STD Home > What Is Saquinavir Used For?
Saquinavir uses primarily include treating people age 16 and older who have HIV or AIDS. It can also be used in an off-label fashion to treat people who are exposed to the HIV virus (such as a healthcare worker who comes in contact with a contaminated needle stick). As a protease inhibitor, saquinavir is used to prevent the HIV virus from multiplying.
What Is Saquinavir Used For? -- An OverviewSaquinavir mesylate (Invirase®) is a prescription HIV and AIDS medication. It is part of a group of HIV medications known as protease inhibitors. Saquinavir is always used in combination with ritonavir (Norvir®), another HIV medication that makes saquinavir more effective.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, it has become a significant worldwide epidemic. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Initially, an HIV infection does not usually cause any obvious symptoms (see HIV Symptoms), and most people have no idea that they have been infected with the virus, unless they happen to be tested for it. However, by killing or damaging cells of the immune system, HIV eventually begins to progressively destroy the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers (see AIDS Symptoms). This is why people who have AIDS often have infections and cancers that do not normally affect most people.
HIV is commonly spread through sexual contact with infected partners. Transmission also happens through contact with infected blood, which frequently occurs among IV drug users (who share needles or syringes contaminated with blood from someone infected with the virus). Women who have HIV can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Saquinavir is almost always used as part of an HIV "cocktail." These cocktails usually consist of three or four (or sometimes five) different HIV medications (technically known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART). Using a combination of medications helps to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to one or more of the drugs. Ritonavir should always be one of the medications used in combination with saquinavir, as it helps saquinavir work better.