Crixivan is a prescription drug that is often used as part of an HIV "cocktail" to treat HIV and AIDS. It can help stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but it is not a cure for the virus. The medicine comes in capsule form and is usually taken three times a day. Potential side effects include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Crixivan is part of a group of HIV medications known as protease inhibitors. These medicines 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, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. Once inside an infected cell, the HIV virus uses the cell to make DNA (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.
Crixivan 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 other uninfected cells.
Crixivan is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. It can help stop HIV from infecting uninfected cells in the body, but it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 1, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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