AIDS Home > Prezista

Prezista is a medication that is often prescribed in combination with ritonavir for the treatment of HIV and AIDS. When used as part of an HIV "cocktail," the medicine can help stop the virus from multiplying and infecting healthy cells in the body. Prezista comes in tablet form and is usually taken twice daily. Potential side effects include diarrhea, headaches, and vomiting.

What Is Prezista?

Prezista™ (darunavir ethanolate) is a prescription medicine used as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. It should always be combined with ritonavir (Norvir®), another medication that makes Prezista work better. This drug is only approved for use with ritonavir plus other HIV or AIDS medications (it is not approved to be used alone).
 
(Click Prezista Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

Prezista is made by Ortho Biotech Products.
 

How Does the Medication Work?

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.
 
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 it uses to make new 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.
 
As a protease inhibitor, Prezista 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. This medicine 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.
 
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.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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