NZ Formulary



What does it do?

Atazanavir is used with other medicines to control HIV.

How should you take it?

Take atazanavir as directed with food and a glass of water. It is very important to take it regularly. If you often forget to take atazanavir, it may not work as well.
You must take atazanavir and ritonavir together at the same time.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Atazanavir with ritonavir can react with many medicines, sometimes with severe results.
Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking including vitamins, herbal products, or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Symptoms of allergy including: skin rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Severe stomach pain, nausea

Chest pain, fainting

Tell your doctor immediately

Lower back pain, pink/red/brown pee (may be a kidney stone)

Peeing more often, feeling thirsty

Tell your doctor

Headache, dizziness

Muscle aches and pains

Stomach upset

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Skin rash

This can occur in the first few weeks. Rarely, this may be serious. Ring your clinic to check

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart or liver problems, diabetes, haemophilia or porphyria.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You will need regular blood tests while taking atazanavir to check if it is causing problems with your liver. You will also need blood tests to check your viral load.
  • Atazanavir may cause kidney stones. Drinking plenty of water can help to prevent this.
  • As your HIV comes under control, your immune system begins to recover. It may start fighting infections better than before which may make you unwell for a while. Your doctor may call this Immune Reconstitution Syndrome.
  • Treatment for HIV may change your body shape. These changes can include fat build-up, fat loss, or both. Discuss this with your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking atazanavir without talking to your doctor first.