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Pronounced: cuh-LEE-tra
Generic ingredients: Lopinavir, Ritonavir

Why is this drug prescribed: Kaletra combats the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the deadly virus that undermines the infection-fighting capacity of the body's immune system, eventually leading to AIDS. Kaletra is a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir (Norvir), both of which fall into the drug category known as protease inhibitors. When taken along with other HIV drugs, Kaletra lowers the amount of the virus circulating in the bloodstream. However, it does not completely eradicate the virus, and you may continue to develop the rare infections that attack when the immune system weakens. It's also important to remember that Kaletra does not eliminate the danger of transmitting the virus to others.

Most important fact about this drug: Combining Kaletra with certain other medications can cause serious, even life-threatening, reactions. Never take Kaletra with the following: Flecainide (Tambocor) Midazolam (Versed) Migraine remedies based on ergot, including Cafergot, D.H.E. 45, Methergine, Migranal, and Wigraine Pimozide (Orap) Propafenone (Rythmol) Triazolam (Halcion)

How should you take this medication: Kaletra is used in combination with other HIV drugs. It should be taken twice a day, in the morning and evening, with food. Do not change the dose or discontinue therapy without consulting your doctor first. If your doctor has also prescribed Videx (didanosine), you must take Kaletra one hour before or two hours after Videx. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your normal schedule. Never double a dose. --Storage instructions... If Kaletra capsules and Kaletra oral solution are kept in the refrigerator, they can be used until the expiration date imprinted on the bottle. If they are stored at room temperature, they should be used within 2 months of opening. Avoid exposing the medication to excessive heat.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Kaletra. More common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, abnormal stools, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, nausea, pain, rash, vomiting, weakness Less common side effects may include: Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation, abnormal thinking, abnormal urine, abnormal vision, acne, agitation, alterations in taste sensation, amnesia, anemia, anxiety, appetite changes, back pain, benign skin growth, blood clots, bloody diarrhea, boils, breast growth in males, bronchitis, burping, chest pain, chills, confusion, constipation, decreased sex drive, dehydration, depression, diabetes, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, digestive problems, disorders of the nervous system, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, dry skin, ear infection, eczema, enlarged abdomen, eye disorders, facial swelling or paralysis, fever, flu-like symptoms, gallbladder disorders, gas, general feeling of illness, hair loss, inability to control bowels, increased appetite, indigestion, inflammations in the digestive tract, inflamed and peeling skin, insomnia, itching, joint aches, joint disorders, kidney stones, lack of muscle coordination, mental changes, migraines, moon face, mouth inflammation and sores, movement disorders, muscle aches, nail disorders, nervousness, palpitations, prickly or burning feeling, ringing in the ears, runny nose, seborrhea, sinus problems, skin discoloration, skin ulcer, stomach upset, sweating, swollen arms and legs, swollen lungs, thyroid dysfunction, tremor, unstable emotions, varicose veins, vein inflammation, viral infection, weight gain or loss

Why should this drug not be prescribed: You will not be able to use Kaletra if you prove to be allergic to either lopinavir or ritonavir. Remember, too, that Kaletra must never be combined with drugs listed under "The most important fact about this drug."

Special warnings about this medication: In some patients Kaletra causes a substantial increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, so the doctor will check yours periodically. High triglycerides can lead to a serious condition called pancreatitis. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms of this problem, such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Kaletra has been known to raise blood sugar levels, and can even cause diabetes. If you already have diabetes, be sure to monitor your blood sugar carefully and to notify your doctor if your blood sugar becomes difficult to control. Liver failure, including some fatalities, has been reported among patients on Kaletra. Be sure your doctor knows if you have a history of liver disease, including hepatitis. You will need to be monitored carefully. Some patients taking HIV medications find that their body fat gets redistributed. They may develop a fatty "buffalo hump" on their upper back, suffer breast enlargement, and gain weight in the abdomen. At the same time, they often lose weight in the face, arms, and legs. During treatment with drugs similar to Kaletra, some patients with hemophilia have experienced increased bleeding.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: Kaletra interacts with a wide variety of other medications. Be careful to avoid combining it with any of the drugs listed under "Most important fact about this drug." Also be especially careful when taking Viagra. Kaletra can increase this drug's side effects, and has been known to cause potentially damaging erections that last for more than 4 hours. If this happens to you, call your doctor immediately. Kaletra also decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills. Check with your doctor about additional contraceptive measures you may want to take while using Kaletra. Listed below are some of the other drugs that may interact with Kaletra. However, because interactions are so likely, it's best to check with your doctor before combining Kaletra with any medication, including over-the-counter products and herbal remedies. Anticonvulsants such as Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Tegretol Antifungals such as Nizoral and Sporanox Atovaquone (Mepron) Certain cholesterol-lowering agents, including Lipitor, Mevacor, and Zocor Certain HIV drugs such as Sustiva, Videx, Viramune Clarithromycin (Biaxin) Dexamethasone (Decadron) Disulfuram (Antabuse) Drugs used to treat heart arrhythmias, such as Cordarone, Lidocaine, Quinidex, Rhythmol Drugs used to treat tuberculosis, such as Mycobutin, Rifadin, Rifater Heart medications such as Adalat, Cardene, Plendil, Procardia Immunosuppressants such as Neoral and Prograf Methadone Metronidazole (Flagyl) St. John's Wort (also called hypericum perforatum) Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Kaletra has not been studied in pregnant women and should be used only if the potential benefit to the mother outweighs the possible risk to the developing baby. HIV can be passed to your baby in breast milk, so breastfeeding is not advised.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Kaletra Capsules The usual dose is 3 capsules twice daily with food. The dose may be increased to 4 capsules twice daily if Kaletra is used in conjunction with Sustiva or Viramune. Kaletra Oral Solution Take 5 milliliters (1 teaspoonful) twice daily with food. The dose may be increased to 6.5 milliliters twice daily if Kaletra is used in conjunction with Sustiva or Viramune. CHILDREN: Aged 6 Months to 12 Years The dose of Kaletra for children is based on body weight. It should be taken twice a day with food and should be administered using a calibrated dosing syringe. The dose may be increased if the child is also taking Sustiva or Viramune.

Overdosage: Little is known about Kaletra overdose. Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Kaletra oral solution contains a high percentage of alcohol, which could be dangerous to a young child. If a child swallows more than the recommended dose, contact your local poison control center immediately.

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