Maraviroc slows the progress of HIV infection. It is one of a number of medicines that you will need to take regularly.
Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to.Maraviroc has been associated with some side-effects. Your doctor will discuss these with you before you start treatment.
|Type of medicine||A CCR5 antagonist antiretroviral medicine|
|Used for||Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in adults|
Maraviroc is an antiretroviral medicine. It is used for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. It slows the progress of HIV infection but it is not a cure. HIV destroys cells in the body, called CD4 T cells. These cells are a type of white blood cell and are important because they are involved in protecting your body from infection. If left untreated, the HIV infection weakens your immune system so that your body cannot defend itself against bacteria, viruses and other germs. Maraviroc is known as a CCR5 antagonist antiretroviral medicine. It works by blocking a receptor, called CCR5, which HIV uses to enter your CD4 T cells. By reducing the amount of virus getting into your cells, it helps to maintain the health of your immune system.
Maraviroc will be prescribed for you by a doctor who is a specialist. it is given alongside a number of other antiretroviral medicines, as part of a combination therapy. Taking three or more antiretroviral medicines at the same time is more effective than taking one alone. Taking a combination of different medicines also reduces the risk that the virus will become resistant to any individual medicine. It is vital to take them exactly as prescribed to maintain success and to help to prevent the virus from becoming resistant to the medicines. These medicines are usually taken for life.
Before taking maraviroc
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking maraviroc it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have any problems with your heart or blood vessels.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or if you are allergic to peanuts or soya.
How to take maraviroc
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about maraviroc, and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take maraviroc exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to take one 300 mg tablet twice daily, although your dose may be more or less than this depending upon which other medicines you are also taking. You can take the tablets either with or without food.
- Try to take your doses at the same times of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take maraviroc regularly.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so that your progress can be monitored. You will need to have regular blood tests.
- It is important that you continue to take maraviroc and your other antiretroviral treatment regularly. This will help to prevent the HIV from becoming resistant to the medicines you are taking. Even if you miss only a small number of doses, the virus can become resistant to treatment.
- If you develop any infection soon after you start the treatment, let your doctor know. As a result of taking maraviroc, your immune system may start fighting an infection which was present before you started the treatment, but which you may not have been aware of.
- Follow carefully any advice your doctor gives to you about making some lifestyle changes to reduce any risk of damage to your heart and blood vessels. These can include stopping smoking, eating healthily and taking regular exercise.
- Although treatment with antiretroviral medicines can reduce the risk of you passing HIV to others through sexual contact, it does not stop it. It is important that you use condoms.
- It is not uncommon for people with HIV to feel low or even depressed, especially soon after the diagnosis has been made and treatment has been started. If you have any feelings of depression you should speak with your doctor straightaway.
- Some people who have taken antiretroviral medicines (particularly over a long time) have developed a condition called osteonecrosis. This is a bone disease where bone tissue dies because there is a reduced blood supply to it. It leads to joint pains and stiffness, and can cause difficulties in movement. If you notice any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor.
- If you buy any medicines or herbal remedies 'over the counter', check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take alongside maraviroc and your other medicines. This is because some medicines interfere with antiretrovirals and can stop them from working properly.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, always tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- Treatment for HIV is usually lifelong. Continue to take maraviroc regularly, even if you feel well. This is to keep your immune system healthy.
Can maraviroc cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with maraviroc. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common maraviroc side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick, wind, tummy (abdominal) pain||Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy food|
|Feeling tired, weak, or dizzy||Do not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Loss of weight, feeling low or depressed, problems sleeping, skin rash||If any of these become troublesome, let your doctor know|
|Changes to some blood tests||Your doctor will check for this|
Important: occasionally, some people taking maraviroc have developed more serious side-effects. If you experience any of the following, let your doctor know straightaway. These can be signs of a problem with your liver and/or an allergic reaction:
- Loss of appetite, sickness, high temperature (fever), dark urine, stomach pain, extreme tiredness.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice).
- Severe itchy skin rash.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store maraviroc
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Celsentri® 150 mg and 300 mg film-coated tablets; ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2015.
- British National Formulary; 71st Edition (Mar-Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Adrian Bonsall