AIDS Home > Norvir

Norvir is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of HIV and AIDS. It is often used to "boost" the level of other HIV medications in the blood to make them more effective. Norvir comes in capsule, tablet, and oral solution form, and is usually taken twice daily. Some of the potential side effects include vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and nausea.

What Is Norvir?

Norvir® (ritonavir) is a prescription medicine that is used as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. It is always used in combination with other HIV medications. In fact, it is currently used most often to "boost" other HIV medications to increase the level of other HIV medications in the blood, making them more effective.
(Click Norvir Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Norvir?

Norvir is made by Abbott Laboratories.

How Does It Work?

Norvir 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, 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.
Norvir 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. Norvir 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 with the virus.
Norvir increases the level of several other HIV medications in the blood. In fact, it is most often used for this purpose, not for its antiviral activities. This is known as "boosting." Norvir is usually used to boost other HIV medications, increasing the level of other HIV medications in the blood and making them more effective.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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