Saquinavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include heart rhythm problems and worsening liver problems in people with pre-existing liver problems or a history of alcoholism.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that could be signs of liver problems:
Taking saquinavir together with certain medicines can cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.
Do not take saquinavir if you are taking cobicistat (brand name: Tybost).
While taking saquinavir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
Saquinavir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in people over 16 years of age. Saquinavir is always used in combination with the HIV medicine ritonavir (brand name: Norvir) and other HIV medicines.
Saquinavir belongs to a class (group) of HIV drugs called protease inhibitors (PIs). PIs block an HIV enzyme called protease. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking protease, PIs prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.
HIV medicines can’t cure HIV/AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, including saquinavir, don’t cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to.
Before taking saquinavir, tell your health care provider:
Saquinavir (brand name: Invirase) comes in the following forms and strengths:
(A 200-mg soft-gel capsule form of saquinavir was formerly sold under the brand name Fortovase. Sale of Fortovase was discontinued in February 2006.)
Take saquinavir according to your health care provider’s instructions.
Take saquinavir at the same time that you take the HIV medicine ritonavir (brand name: Norvir). Take saquinavir, along with ritonavir, with a full meal or up to 2 hours after a meal.
Always take saquinavir in combination with other HIV medicines.
If you are unable to swallow saquinavir capsules whole, the capsules can be opened and the contents mixed with 15 mL of sugar syrup or jam. People with type 1 diabetes or glucose intolerance should use sorbitol syrup.
If you take too much saquinavir, contact your health care provider or local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
For more information on how to take saquinavir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.)
If you miss a dose of saquinavir, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Saquinavir may cause side effects. Most side effects from saquinavir are manageable, but a few can be serious. Serious side effects of saquinavir include heart rhythm problems and worsening liver problems in people with pre-existing liver problems or a history of alcoholism. (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of saquinavir include:
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 saquinavir. To learn more about possible side effects of saquinavir, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.
The AIDSinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects also includes information that may apply to saquinavir.
You can also report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/.
More information about saquinavir is available:
Last Reviewed: May 24, 2016