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Norvir or generic Ritonavir is known as a protease inhibitor (PI) and is one of the medications your doctor may prescribe to help treat the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV. This is a retrovirus, which means that it needs to find cells that have a certain protein on their surface in order to multiply and make new viruses. The CD4 cell is their target and once they bind to this cell, they inject their own viral DNA material so when the cells replicate, they are actually producing a new virus. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Norvir’s job is to stop the virus from replicating by blocking the action of the enzyme called protease that HIV need to begin copying themselves. HIV therapy consists of taking three or four antiviral drugs so if the virus manages to become resistant to one or more of them, there are still drugs working in your body that will decrease your viral load. Regular blood tests can reveal how well your drug combinations are killing the virus by showing a rise or fall in your CD4 cells.
The purpose of treating HIV with Norvir and other antiviral drugs is to stop the virus from infecting too many CD4 cells, also called T-cells. If too many of these cells are destroyed by this virus, your immune system will become seriously impaired and unable to protect you from other infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, cryptococcosis, or cytomegalovirus, to name a few.
These opportunistic infections are difficult to fight off with a decrease in CD4 cells. Your course of drug therapy is designed to slow down the virus’ ability to multiply so your immune system is able to recover enough to stop other infections from occurring. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, only treatments that can allow you to enjoy a healthier life for many more years.
Before taking Norvir, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of diabetes, heart problems, hemophilia, high cholesterol/triglycerides, liver problems, and pancreatitis. If you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, inform your doctor before taking Norvir as it may cause harm to your unborn or nursing baby.
Taking Norvir or other HIV drugs does not protect you from transmitting this virus to others so talk to your doctor about the best ways to stay safe for everyone you have contact with. Provide a list of all OTC and Rx medications you take or use, including herbal remedies and vitamin supplements to avoid a negative reaction. Contraceptive pills and/or devices may be recommended to prevent an unplanned pregnancy during your course of therapy.