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AIDSinfo Drug Database

AIDSinfo Drug Database

Drugs by class



Indinavir  Audio icon

Brand Name: Crixivan
Other Names: IDV, indinavir sulfate
Drug Class: Protease Inhibitors
Approved Use: Treatment of HIV Infection
Drug Images:
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Indinavir 400
Indinavir 200
Chemical Image:
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indinavir sulfate
indinavir sulfate
Molecular Weight: 711.876


Indinavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include kidney problems, rapid breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), and possibly liver problems.

Contact your health care provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Skin reactions, including rash, hives, itching, and peeling or blistering of your skin. 
  • Back pain.
  • Pain in the side of your body.
  • Pain the middle to lower part of your stomach.
  • Blood in urine.
  • Muscle pain or weakness.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Excessive tiredness.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Pain in the upper right part of your stomach.
  • Flu-like symptoms.
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Paleness.

While taking indinavir, it is important to keep all of your appointments with your health care provider.

What is indinavir?

Indinavir is a prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of HIV infection in adults. Indinavir is always used in combination with other HIV medicines.

Indinavir belongs to a class (group) of HIV drugs 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.Indinavir is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a protease inhibitor (PI). Indinavir works by blocking protease, an HIV enzyme. This prevents HIV from replicating and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood.

HIV medicines can’t cure HIV/AIDS, but taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV treatment regimen) every day helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV medicines also reduce the risk of HIV transmission. If you are taking HIV medicines, including indinavir, don’t cut down on, skip, or stop taking them unless your health care provider tells you to. 

What should I tell my health care provider before taking indinavir?

Before taking indinavir, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to indinavir or any other medicines.
  • If you have liver problems, especially mild or moderate liver disease caused by cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have hemophilia.
  • If you have high cholesterol and are taking cholesterol-lowering medicines called “statins.”
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether indinavir can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Indinavir should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn baby.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or are taking indinavir.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Indinavir may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how indinavir works. Taking indinavir together with certain medicines or products may cause serious and/or life-threatening side effects.

How should I take indinavir?

Indinavir comes in capsule form in two different strengths, under the brand name Crixivan:

  • 200-mg capsules.
  • 400-mg capsules.

Take indinavir according to your health care provider’s instructions.

Take indinavir capsules every 8 hours around the clock, every day. Take indinavir with water (or other beverage such as skim or nonfat milk, juice, coffee, or tea) at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Or you can take indinavir with a light meal that is low in calories, fat, and protein. Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of liquids (preferably water) throughout the day to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Always take indinavir in combination with other HIV medicines.

If you take too much indinavir, contact your health care provider local or poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

For more information on how to take indinavir, see the FDA drug label from DailyMed. (DailyMed is a federal website that includes the most recent drug labels submitted to FDA.) Toward the end of the label is patient information for people taking indinavir.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of indinavir by more than 2 hours, wait and then take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. If you miss a dose by less than 2 hours, take the missed dose immediately. Then take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take more or less than your prescribed dose of indinavir at any one time.

What side effects can indinavir cause?

Indinavir can cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These include kidney problems, rapid breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), and possibly liver problems. (See the WARNING above.)

Other possible side effects of indinavir include:

  • Diabetes and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).
  • Changes in body fat (lipodystrophy).
  • Severe muscle pain and weakness in people also taking cholesterol-lowering medicines called “statins.”
  • Increased bleeding in people with hemophilia.
  • Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a condition that sometimes occurs when the immune system begins to recover after treatment with an HIV medicine. As the immune system gets stronger, it may have an increased response to a previously hidden infection. Tell your health care provider if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV medicine.

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 indinavir. To learn more about possible side effects of indinavir, read the drug label or package insert or talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.

The AIDSinfo fact sheet on HIV Medicines and Side Effects also includes information that may apply to indinavir.

You can also report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or online at

How should indinavir be stored?

  • Store indinavir at room temperature, 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
  • Keep indinavir in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed. If the container has a small packet of drying agent (called a desiccant), do not remove it. The desiccant protects the medicine from moisture.
  • Do not use indinavir if the original seal over the bottle opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away indinavir that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep indinavir and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about indinavir?

More information about indinavir is available:

Manufacturer Information

Merck & Co., Inc.

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Capsule.

Last Reviewed: May 21, 2015

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