Active Ingredients

Darunavir – Effect, Application & Risks


The substance darunavir is a drug that is characterized by its antiviral properties. The drug belongs to the category of HIV protease inhibitors and is primarily used in the context of drug therapy for infections with the HI virus type 1. Darunavir works primarily by interfering with the viral protease. This is essential for the multiplication of viruses .

What is darunavir?

The active ingredient darunavir is a so-called antiviral and is counted among the HIV protease inhibitors. The drug is suitable for treating HIV-1 infection . It can be used both in adult patients and in children whose weight is more than 20 kilograms. As a rule, the drug darunavir is administered in the form of tablets. In addition, oral suspensions of the active ingredient are also available in the pharmaceutical market.

The substance darunavir was approved as a drug in Switzerland in 2006 and is available under the trade name Prezista®. In addition, a combination product of darunavir and the substance cobicistat was approved in 2016. This drug is available on the market under the name Rezolsta®.

In the context of pharmaceutical use, darunavir ethanolate is used. This substance is a white powder. The structure of this substance is non-peptidic.

Pharmacological action

The drug darunavir is characterized by a typical mode of action. The antiviral effects of the substance darunavir are primarily relevant for its effectiveness. For this reason, the drug is used to treat HIV-1 infections.

The effectiveness of the substance is primarily due to the fact that it inhibits the so-called HIV protease. This is particularly important for the maturation processes of the viruses and their proliferation. Basically, the active ingredient darunavir in combination with the substance ritonavir is characterized by a half-life of about 15 hours.

The drug is used orally in the majority of cases. The drug darunavir is administered in the form of tablets. After ingestion, the concentration of the active substance in the blood increases and 95 percent binds to the proteins in the blood plasma . The substance is then metabolized in the hepatic way, i.e. in the liver . Overall, the plasma half-life averages about 15 hours.

In principle, darunavir leads to a blockade of the HIV protease. As a result, only non-infectious forms of viruses arise. This prevents new cells from becoming infected with the virus.

The tablets are taken either once or twice a day. The active ingredient darunavir is usually used with a so-called pharmacokinetic booster, for example with cobicistat or ritonavir. These substances are CYP inhibitors and slow down the breakdown of the drug. Basically, the drug darunavir is a substrate of the substance CYP3A4.

Medical Application & Use

The drug darunavir is particularly suitable for the drug therapy of infections with HIV-1. In order to increase the effectiveness of the substance, the drug darunavir is often combined with the boosters ritonavir or cobicistat. The boosters are only used in a low dose. They inhibit the metabolism and breakdown of the drug.

In principle, the dosage of the drug darunavir is carried out according to the accompanying information for professionals. The film-coated tablets are taken once or twice a day with meals.

Risks & side effects

Numerous potential side effects and symptoms are possible while taking the active ingredient darunavir . However, these do not appear to the same extent in all patients and vary in terms of their frequency and individual characteristics.

The drug darunavir most commonly causes side effects such as headaches and rashes on the skin , as well as digestive disorders . These gastrointestinal complaints manifest themselves, for example, in the form of nausea , abdominal pain , vomiting and diarrhea .

In some cases, severe tiredness and sleep disturbances are possible while taking the drug. Allergic reactions such as red spots or itching may appear on the skin . Asthenia is also possible during therapy.

In addition to potential discomfort from taking the drug Darunavir, there are also some contraindications to consider. It is therefore important for the doctor treating you to take a thorough medical history in order to keep the risk of complications as low as possible. For example, if there is a known hypersensitivity to the active ingredient, severe kidney failure or liver dysfunction , treatment with the drug darunavir should be avoided.

In addition, various interactions with other medications must be taken into account. For example, interactions of the active ingredient with CYP inhibitors and substrates are possible. All information regarding contraindications can be found in the enclosed information for professionals.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.