Whether you are newly diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or you are already undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART), Tivicay may be prescribed as part of your drug regimen to reduce the amount of virus that is in your body (viral load).
The active ingredient of Tivicay is Dolutegravir, an integrase inhibitor that will be taken along with up to three other HIV drugs. There is no cure for HIV, but the treatment with several medications at once can help interfere with different stages of the virus in order to decrease their numbers and allow you to carry on with your life for many enjoyable years.
In order to interfere with the virus’ integration so it can make more viruses, Tivicay works to block the viral enzyme called integrase so the virus’ genetic material cannot be inserted into the DNA of the host cell and replicated. The other HIV drugs you take with Tivicay will inhibit other stages of the virus as well which helps increase your white blood cell count and help boost your immune system.
The HIV drug regimen must continue as instructed or the virus can mutate and become resistant to one or more of the drugs you are taking. This is why HIV treatment usually consists of 3 or 4 drugs combined so if there is a mutation, you are still effectively decreasing the viral load with any remaining HIV drugs.
HIV is known as a retrovirus, which means that it needs to hi-jack cells from a host so it can multiply. CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that HIV chooses to aid in their replication. The virus attaches, enters, and infects the CD4 cells. By inserting their own DNA into the CD4 cells’ DNA, when it’s time to make a new cell, it is actually a new virus which attaches, enters, and infects more cells. Your white blood cells are your body’s first line of defense when there is a threat to your body. But as the HIV takes over more and more of them, your immune system is compromised and you are vulnerable to infection.
You are still able to pass on the HIV infection while you are taking medications because you will never be able to eradicate the virus completely. Your blood and body fluids, including semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and rectal mucous still carry HIV so consult with your doctor about precautions you need to take to keep your partner, spouse, children, and others safe.
Ask your doctor about the safety of taking Tivicay if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding. To determine if Tivicay is right for part of your HIV regimen, explain other medical conditions or allergies you have to your doctor and list any OTC or Rx drugs you currently take, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements.
Tivicay is not to be given to children who under the age of 12 years and weigh less than 88 lbs. Do not share any medications with others, even if they have the same symptoms. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of any medications you take without consulting with your doctor first as this could affect your viral load and cause a decline of your CD4 cells.