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What is Enfuvirtide?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Enfuvirtide is a type of medication that is used to help control the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection within a patient’s body. HIV spreads by infecting healthy cells. If enough damage is done to the immune system from the infection of these healthy cells, an individual can develop acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). As an HIV fusion inhibitor, enfuvirtide is used in combination with other medications to stop this spread, thereby controlling the infection.

It is important to understand that while enfuvirtide is prescribed to help a patient manage his HIV infection, the medication does not cure the body of the illness. Since the patient is still infected with the virus, he is still susceptible to illnesses caused by it. In addition, he can still transmit the virus to others.

Enfuvirtide is injected under the skin. Dosage will vary from person to person, but usually, a patient will be instructed to inject the medication twice a day in alternating areas of the body. To continuously manage HIV infection, a patient should not stop taking enfurvirtide without his doctor’s approval.

When using the medication, the injection site should alternate, meaning it should not be the same place for two consecutive doses. There are appropriate and inappropriate places in which a patient might inject enfurvirtide. Examples of appropriate places to inject the medication are the upper arms, upper thighs and stomach. Inappropriate places include the buttocks, elbow or knee. In addition, other areas to stay away from are those with bruises, moles or tattoos.

Like any other medication, enfuvirtide can cause a patient to suffer side effects. The most common side effect is having reactions at the site of the injection. These reactions include bruising, itching and pain. Swelling, hardened skin or bumps can also occur. Examples of serious side effects at the site of the injection include oozing, severe pain and warmth.

Other common side effects include anxiety, runny nose and muscle pain. If side effects persist or get worse over time, it is time for the patient to talk to a doctor. This is especially true if a patient experiences serious side effects. Examples of serious side effects include those listed above regarding the injection site, as well as breathing difficulties, blurred vision and jaundice.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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