Reyataz (Atazanavir Sulfate) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Reyataz
Reyataz is used to treat HIV and AIDS in combination with other medicines. The generic name of the drug is atazanavir sulfate and it belongs to a group of medicines known as protease inhibitors. It is an antiviral medication that prevents the HIV cells from multiplying in the body. Though HIV is not curable, Reyataz can help control the ailment.
The HIV virus uses the cells from the host body to multiply. It infects the healthy cell and uses it to make DNA, which allows the virus to affect the neighboring cells, thus spreading the disease. The protease inhibitors work by preventing the virus from creating DNA. However, it is important to remember that when you buy Reyataz, it works only as a part of the HIV ‘cocktail’, which consists of 4-5 types of drugs taken together to fight HIV.
Side Effects for Reyataz
Reyataz users can have mild side effects like nausea, headache, vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, fever, dizziness, stomach pain, and muscle pain. These usually disappear once the treatment is over and you stop taking the medicine. However, in certain cases, a person may have serious side effects like increased urination, extreme thirst, and painful urination, blood in the urine, fever, sore throat, jaundice, skin rash, or loss of appetite. In such cases, the doctor should be informed immediately. It can also cause an uneven distribution of fat in body, thus making you look fat in odd places.
Before you buy Reyataz, you must inform your doctor if you are suffering from diabetes, hemophilia, kidney stones, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, or irregular heart rhythm. Taking Reyataz under such conditions can make them worse. The liver helps flush out excess drugs from our body, and if you already have a liver problem, it can further damage the liver. The drug is considered safe to be taken by pregnant women as it will not harm the unborn child. It is not known if Reyataz passes through breast milk, and so, you must inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding your child.
Reyataz is not meant to be taken alone. It is a part of the HIV cocktail and is taken along with other HIV medications. It is recommended to be taken with Ritonavir, which helps increase the level of the drug in the blood. If taken on its own, the medicine will not have an adequate level in the blood, thus rendering it ineffective.
Reyataz is available in the form of pills and it is meant to be taken once a day. Do not take it on an empty stomach. People suffering from liver disease may need to take a lower dose. For patients who are starting HIV medications for the first time, the recommended dosage is Reyataz 400 mg twice daily with food (two 200 mg pills). Patients who have taken HIV medications earlier are given Reyataz 300 mg.
Reyataz interacts with certain other medicines like blood thinners, heart and blood pressure medications, cholesterol lowering medicines, insulin, stomach acid reducers, antidepressants, and other HIV medications like efavirenz, nevirapine, and Ritonavir.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.