Prezista is a brand name for the generic drug darunavir. Darunavir is a medication that prevents replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the body. It is an antiviral medication classified as a protease inhibitor.A doctor usually prescribes this medication as part of combination therapy for a patient with HIV infection to prevent the infection from progressing to full-blown acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This is not a cure for the disease and will not prevent a patient from spreading it to others.
This drug is in the second generation of protease inhibitors. Before starting darunavir, it is important to go over all current medications, including herbal preparations and over-the-counter drugs. A doctor can check for harmful drug interactions and adjust the patient’s drug regimen as needed. This drug can interact negatively with other drugs, and some medications may make it less effective. Patients on this drug may also find it helpful to carry around an informational card discussing current medications and their dosages, so doctors can take this information into account when providing treatment.
The drug is available in the form of a tablet intended to be swallowed whole. Patients must not break, crush, or chew the tablet. Dosages should be taken at the same time each day to maintain constant levels of the drug in the body. Typically, the physician will prescribe one to two doses daily, which must be taken with a meal and a full glass of water or milk. The patient should not take Prezista exclusively. It is essential for the patient to take ritonavir and the other HIV medication along with Prezista. It is also essential for the patient to avoid skipping doses or discontinuing the medication without the doctor’s approval — doing so can make the HIV infection much more difficult to control.
Many patients tolerate darunavir therapy very well. Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset, rash, changes in distribution of body fat, and headaches. Depending on the drug cocktail a patient uses to manage HIV infection, other side effects may occur as well.Patients taking the drug must discuss all other medications and supplements they take with their doctors. This drug should never be taken with St. John’s wort.
People taking darunavir are still infectious and need to take precautions to protect other people. This is especially important for emergency services personnel like firefighters, police officers, and paramedics. Health care providers should be made aware of HIV infection so they can exercise precautions, especially when the patient is bleeding.