Subutex®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), colchicine (Colcrys®), cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®), fluticasone (Advair®, Flonase®, or Flovent®), midazolam given by injection, paclitaxel (Taxol®), repaglinide (Prandin®), rifabutin (Mycobutin®), salmeterol (Serevent®), sildenafil (Viagra®), sirolimus (Rapamune®), tacrolimus (Prograf®), tadalafil (Adcirca®, Cialis®), telaprevir (Incivek?), vardenafil (Levitra®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®), or birth control pills (such as Femhrt®, Loestrin®, Norinyl®, or Ortho-Novum®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, bepridil, lidocaine, quinidine, Cardioquin®, Cordarone®, Quinidex®, or Vascor®), medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, paroxetine, protriptyline, sertraline, trazodone, trimipramine, Desyrel®, Elavil®, Norpramin®, Paxil®, Sinequan®, Surmontil®, Tofranil®, Vivactil®, or Zoloft®), medicine to treat a fungus infection (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, Nizoral®, Sporanox®, or Vfend®), certain blood pressure medicines (such as diltiazem, felodipine, nicardipine, nifedipine, verapamil, Cardene®, Cardizem®, Covera-HS®, Isoptin SR®, Norvasc®, Plendil®, Procardia®, or Tiazac®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, Crestor®, or Lipitor®), or a stomach medicine (such as cimetidine, esomeprazole, famotidine, lansoprazole, nizatidine, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, ranitidine, Aciphex®, Axid®, Nexium®, Pepcid® AC, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Protonix®, Tagamet®, or Zantac®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including hepatitis B or C), diabetes, gallbladder problems, hemophilia, or autoimmune disorders (such as Graves disease or polymyositis). Tell your doctor if you also have a heart problem known as "heart block" or if you have ever had an abnormal EKG test of your heart. Tell your doctor if you are on a kidney dialysis.
  • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you might give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine will not keep you from giving HIV to your partner during sex. Make sure you understand and practice safe sex, even if your partner also has HIV. Do not share needles with anyone.
  • This medicine may raise your blood sugar. Tell your doctor if you have increased hunger or thirst, changes in how much you urinate, or unusual weight loss. Check with your doctor if you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests.
  • Your immune system may get stronger when you start taking HIV medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your health. Sometimes the immune system will start to fight infections that were hidden in your body, such as pneumonia, herpes, or tuberculosis.
  • This medicine may cause you to have changes in body fat. Tell your doctor if you notice an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck or around the chest and stomach area. You might also lose fat from the legs, arms, and face.
  • Birth control pills may not work as well while you use atazanavir. To avoid pregnancy, use an additional form of birth control together with your pills.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: blistering or peeling skin, chills, diarrhea, itching, joint or muscle pain, rash, red skin lesions, or sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips, or unusual tiredness or weakness. These could be symptoms of a serious allergic reaction to this medicine.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

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 the urine
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, difficult or painful urination
  • Chest pain or trouble breathing
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, or sore throat
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
  • Yellow skin or eyes

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

  • Headache
  • Mild skin 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 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

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