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The Revolutionary ART Drug: Atazanavir

The revolutionary ART drug: Atazanavir


We have all heard about it. It was during the early 1980s, soon after its discovery; that it, made a stir in the international media and, had an impact on the economy as well as the medical fraternity. A pandemic, it caused millions of deaths and to date has no complete cure. HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus infection) or AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a name given to a wide range of infections caused by HIV, also known as the retrovirus. It primarily damages our body’s immune system, thus, affecting the ability to fight infection. The mode of transmission can vary from sexual contact, contact with infected blood, drug injection, sharing contaminated needles, breastfeeding, mother to child transmission during the gestation period. Depending on the phase of infection the signs and symptoms can vary.

The virus has a long incubation period, and the symptoms show in a much later stage. Although there is no complete cure, the many available medicines help patients lead an almost normal life. ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) has helped to decrease deaths, and it slows the course of the disease.

Treatments are a must!

Treatments help the patient to live longer and better. There are several drugs that the doctor can prescribe. Atazanavir is one such drug that is effective in the treatment of HIV.

What is Atazanavir?

Atazanavir is an antiretroviral medication that belongs to the class of protease inhibitors. It is beneficial in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Mostly prescribed in combination with other protease inhibitors. It binds to the active site of HIV-protease and prevents the formation of mature viral particles. It helps lower the progression of the disease. Atazanavir taken with other protease inhibitors has given favourable results. The best part about Atazanavir is that it has less effect on the lipid profile of the patient, and it does not require multiple dosages.

How to take Atazanavir?

 Atazanavir can be taken orally in powder or capsule form as directed by your doctor. 

 A capsule is to be consumed once daily. Do not break or crush the tablet. Swallow it whole.

 The powder form needs to be mixed with liquid or any food item and consumed within an hour of mixing.It is usually given in combination with Ritonavir (anti-viral medicine).

 Never alter the dosage on your own. Always consult your doctor. Adult patients who had HIV treatment and using capsules should take Atazanavir 300 milligrams (mg) with 100 milligrams (mg) of Ritonavir as advised by a doctor.

 Atazanavir for children only if they are at least three months old and meet the minimum weight requirement. The dose of this medication will differ for pregnant ladies and children and should be taken under the strict consultation of the doctor. In case you missed any dose,     

 It is advised to take it as soon as possible but avoid a double dose. During your treatment do not miss an appointment with the doctor. Reschedule if missed.

Precautions Before taking Atazanavir

Atazanavir is known to interact with other drugs, which might cause further health issues. A detailed discussion with the doctor is always helpful.
Tell your doctor

  About your medical history and the medicines, you consume
  About your family history
  If you have any allergies
  If you have heart problems
  If you are diabetic
  If you have any kidney or liver diseases
  History of Hepatitis B virus or Hepatitis C virus infection
  If you have phenylketonuria
  If you have bleeding problems
  If you consume any herbal medicines
  If you are pregnant (as pregnancy need a different dose)

Popular brand names

The market is crowded with many Antivirals. There are many brands that market Atazanavir. Some popular brand names available in the market are listed below

  Atazor (Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd.)
  Virataz (Hetero Healthcare Ltd. (GenX)
  Anzavir-R (Mylan Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.)
  Synthivan (Cipla Limited)
  Qvir (Cipla Limited)

Side effects of Atazanavir

Drugs give us relief from diseases, but they also come with their share of side effects. Atazanavir also has side effects ranging from mild side-effects to severe ones. Most mild side effects are seen whenthe treatment begins. Gradually these tend to get better. In the case of Atazanavir, since it affects theimmune system, sometimes the side effects tend to linger on, and the patient can feel them even after months after starting the medicine. You must inform your doctor about the side effects that you experience.

Common Side effects:

  Stomach pain or diarrhoea
  Muscle pain
  Insomnia or staying asleep
  Numbness in fingers or toes

Some serious Side effects

Serious side effects are rare and can occur in some individuals, which can be life-threatening. If you
experience these symptoms after taking Atazanavir, immediately seek medical assistance.
  Irregular Heartbeat
  Sudden dizziness
  Pain while urinating, blood in the urine
  Increased thirst or the need to urinate
  Skin colour turning yellow
  Unbearable pain in the back or stomach
  Constant itching
  Gray or black colour stools
  Some allergic reactions
  Difficulty breathing
  Swelling of body parts
  Any skin reaction like blisters or rash

Never take any side effects lightly.

Always consult the doctor immediately after you experience any of the mentioned side effects. The doctor can alter the dose or medicine accordingly. Is there a way to know if Atazanavir suits you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you knew the drugs that would suit you the best? Or if you could avoid the ones that gave you severe side effects? Today, in the world of advanced genomics, we can decode our unique genes to, find out the response to a specific drug. Testing your genes or DNA can help you know the most effective drugs that would give you relief in a short time. Genetic testing is the new path-breaking discovery in the era of personalized healthcare. Available easily to the common man, genetic testing is making waves!

MEDNAwise Genetic testing

The Indus Health Plus MEDNAwise genetic testing can tell you if Atazanavir is the drug for you. It can assess if Atazanavir can give you the desired results. MEDNAwise is a pharmacogenetic testing product that can predict your genetic response to 70+ drugs used in different medical specialties. It is a seamless tool to help doctors prescribe the best and most effective drug. An advancement in the medical field, MEDNAwise genetic testing is the way to go for personalized healthcare. The best way to, know your risk factors for diseases. MEDNAwise genetic testing also helps to know which medicine suits the best to your unique self. The test provides a promising result for all your future doctor visits. It is a simple spit-swab test. You can take this test from the comfort of your home. Based on the DNA, a detailed report is provided that tells you about your genetic risks and empowers the doctors to plan & personalize your medications. Indus Health Plus also provides a counselling service. The experienced genetic counsellors guide you with recommendations on diet and further health check-ups you may need to take. Medical science is making progress, and it is time you took full advantage of it. Nothing like tweaking your lifestyle and preparing yourself for a healthier future and longer life. Don’t wait any longer; sign up for the MEDNAwise genetic testing today!

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