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Darunavir-Cobicistat is a combined medication used to control HIV infection. This is used with other HIV medications to help control the infection. This helps to lessen the amount of HIV in your body so your immune system can work better. This also lowers your chance of getting HIV complications and improves your quality of life.
HIV is a virus that damages your immune system. The immune system helps the body fight off infections. HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids that include:
- Breast milk
- Vaginal and rectal fluids
Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. AIDS is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by HIV. By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause the disease. Most people infected by this disease develop a flu-like illness within a month or two. It is after the virus enters the body. This illness is known as primary or acute HIV infection that lasts for a few weeks. Possible signs and symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Swollen lymph glands mainly on the neck
- Sore throat and painful mouth sores
Darunavir-Cobicistat is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is supplied as a tablet for oral use with an active ingredient of Darunavir and Cobicistat. Each tablet contains an equivalent of 800 mg Darunavir and 150 mg Cobicistat. Darunavir is in the class of medications called protease inhibitors. Cobicistat is a type of drug called pharmacokinetic enhancer that is used to increase or boost the levels of Darunavir.
How does Darunavir-Cobicistat work?
AIDS is caused by infection with HIV. This virus invades cells of the immune system particularly the white blood cells called CD4 T-helper lymphocytes. These normally activate other cells in the immune system to fight infection. Since HIV kills CD4 T-helper cells, the body cannot fight the virus or subsequent infections. Once the virus is inside CD4 T-cell, it multiplies and produces numerous copies of itself. An enzyme produced by the HIV virus called protease plays an important role in the process. Protease breaks up new protein produced by the virus so that new copies of the virus can be assembled from the pieces. If this enzyme is stopped from working, any new virus that is produced is faulty and unable to infect more CD4 cells. Protease inhibitors like Darunavir work by stopping the protease enzyme from working.
Cobicistat slows the breakdown of Darunavir by the liver which makes it stay in the body for longer. This boosts the level of Darunavir in the blood and its effects against the virus. This medication helps the immune system to recover. Therefore, it slows down or stops the progression of the disease from HIV to AIDS.
How to use Darunavir-Cobicistat?
Darunavir-Cobicistat is usually taken once a day as directed by your doctor. It is to be taken by mouth with food as directed by your doctor. The prescribed dosage for this medication is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not skip any doses. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. You should not take less or more often than the prescription. Your doctor may direct you to start at a lower dose and gradually increase it. Do not suddenly stop taking Darunavir-Cobicistat without the consent of your doctor. To help you remember, take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. Drink plenty of fluids while having this medication. Doing so may lessen the risk of certain side effects. Let your doctor know if your condition gets worse or if it does not improve.
What are the side effects of Darunavir-Cobicistat?
Common side effects:
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in body fat distribution
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal dreams
- Dark urine
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid weight gain
- Muscle soreness
- Stomach upset
Call for emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Hives or itching
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat
Warnings and Precautions
- Follow carefully the instructions of your doctor while taking anti-HIV medicines in order to maintain effective levels of the drugs in your blood. If the blood levels of the medicines drop, the virus will be given more chance to replicated and develop resistance to the drugs. Skipping even a few doses increases the risk of treatment failure.
- You may experience an increased level of sugar in fats in your blood while having this medication.
- While you are having this treatment, you will need to have regular blood tests to monitor your liver function. Consult your doctor if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or dark urine.
- This medication should not be used in people with severely decreased liver function or people having kidney dialysis.
- Darunavir-Cobicistat is not recommended to use if you are allergic to it or if you ever had an allergic reaction to it. Tell to your doctor if you have any allergies before taking this drug.
- This product should be used with caution in people over 65 years of age. Also, use this carefully in people with mild to moderately decreased liver function, liver disorders, blood clotting disorder, and those with diabetes.
- The safety and effectiveness of this drug have not been studied in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Therefore, this is not recommended for use, in this age group.