Atazanavir is indicated to help control HIV infections in infants and children. This is known as protease inhibitors that help reduce the amount of HIV in the body. It is to help your child’s immune system work well. Atazanavir lowers the chance of getting HIV complications and improves your child’s quality of life.
HIV infection harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight the infection. This infection most frequently spreads through unprotected sex with a person who has HIV. It may also spread through sharing drug needles or by contact with the blood of a person who has HIV. During pregnancy or childbirth, women can give it to their babies. HIV destroys CD4 T cells. It is white blood cells that play a large role in helping your body fight disease. The weaker your immune system becomes when you have fewer CD4 T cells. Before it turns into AIDS you can have an HIV infection for years. AIDS is established when the CD4 T cells count falls lower than 200 or if you have an AIDS-defining problem. As the virus continues to multiply and destroy your immune cells. You may develop signs and symptoms such as:
- Swollen lymph nodes frequently one of the first signs of HIV infections
- Weight loss
- Oral yeast infection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication. This is supplied as a capsule for oral use. Each is available in the dosage strengths of 150 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg.
How does Atazanavir work?
There is no cure for HIV but Atazanavir is one of the medications that lower the amount of virus in the body. This helps the immune system to recover and slow down or stop the progression of the disease for HIV to AIDS. Atazanavir is usually used in combination with other certain HIV medications. It is to slow the breakdown of Atazanavir by the liver which makes it stay in the body for longer. This boosts its level in the blood and effects against the virus.
A combination of several anti-HIV medications is necessary to fight HIV. It is because the virus turns out to be resistant to one agent very fast. This is known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) or combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Atazanavir boosted with other anti-HIV drugs that attack HIV in different ways. This decreases the ability of the virus to replicate and multiply. This also helps prevent it from becoming resistant to treatment.
How to use Atazanavir?
Atazanavir is to be taken as directed by your doctor. Give this medication to your child usually once a day. Open the packet and mix its contents with food. If your child cannot eat solid food, this medication may be mixed with a liquid such as milk or water. If your child is younger than 6 months and cannot eat solid food, give it to your child using an oral syringe. Give the dose within an hour after mixing with food or liquid. For the best effect, take this at evenly spaced times.
Remember to take it in the same way each day. Let your doctor know if the condition of your child does not improve or if it gets worse. The recommended starting dose of this medication depends on medical condition and response to the treatment. Each dose must be taken in the right dose, not more or less. This medication should not suddenly stop without the consent of your doctor. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition.
What are the side effects of Atazanavir?
Common side effects:
- Stomach pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Numbness or burning pain in your hands or feet
- Changes in the shape or location of body fat especially in your legs, arms, neck, face, waist, or breast.
Let your doctor right away if you have these serious side effects such as:
- Persistent muscle aches or weakness
- Unexplained weight loss
- Severe tiredness
- Joint pain
- Vision changes
- Severe headaches
- Signs of infection (chills, trouble breathing, fever, or cough)
- Signs of an overactive thyroid (heat intolerance, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, irritability, or unusual growth in the neck)
- Yellowing eyes or skin
- Signs of certain nerve problems
- Increased thirst
- Signs of a kidney stone (painful urination, blood in the urine, pain in the back, side, or abdomen)
Call for medical emergency assistance right away if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling in your lips, face, throat, or tongue
- A severe skin reaction (skin pain, burning in your eyes, red or purple skin that spreads and causes blistering and peeling)
Warnings and Precautions
- Before using Atazanavir, let your doctor know if you ever had an allergic reaction to it. Tell as well if you have any allergies. This product may have an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
- If you have any medical history especially of liver problems, kidney problems, heart problems, or a certain bleeding problem tell it to your doctor right away.
- Atazanavir may increase the level of cholesterol and fats in the blood. HIV infection can also cause this effect. This could increase your child’s risk for heart problems. Inform your doctor if your child has heart problems or other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications including herbal supplements or vitamins.
- This form of Atazanavir is not usually recommended for use in adults. This should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- People taking this medicine may gain weight and may also experience increases in the levels of sugar in their blood.
- This is not recommended for use in people having hemodialysis for kidney failure.
- Under six years of age, this is not to be given because its safety and effectiveness have not been studied yet.
- Do not use this for the treatment of other disease.
- Keep this at room temperature, far from heat, moisture, and reach of children.