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What is saquinavir?

Saquinavir (also called Fortovase®) 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. Saquinavir can slow down how soon you will see symptoms or slow the damage caused by HIV, but it cannot cure HIV infection.

This medicine is available as a 200-mg soft gelatin capsule taken by mouth.

How to take saquinavir

  • This medicine is usually taken 3 times a day.
  • Take saquinavir with food.

Possible side effects of saquinavir

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • High blood sugar levels
  • 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 saquinavir

  • Refrigerate saquinavir when possible. If you store the gelatin capsules at room temperature, they should be used within 3 months.
  • Blood tests can find some side effects, such as high levels of blood sugar or blood cholesterol. It is very important that you come to the clinic regularly for blood tests.
  • Several medicines may affect the way saquinavir works. These medicines include
    • Carbamazepine
    • Garlic
    • Itraconazole
    • Phenytoin
    • Rifampin
    • St. John’s wort
  • Saquinavir may affect the way other medicines work. These medicines include cyclosporine and midazolam.
  • Always tell the doctor if you are taking any of these medicines, or if you start taking any new medicines while you are taking saquinavir.
  • Fortovase® and Invirase® both contain saquinavir, but they are not the exact same medicines. If you are taking one brand of saquinavir, do not switch to the other brand.
  • If you have diabetes or liver problems, tell the doctor before you start taking saquinavir.


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).