AIDS Home > More Info on Prezista Indications
Prezista 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.
Like other viruses, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. Once inside an infected cell, the 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.
Prezista 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. Prezista 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.
Prezista is always used in combination with ritonavir. Ritonavir increases the level of Prezista in the blood, helping it to work better. This is known as "boosting." Ritonavir is used to boost several different HIV medications.
Prezista is approved for use in children as young as three years old. It comes in a liquid form, which can be helpful for children unable to swallow tablets.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Prezista for treating something other than HIV infection and AIDS. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, Prezista is used off-label to prevent HIV infection in people exposed to the HIV virus (such as a healthcare worker who comes in contact with a contaminated needle stick). This is called postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).