This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
- You will be tested for hepatitis B before starting this drug. In people who have had hepatitis B or carry the virus, the virus has become active again during or after treatment with drugs like this one. This can lead to severe and sometimes deadly liver problems. People with hepatitis B and hepatitis C will be watched closely during and after treatment.
- It is used to treat hepatitis C infection.
- This drug may be used with ribavirin. If you are also taking ribavirin, talk with the doctor about the risks and side effects that may happen.
- If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have ever had liver problems other than hepatitis C.
- If you have had a severe skin reaction after taking ritonavir.
- If you are taking a drug that contains ethinyl estradiol, like certain birth control pills. Do not take a drug that contains ethinyl estradiol while taking this drug and for some time after stopping this drug. Your doctor will tell you when you can start taking a drug that contains ethinyl estradiol again after stopping this drug.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with this drug, like certain drugs that are used for high cholesterol, HIV, or seizures. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
This drug interacts with many other drugs. The chance of severe, life-threatening, or deadly side effects may be raised. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- It is not known if this drug stops the spread of diseases like hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
- Drugs that contain ethinyl estradiol, like certain birth control pills, must not be used with this drug. If you use a birth control that contains ethinyl estradiol, you will need to use another type of birth control. This may include a progestin-only birth control or condoms. You will need to do this while taking this drug and for about 2 weeks after you stop taking it. Talk with the doctor.
- If you have HIV infection, talk with your doctor.
- If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Mood changes.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this drug. Some people have needed a liver transplant. These problems most often happened within 1 to 4 weeks of starting treatment. Most people who have had them already had liver problems before starting this drug. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired or weak, change in thinking clearly and with logic, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, stomach swelling, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- A severe skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause severe health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Dizziness or headache.
- Muscle or joint pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with a meal.
- Take this drug at the same time of day.
- Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- It is important that you do not miss or skip a dose of this drug during treatment.
- Do not take this drug out of the blister pack until you are ready to take it. Take this drug right away after opening the blister pack. Do not store the removed drug for future use.
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.
- Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- This drug comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time this drug is refilled. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
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