Raltegravir is used along with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Raltegravir is in a class of medications called HIV integrase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in the blood. Although raltegravir does not cure HIV, it may decrease your chance of developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer. Taking these medications along with practicing safer sex and making other lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of transmitting (spreading) the HIV virus to other people.

Side Effects Of Raltegravir

Raltegravir may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • insomnia
  • abnormal dreams
  • depression
  • headache

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • muscle pain or tenderness
  • muscle weakness
  • dark or cola-colored urine
  • chest pain or pressure
  • rash
  • fever
  • skin blisters or peeling
  • hives
  • itching
  • swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles, or arms
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • extreme tiredness
  • mouth lesions
  • red, itchy, or swollen eyes
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • pale stools
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fast heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • fever, sore throat, cough, chills, and other signs of infection
  • lack of energy
  • unexplained weight gain
  • the decrease in the amount of urine
  • swelling around the feet, ankles, or legs
  • drowsiness

Raltegravir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking raltegravir:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to raltegravir, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in raltegravir products. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antacids containing calcium, magnesium, or aluminum (Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, others); carbamazepine (Equetro, Tegretol, Teril); cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor, in Caduet), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor, in Vytorin); etravirine (Intelence); fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen, Tricor, others); gemfibrozil (Lopid); phenobarbital; phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater), tipranavir (Aptivus) with ritonavir (Norvir); and zidovudine (Retrovir, others). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you being treated with dialysis (medical treatment to clean the blood when the kidneys are not working properly), or if you have or have ever had hepatitis, high blood cholesterol or triglycerides (fatty substances in the blood ), muscular disease or swelling of the muscles, or rhabdomyolysis (a skeletal muscle condition).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking raltegravir, call your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breastfeed. You should not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV or if you are taking raltegravir.
  • if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that the chewable tablets contain aspartame that forms phenylalanine.
  • you should know that while you are taking medications to treat HIV infection, your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight other infections that were already in your body. This may cause you to develop symptoms of those infections. If you have new or worsening symptoms during your treatment with raltegravir.

Raltegravir Dosage

Raltegravir comes as a tablet, a chewable tablet, and as an oral suspension to take by mouth. Raltegravir (Isentress®) tablets, chewable tablets, and oral suspension are usually taken with or without food twice a day. Raltegravir (Isentress® HD) tablets are usually taken with or without food once a day. Take raltegravir at the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take raltegravir exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. If you are taking the chewable tablets, you may chew or swallow them whole.

Before you take raltegravir oral suspension for the first time, read the written instructions that come with it that describe how to prepare the medication. Use the dosing syringe provided to measure the amount of medication that your doctor has prescribed. Use the mixture within 30 minutes of preparation and discard any remaining suspension.

Continue to take raltegravir even if you feel well. Do not stop taking raltegravir or your other anti-HIV medications without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking raltegravir or skip doses, your condition may become worse and the virus may become resistant to treatment.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.


Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory while taking raltegravir. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to raltegravir.

Do not let anyone else take your medication.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.