AIDS Home > Isentress Warnings and Precautions

You should understand the potential risks before starting treatment with Isentress. Warnings and precautions include being aware that the drug may not be safe to take if you have certain allergies, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Before taking Isentress, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking (including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements).

Isentress: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Isentress® (raltegravir) if you:
  • Have any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives
  • Have phenylketonuria (PKU) 
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Isentress Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Isentress include the following:
  • Isentress should not be your only HIV medication; it should always be used in combination with other HIV drugs.
  • When you first start taking Isentress, your immune system starts to work better, which may cause you to react to infections that are already present in your body (before, your immune system may have been too weak to respond to the infections). You may find that you have infections you did not know you had.
  • Isentress is not a cure for HIV or AIDS. If you have HIV or AIDS, you should always use safer sex practices, whether or not you are taking medications.
  • As with all HIV medications, it is important that you take Isentress exactly as prescribed. Missing doses may increase the chance of the virus becoming resistant to HIV medications.


  • Isentress chewable tablets (but not the regular tablets) contain phenylalanine, which is important to know for people with phenylketonuria, who must limit their phenylalanine intake. 


  • Isentress can interact with a number of different medications (see Isentress Drug Interactions).
  • Isentress is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Isentress and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Isentress passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Isentress and Breastfeeding). It is important to understand that the HIV virus can be transmitted through breast milk and that breastfeeding is usually not recommended in women who have HIV or AIDS.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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