) is a prescription medication approved to treat HIV
. It should always be combined with ritonavir
), another medication that makes Aptivus work better.
It is only approved to be used with ritonavir plus other HIV or AIDS medications (as part of an HIV "cocktail"). Aptivus (plus ritonavir) is usually recommended for people who have tried other medications for HIV without success.
Aptivus is made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Aptivus belongs to a group of HIV medications known as protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Like other viruses, it must use a person's own cells to reproduce. Once inside an infected cell, the HIV virus uses the cell to make DNA, which enables it to make new HIV viruses that can spread to other cells. The DNA is made in long strands that must be clipped into shorter, usable strands using enzymes called proteases.
Aptivus is a protease inhibitor, which means that it stops protease enzymes from clipping DNA into short strands. Since the long, unclipped DNA strands cannot be used to make new viruses, this helps stop the spread of HIV to uninfected cells. It is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, however. It can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, but it does not help cells that have already been infected.
Aptivus is always used in combination with ritonavir. Ritonavir increases the level of Aptivus in the blood, helping it work better. This is known as "boosting." Ritonavir is used to boost several different HIV medications.