STD Home > More Info on Saquinavir Interactions
How Does Saquinavir Work?Saquinavir is part of a group of HIV medications known as protease inhibitors. These medicines work by blocking a process that the HIV virus needs in order to multiply.
Like other viruses, HIV must use a person's own cells to reproduce. Once inside an infected cell, the HIV virus uses the cell to make DNA, which enables it to make new HIV viruses that can spread to other cells. The DNA is made into long strands that must be clipped into shorter, usable strands using enzymes called proteases.
Saquinavir is a protease inhibitor, which means that it stops protease enzymes from clipping DNA into short strands. Because the long, unclipped DNA strands cannot be used to make new viruses, this helps stop the spread of HIV to other uninfected cells. Saquinavir is not a cure for HIV or AIDS, however. Although it can help stop HIV from infecting healthy cells in the body, it does not help cells that have already been infected with the virus.
Saquinavir is always used in combination with ritonavir, which increases the level of saquinavir in the blood, helping it work better. This is known as "boosting." Ritonavir is used to boost several different HIV medications.