Kaletra or generic Ritonavir/Lopinavir is a combination drug prescribed to treat the human immunodeficiency virus, otherwise known as HIV. There is no cure for HIV, but Kaletra is one of a number of medications that lower the amount of virus in the body, help the immune system to recover, and therefore slow down or stop the progression of the disease from HIV to AIDS. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Lopinavir is a protease inhibitor that stops the virus from taking up the protease enzyme which it needs to cut the HIV proteins into smaller pieces before they can become active and infectious. Ritonavir is added to Kaletra to help boost the effects of Lopinavir. Your doctor may also recommend adding other HIV drugs to help fight the virus at different growth stages so your viral load and symptoms are reduced.
HIV attacks the T-cells in your immune system which makes you very susceptible to other opportunistic infections. T-cells are a type of white blood cell that contribute to your immune defenses by regulating and directing your immune responses to threats or injury as well as directly attacking infected and cancerous cells. However, no amount of medication or T-cells can protect you from passing HIV on to others.
Educate your family and friends about how HIV is transmitted; the more people know, the less chance people have of contracting it. As more people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral medications, new infections have declined significantly.
Provide a list of all Rx medications and OTC drugs you are taking, including herbal potions and vitamin supplements, as some may interact negatively with Kaletra or cause a change in its efficacy. Tell your doctor about other health conditions you have that may prevent you from taking Kaletra safely, or if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding.
Kaletra can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives so talk to your doctor about any safe alternative methods for birth control for both partners in a marriage or sexual relationship. This is essential so the virus cannot be passed on to either partner or a baby. Until you know how Kaletra will affect you, you should not drive or take part in any activities that require you to be alert.