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What is ritonavir?

Ritonavir (also called Norvir®) is used to treat infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This medicine is one of a group called protease inhibitors (PIs). Protease is the part of the virus that allows it to multiply, leave the cell, and move into the blood and body. Ritonavir can slow down how soon you will see symptoms or slow the damage caused by HIV, but it cannot cure HIV infection.

Ritonavir is available as a liquid and as a 100-mg gelcap.

How to take and store ritonavir

  • This medicine is usually taken one (1) time in the morning and one (1) time at night.
  • Take ritonavir with food.
  • Liquid ritonavir can be mixed with chocolate milk or nutritional drinks to help improve the medicine’s taste.
  • Shake the ritonavir liquid thoroughly before taking it.
  • Do not store ritonavir liquid in the refrigerator. Keep the liquid at room temperature and away from heat and moisture
  • Ritonavir gelcaps can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature away from heat and moisture.

Possible side effects of ritonavir

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • High blood cholesterol levels

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for ritonavir

  • Blood tests can find some side effects, such as a high level of blood cholesterol. It is very important that you come to the clinic regularly for blood tests.
  • Several medicines may affect the way ritonavir works. These medicines include:
    • Garlic
    • Phenytoin
    • Rifampin
    • St. John’s wort
  • Ritonavir may affect the way other medicines work. These medicines include:
    • Alprazolam
    • Amiodarone
    • Atorvastatin
    • Carbamazepine
    • Clarithromycin
    • Metronidazole
    • Birth control pills
    • Cyclosporine
    • Diazepam
    • Lovastatin
    • Paroxetine
    • Sertraline
  • Always tell the doctor if you are taking any of these medicines or if you start taking any new medicines while you are taking ritonavir.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).