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What is Crixivan&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Ann Olson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Crixivan® is the brand name for indinavir, a drug used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is a viral infection that spreads through the body by replicating and damages the body's immune system. Crixivan® is a protease inhibitor, which helps prevent replication, thus helping to slow the spread of the infection. Although Crixivan® is not a cure for HIV, it can help prolong the transition from HIV to AIDS, allowing people to live longer.

Crixivan® specifically prevents HIV from turning into AIDS by blocking a specific part of the HIV virus, an enzyme called protease. When protease is not blocked, the HIV virus can continue to create replicas of itself that can infect new cells and weaken the immune system. Blocking protease, however, can prevent HIV cells from injecting the material that allows it to reproduce into healthy cells, limiting its ability to replicate and spread.

There are serious advantages and disadvantages to taking Crixivan®. Although it can prevent infected cells from replicating and help slow the weakening of the immune system, it also can put undue stress on the kidneys. It is not uncommon to develop kidney stones from this medication. It is also not uncommon to have trouble urinating, and many patients experience serious back pain, which cannot always be treated with medications.

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These complications largely can be avoided with good hydration, however. Drinking at least 64 fluid ounces (about 1.89 liters) of water every day is highly recommended to prevent kidney stones from forming. Avoiding beverages that dehydrate the body, such as alcohol or caffeinated sodas, is also highly recommended.

Not taking the drug as prescribed, skipping doses or taking Crixivan® with the wrong food or beverage combination can decrease its efficacy, which can cause the HIV virus to become more resistant to it. It is very important to follow any instructions given by a doctor to prevent the virus from becoming resistant. The drug should be taken on an empty stomach. In the event it causes stomach upset, it may be taken with a very light meal. It also is important to avoid grapefruit juice while taking this medication.

Though very rare, patients should be aware that this drug can increase the risk for diabetes, which can cause further complications for people diagnosed with HIV. Eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding high glycemic foods and eating regularly can reduce some of the symptoms caused by Crixivaxin®-induced diabetes. Still, some of Crixivan's® side effects cannot be avoided or treated.

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