Atazanavir can cause serious side effects. These include heart rhythm problems, severe rash, liver problems, and life-threatening drug interactions.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal heart rhythm problems:
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms combined with a rash:
- Shortness of breath.
- General ill feeling or “flu-like” symptoms.
- Muscle or joint aches.
- Red or inflamed eyes, like “pink eye” (conjunctivitis).
- Mouth sores.
- Swelling of the face.
In people with existing liver problems, including infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV), atazanavir can cause worsening of liver problems.
While taking atazanavir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
What is atazanavir?
Atazanavir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children 6 years of age and older. Atazanavir is always used in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
Atazanavir is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a protease inhibitor (PI). Atazanavir works by blocking protease, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.
Atazanavir does not cure HIV/AIDS. It is not known if atazanavir reduces the risk of passing HIV to other people.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking atazanavir?
Before taking atazanavir, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to atazanavir or any other medicines.
- If you have liver problems or are infected with HBV or HCV.
- If you have end-stage kidney disease that is managed with hemodialysis.
- If you have diabetes.
- If you have hemophilia.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether atazanavir can harm an unborn baby is unknown.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking atazanavir.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Atazanavir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines and products may affect how atazanavir works. Taking atazanavir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
How should I take atazanavir?
Atazanavir comes in the following four strengths:
- 100-mg capsules (brand name: Reyataz).
- 150-mg capsules (brand name: Reyataz).
- 200-mg capsules (brand name: Reyataz).
- 300-mg capsules (brand name: Reyataz).
Take atazanavir according to your health care provider’s instructions.
Take atazanavir with food. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not open the capsules.
If you are taking antacids or the anti-HIV medicine didanosine (brand name: Videx or Videx EC), take atazanavir 2 hours before or 1 hour after you take these medicines.
If you are taking medicine for indigestion, heartburn, or ulcers, talk to your health care provider.
Always take atazanavir in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.
If you take too much atazanavir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
For more information on how to take atazanavir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and then take your next scheduled dose at its regular time. But if your next scheduled dose is within 6 hours, do not take the missed dose. Wait and take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can atazanavir cause?
Atazanavir can cause severe side effects. These include heart rhythm problems, severe rash, liver problems, and life-threatening drug interactions. (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of atazanavir include:
- Mild rash (redness and itching).
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, caused by high levels of bilirubin. Notify your health care provider if you have this side effect.
- Diabetes and high blood sugar.
- Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).
- Changes in the immune system (immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome).
- Increased bleeding in people with hemophilia.
- Gallbladder problems, including gallstones and gallbladder inflammation.
- Kidney stones. Contact your health care provider if you have pain in the middle-to-lower stomach or back area, blood in the urine, or pain when urinating.
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of atazanavir. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of atazanavir.
How should atazanavir be stored?
- Store atazanavir at room temperature, 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- Do not store atazanavir in a damp place, such as a bathroom medicine cabinet or near the kitchen sink.
- Keep atazanavir in a tightly closed container.
- Safely throw away atazanavir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
- Keep atazanavir and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about atazanavir?
More information about atazanavir is available:
Last Reviewed: September 13, 2012
Last Updated: August 23, 2013