PDR Health


Generic name: Atazanavir sulfate

What is Reyataz?

Reyataz (atazanavir) is an HIV protease inhibitor. Reyataz prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body.

Reyataz is used to treat HIV, which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Reyataz is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.


Health Benefits

Reyataz can help improve your quality of life by:

Reducing the amount of HIV in your body. This lowers your chance of developing HIV-related illnesses, such as infections and cancer.

Increasing the number of CD4+ cells (T cells) in your blood. This helps reduce your risk of getting other infections or cancers.

Helping you keep a lower viral load if you also take other HIV medications.

Side Effects

Reyataz can cause serious side effects, including:

Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B, taking Reyataz can cause it to become active or get worse. You may need frequent blood tests and liver function tests for the rest of your life.

Hepatitis C infection. If you have hepatitis C, taking Reyataz can cause it to become active or get worse. You may need frequent blood tests and liver function tests for the rest of your life.

Lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid in the blood). This condition can happen with or without liver problems and can lead to death. Get emergency medical help if you have even mild symptoms such as: muscle pain or weakness, numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea with vomiting, fast or uneven heart rate, dizziness, or feeling very weak or tired.

Kidney problems. Reyataz can cause kidney failure, which can lead to death. Your kidney function may need to be checked before and during treatment with Reyataz.

Severe skin reactions. Reyataz can cause serious skin reactions that can lead to death. Stop using Reyataz and get emergency medical help if you have signs of a severe allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, or body; rash with blistering and peeling.

Reyataz can also cause less serious side effects, such as:

mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, or stomach pain;

dizziness, headache;

tired feeling;

depression, anxiety;

sleep problems (insomnia); or

skin changes.

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:


Reyataz is usually taken every 12 hours with or without food.

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and take Reyataz exactly as prescribed.

Do not take more or less of this medicine than directed by your doctor.

Swallow Reyataz capsules whole. Do not open, break, chew, or crush them.

If you cannot swallow capsules, ask your doctor if you can open a Reyataz capsule and sprinkle the contents on a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow all of the mixture right away without chewing it.


Reyataz can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, and vitamins you are taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Mechanism of Action

Reyataz binds to the HIV-1 protease and prevents the cleavage of viral proteins, which are necessary for the HIV-1 virus to mature. Reyataz inhibits replication of HIV-1 in cell culture and suppresses HIV-1 replication in vivo.

Protease inhibitors (such as ritonavir)

Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (such as efavirenz)

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (such as zidovudine)

Some antacids (such as aluminum hydroxide)


Reyataz is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and reaches peak concentrations in 1-2 hours. Reyataz is minimally bound to plasma proteins (less than 5%). The apparent volume of distribution following oral administration is approximately 140 L. Reyataz is metabolized by conjugation to form inactive metabolites. In vitro studies indicate that CYP3A4 and glucuronidation are the primary enzymes involved in the metabolism of atazanavir. Atazanavir is a substrate for P-gp, but not for BCRP. Following oral administration, atazanavir is primarily excreted as unchanged drug (57%) and conjugated metabolites (20%) in feces via biliary elimination.

Alternatives to Reyataz

Some alternatives to Reyataz include other protease inhibitors, such as:

lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra)

darunavir (Prezista)

fosamprenavir (Lexiva)

tipranavir (Aptivus)

atazanavir/ritonavir (Evotaz)

Other drugs in the same class as Reyataz include:

indinavir (Crixivan)

saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase)

There are many other protease inhibitors available, and your doctor can help you choose the best option for you.