Isentress can be part of your human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug regimen treatment plan with a prescription from your doctor. The active ingredient called Raltegravir is an integrase inhibitor that can help reduce the amount of the virus in your body (viral load) which will help stop the progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) as your immune system gains more strength.
The idea behind taking three or four HIV drugs at the same time is that the virus will have less of a chance to become resistant to one of the meds, and if it does succeed, you have back-up drugs on board to continue your quest to become stronger and carry on with your daily tasks, work, or school.
When taken as directed, Isentress blocks the action of an HIV viral enzyme called integrase. This enzyme is involved in the incorporation of the viral DNA into your DNA. Once this occurs, as your cells make new cells, they are actually producing new viruses. HIV usually prefers to hi-jack your T-helper cells because of the CD4 receptors on their surface. These cells are important to your immune system as a first-line defense for protection against bacteria and viruses.
As your immune system becomes suppressed, you are more susceptible to other infections. Taking Isentress along with other HIV drugs can decrease the virus in your body, but there is no cure for HIV. Caution must still be used to avoid passing the virus on to others.
HIV is a retrovirus which means that it needs to infect another cell in order for it to be able to grow and reproduce. Your HIV drug regimen usually includes medications that target specific stages of the virus as it grows and replicates. Should some of the new viruses mutate in such a way that they have become resistant to one or two of your medications, the other drugs can still work. Without diagnosis and treatment, your viral load increases and your immune system begins to deteriorate rapidly. This can eventually lead to AIDS, a medical condition prompted by HIV.
If you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding, inform your doctor right away. HIV and AIDS can be passed into breast milk, so you should not nurse your baby after birth. Discuss other medical conditions you have and any OTC or Rx medicine you are taking, including herbal remedies and vitamin supplements to ensure there will be no negative drug interactions with Isentress.
Remember that you can still infect others with HIV through the exposure to body fluids, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucus no matter what HIV medications you are taking. Set a reminder to refill your HIV meds before you run out completely. You should not skip doctor visits or lab tests! Your doctor wants to make certain Isentress and the other drugs are working as they should to reduce the amount of virus in your body so it’s essential that your doctor monitor your viral load.