Ritonavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include liver problems, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), severe allergic reactions, heart rhythm problems, and life-threatening drug interactions.
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal liver problems:
Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal pancreatitis:
Contact your health care provider right away if you develop a rash. Stop taking ritonavir and get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms that may signal a severe allergic reaction:
Taking ritonavir with certain other medicines (including sedative hypnotics, antiarrhythmics, or ergot alkaloid preparations) may result in serious and/or life-threatening drug interactions. Before taking ritonavir, tell your health care provider about all medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
While taking ritonavir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.
Ritonavir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults and children older than age 1 month. Ritonavir is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.
Ritonavir belongs to a class (group) of HIV medicines called protease inhibitors (PIs). PIs block an HIV enzyme called protease. (An enzyme is a protein that starts or increases the speed of a chemical reaction.) By blocking protease, PIs prevent HIV from multiplying and can reduce the amount of HIV in the body.
Ritonavir does not cure HIV/AIDS. People with HIV should stay on continuous HIV treatment as directed by their health care provider and should take steps to avoid passing HIV to others (for example, always using a condom during sex).
Before taking ritonavir, tell your health care provider:
Ritonavir comes in the following forms and strengths:
Take ritonavir according to your health care provider’s instructions.
Take ritonavir with meals.
Swallow ritonavir tablets whole. Do not chew, break, or crush the tablets before swallowing.
Ritonavir oral solution is a peppermint- or caramel-flavored liquid that can be taken alone or combined with 8 ounces of chocolate milk, Ensure, or Advera to improve the taste. (When mixed with these fluids, ritonavir oral solution should be taken within 1 hour of mixing.) Always shake the oral solution well before each use.
Always take ritonavir in combination with other HIV medicines.
If you take too much ritonavir, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Ritonavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include liver problems, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), severe allergic reactions, heart rhythm problems, and life-threatening drug interactions. (See the WARNING above.)
Other possible side effects of ritonavir include:
Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of ritonavir. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for more information on possible side effects of ritonavir. You may also want to read this fact sheet about HIV medicines and side effects.
You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088).
More information about ritonavir is available:
Last Reviewed: March 25, 2014
Last Updated: March 25, 2014